April, where have you gone?

Time is flying by so quickly, the month of April has flown by, I haven’t done half the things that I had hoped to do…..help! We had quite severe gales last weekend with the wind ripping the new young leaves from the trees, at one stage the back lawn looked as it does in the autumn, the only difference being that the leaves were lovely new green ones. Horse Chestnut leaves were ripped off, along with the flower spikes, so I think we will be short on conkers this autumn. The last few weeks, I have been concentrating on weeding borders in the main garden, but while my back has been turned, the weeds have popped up in the woodland and are taking over!

The woodland is now going through a quiet phase, this is when I normally don’t photograph it as it isn’t very interesting, just lots of snowdrop and narcissus leaves dying back and snakeshead fritillaries forming their seeds. As I have decided to show this part of the garden for my End of Month View, I will just have to bite the bullet and show you some photos of it, warts and all!  There are still a few flowers to be seen,  but I will start with a general view from both ends.


Looking towards the former school, all very green, you have to look hard for the flowers.


Looking towards next doors garden. The chestnut trees now have theirs leaves and flower spikes.

Euphorbia robbiae

Euphorbia robbiae is slowly carpeting the sides of the ditch between the woodland and the back garden.

Fern Asplenium scolopendrium

Ferns are now unfurling and making their presence felt.

Hosta and maidenhair fern

A hosta, given by a friend is keeping company with the maidenheair fern.

Holly Fern

Just across the path is a holly fern with totally different fronds.

Male fern

The male fern looks just like a Bishop’s crozier as it unwinds.


Cow parsley or Queen Anne’s lace has jumped over the hedge from the lane outside where it is billowing along all the road sides. I will have to remember to deadhead it before it goes to seed or it will take over.

Cyclamen repandum

I found two more corms of Cyclamen repandum under a rhododendron, these are quite a way from the original corm, so they are spreading. Maybe I should collect some seed and help them on their way.

Cyclamen repandum

The original corm now has three corms so hopefully these will now increase.


English bluebells, Hyacinthoides non scripta are also spreading where I sprinkle the seed each year.

Meconopsis cambrica

Meconopsis cambrica, the Welsh Poppy also seeds around and so far isn’t a nuisance. I think it can become a problem in lighter soil than I have.


Still a Dicentra to me, it will take time for me to get used to its new name! Lovely white lockets dangling in the shade to brighten it up.

Geranium phaeum

Geranium phaeum has put itself in the woodland, I have a plant of it over by the border by the farmer’s field, that is easily 200ft away, so I’m not sure how it came to be in the woodland. I think it will need to be moved, it is right by the path and would look better if it was further back. The strange thing is, half of the foliage is variegated?!

Seedpods fritillaria meleagris

This is what the snakeshead fritillaries look like now, all those lovely flowers in my header photo are now making their seeds. In a while I will be able to sprinkle them in different areas in the woodland.

New area for planting

Some of you may remember that the top of one of our oaks was snapped off in the gales in the winter. This has let light and sunshine into a corner for a couple of hours, that was always very deep shade previously. With it being so dark I hadn’t tried to plant anything there, but now we have weeded it and dug in lots of compost and leaf mould ready for planting. I have brought some special snowdrops from the front where they weren’t very happy and will plant some narcissus when autumn comes. In the meantime I have some planting to do with heucheras, hostas, astilbe, dicentras and ferns.

Forget me nots

Then I remembered the forget me nots that had seeded themselves into the gravel drive and

Candelabra primulas

the candelabra primulas that I have grown from seed and


all the white foxgloves that I have grown from seed, I will have to re-adjust the spacing of the plants!

Chestnut stump.

Right at the end of the woodland is the stump of an old Chestnut tree which I thought would make a nice planter if I can make a hollow in the centre for a hosta and a couple of ferns.

By next month all the snowdrop and  narcissus leaves should be gone, all the plants in pots should be planted,  then I can make a start making the rest of the woodland more interesting for the summer months. Thanks must go to Helen at  The Patient Gardener for hosting this end of month review, please do pay her a visit and see what other gardeners are reviewing in their gardens.


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30 Responses to April, where have you gone?

  1. Annette says:

    I always feel it’s nice to have the space to dedicate areas to special seasons, so it’s no harm if your woodland is entering a quieter phase as you have lots to look forward to. ..and magical it surely was your woodland! We used to have the yellow poppy in our Irish garden and I love it. Hopefully I come across some seeds as well of forget-me-nots which I love but it’s funny how we don’t see them around here.

    • Pauline says:

      It will be quieter Annette until the autumn, but at least I can make the foliage a bit more interesting for the next few months. If you would like me to save you some seeds of the Welsh poppy and forget me nots, just say the word and I will send you some.

  2. Cathy says:

    I think your woodland looks lovely even without the abundance of visible flowers. I hope you manage to spread your bluebells around – they don’t grow well in the south of Germany and I do miss them! I have some Geranium phaeum that have seeded themselves all over the place and crossed, so some have plain leaves and some variegated. They are all the same colour flower now. However, they are very easy to pull up if they become a problem! I think using the tree stump as a planter is an excellent idea – isn’t it fun when you have a new space for planting up! Happy gardening Pauline!

    • Pauline says:

      It’s interesting Cathy, that you also have G. phaeum with some of the seedlings coming up variegated. I wonder why bluebells don’t like southern Germany, maybe colder winters and hotter summers has something to do with it. Planting up the new area was fantastic this morning, having prepared the soil with compost and leaf mould, it was so easy, unlike the rest of the garden!

  3. Helen says:

    I like your woodland and I think the cool greens look very inviting. William Robinson would be proud of you. Just a warning I have clay soil and have Welsh Poppies popping up everywhere! Thanks for joining in again this month

    • Pauline says:

      Don’t worry Helen, I’ve had the Welsh poppies for about 20 years, and they are still very well behaved, I actually try to spread the seed but with very limited success! I too like the greens in the woodland, so cool and peaceful, any flowers that I plant will be mostly white or pale yellow. I think the heuchera with terracotta leaves might have to go somewhere else as it stands out too much for my liking.

  4. rusty duck says:

    If we have a hot summer, as some predict, there is nothing nicer than wandering through the coolness of a woodland. White would be a lovely addition to the greens. I was going to try some Japanese anemones this year. They can apparently cope with quite deep shade.

    • Pauline says:

      I agree Jessica, the woodland must be at least 10 degrees cooler in the heat of summer. This morning I was planting the white foxgloves in there, I think they will look rather nice next year with a few forget me nots round their feet. The japanese anemones that I have in the main garden took such a long time to settle in and start flowering, then all of a sudden, they run everywhere! I’ll have to think on that one.

  5. Christina says:

    I agree with Annette that you shouldn’t worry if your woodland has some quiet time, and really I think it looks absolutely beautiful now with all the pretty forms and textures of the foliage. But you do seem to have a lot of plants to add so it will have more flowers soon anyway.

    • Pauline says:

      At the moment Christina, most of the green is the foliage of narcissus and snowdrops, so I’m sure a few interesting foliage plants planted between them will keep my interest over the summer, up till now I tended to avoid the woodland in summer.

  6. Chloris says:

    I love the green of your woodland. There is nothing more beautiful than all the lovely shades of fresh green at this time of the year.

    • Pauline says:

      Chloris, I like various green foliage, with contrasting colour, shape and texture, the fresh leaves look lovely, but there is always room for improvement!

  7. I, too, love the look of your woodland at the moment, such a rich tapestry of greens and different textures, it is really quite magical. I had to smile at your comment about having to re-do the plant spacings! At least you remembered all those seedlings in time, I sometimes don’t remember such things until after I have planted, which is a real pain.

    • Pauline says:

      At least Janet, I had just spent time placing them and hadn’t got round to planting them when I remembered! Some were planted this morning, I think the white foxgloves will bring more light to that corner when they flower. The hostas and heucheras will give foliage right through till autumn, just making it more interesting.

  8. pbmgarden says:

    I wonder also Pauline what happened to April. Things are speeding up it seems and I want spring to last. The host from a friend looks great with that maidenhair fern–ferns bring special delight. Good luck with your planting projects. susie

    • Pauline says:

      May already Susie and still so much to do, normally by this time I would have the garden sorted and presentable, but having four months non stop rain over the winter put paid to that!
      I’m now spending half my time trying to catch up on the weeding in the main garden and the other half planting all the plants that I have bought, one day I will catch up!

  9. Frank says:

    I also like the quiet phase. It looks restful compared to the colors and activity of other parts of the garden, and you do still have plenty of interest in foliage and stem… The geranium is very interesting in it’s variegation, I wonder if it will stick around?
    I wish I was as productive with my own projects as you are with yours 🙂

    • Pauline says:

      I agree Frank that quiet phases are necessary in a garden, but they could still be interesting quiet phases! I will move the geranium further back to where there is more room and light for it to spread happily. I’m sure it will stick around!

  10. Wendy says:

    I enjoy the visits to your woodland, Pauline. It is interesting to hear how you will make the most of the new exposed area (after the oak tree was damaged). I love your plans for planting in the old chestnut trunk, too.

    • Pauline says:

      Wendy, it’s always lovely to have a new area to plant, rather than just squeezing new plants into an established border. The Chestnut tree came down about 20 years ago and the centre has only now started to rot, hopefully it should make good soil to plant into.

  11. Your woodland looks beautiful. Mine goes by too but wright now it is at its peak due to the delays from our cold weather.

    • Pauline says:

      Thanks Carolyn, I can just imagine your woodland now, it must be wonderful! I’ve done a bit more planting in there, but at the moment I’m waging war on the weeds in the rest of the garden. With all the rain we have had, they are popping up everywhere !

  12. Angie says:

    The woodland looks interesting too me – I suppose it’s easy to say that as I’m not the one looking at it everyday. You’ve got some lovely new plants to grow in the new area Pauline – your Candelabra Primula seedlings put mine to shame! Mine are still tiny yet. Will be looking forward to seeing it all planted next month. I hope you get decent weather to get it all done.

    • Pauline says:

      Half of the planting is now done Angie, just the astilbe, goatsbeard and candelabra primulas to go in, but first the soil must be improved in an area that is always damp. I am pleased with the primulas, I sowed the seed when it was green as per Carol Kleins instructions and they popped up almost straight away, this gave them a good start before winter came. I think we will have good weather over the holiday weekend so hope to get the planting finished. Hope you have a good weekend too!

  13. Cathy says:

    I can now get to read your end of April post – and how lovely to do so! There are views there we haven’t seen for some time, like the paths through the woodland. It’s intriguing to compare our woodlands as yours is mature and mine is just a young pretender! 🙂 G phaeum ‘Samobar’ has dark spot on its leaves, so perhaps yours has something similar in its genes. I was interested to read people’s responses to Welsh poppies – mine are not at the nuisance stage yet but I have started taking them out when I see them. And look at all your goodies for planting, including all those healthy seedlings – very exciting!

    • Pauline says:

      After days of not being in contact with anybody Cathy, it’s wonderful to have things working again!
      The trees in the woodland are very mature, well over 100 yrs for some of them, but the planting underneath is fairly recent. When we came 23 yrs ago, all we had was nettles, masses of brambles and other weeds which had to be cleared out before I could start planting. I’m still at the stage where I’m sprinkling my welsh poppy seed to make more flowers in any shady spot that I have.
      I’m so pleased with the seedlings. I followed Carol Klein’s advice, to sow primula seeds while they are still green,the seeds were from the plants in the bog garden, and this meant they were nice large plants before winter and therefore ready to plant out now. The forecast is good for the weekend, so hopefully I will get the planting finished.

  14. Anna says:

    Oh there’s a lot going on in your woodland Pauline even its downtime. That geranium phaeum is most intriguing – the variegated leaves remind me of phaeum ‘Margaret Wilson’. It looks as if you have much planting to do so hope that the weather is kind.
    P.S. Is it my imagination or do chestnuts flower much earlier than they used to? We have one at the top of our lane. I’m sure that when we first moved here it always flowered in May but ours too is in flower now.

    • Pauline says:

      Anna, there is another G phaeum in the main garden with blue flowers rather than purple, maybe a bee has been busy!
      The planting is coming on nicely, thank you, just the astilbe and candelabra primulas to go into a rather damp spot now.
      Yes, I think the chestnuts are flowering earlier. Did you know that squirrels eat the flower spikes, I watched one pick one, before it was fully out and it peeled it like a banana! Another reason why we don’t get many conkers!

  15. debsgarden says:

    I think your woodland looks quit nice in its greenery! It is a little bit wild, and I can imagine all sorts of fairy tales happening there.

    • Pauline says:

      It certainly looks wild at the moment Debs, when all the leaves of bulbs die down it should look a bit better, but then, that is the price to pay for lots of lovely snowdrops, daffodils and fritillaria meleagris! The imagination is a wonderful thing, I’ll have to look for little folk while I’m planting!

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