GBBD April.

Proud- pied April  dress’d in all his trim’. Shakespeare. Sonnet 98.

Our gardens are all full of the prettiest blooms now that April is here; it is the most exciting month of the year.  Here are a few of my best loved ones.

The most beautiful April tree in my opinion is the magnolia. In a previous garden, I had 23 different ones, including one I grew from seed. OK , it was a very large garden and I haven’t got the room for more than a handful here. Magnolia ‘Star Wars’ is  a New Zealand Campbellii x liliflora hybrid, one recommenced by the late Princess Sturdza of Le Vasterival. It blooms at a  young age and has very large flowers because of its campbellii heritage. Mine is 5 years old and has more than 50 flowers.

Magnolia 'Star Wars'

Magnolia ‘Star Wars’

I am also fond of Magnolia loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’ which has delicate fluttering strap-like petals which remind me of flights of butterflies.

Magnolia loebneri 'Leonard Messel'

Magnolia loebneri ‘Leonard Messel’

And for sheer glamour I wouldn’t be without Magnolia x soulangeana ‘Black Tulip’, another New Zealand hybrid. The goblet shaped flowers are not exactly black, rather the deepest burgundy colour.

Magnolia 'Black Tulip'

Magnolia ‘Black Tulip’

Plum blossom and early cherry blossom are out now, but one of the daintiest early flowering trees is the lovely Amelanchier lamarckii with snow-white flowers.

Amelanchier lamarckii

Amelanchier lamarckii

There are some pretty flowering shrubs in bloom now, but my favourite is Stachyurus praecox. It has strings of flowers  hanging stiffly, like primrose-yellow beads.

Stachyurus praecox

Stachyurus praecox

Another unusual shrub is Ribes speciosum. This is a flowering currant, but more interesting than the ubiquitous pink Ribes sanguineum. It has glossy foliage and dangling scarlet flowers which look just like rows of ear rings. People always mistake it for a fuchsia.

Ribes speciosum

Ribes speciosum

But if it’s scent you want,  you can’t beat the pretty rosy- pink  buds opening to white flowers of Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’. I think  this is one of the prettiest of the viburnums.

Viburnum carlesii 'Aurora'

Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’

Euphorbias look great in spring. Euphorbia mellifera grows into quite a large shrub, as long as it isn’t knocked back by severe winter weather. The flowers smell deliciously of honey.

Euphorbia mellifera

Euphorbia mellifera

Hyacinths scent the garden deliciously too. I like the forced ones a few years after they are planted out when they come up smaller and more delicate. I like the big, fat, newly planted ones in a container rather than planted out in the garden.

Hyacinth 'Woodstock'

Hyacinth ‘Woodstock’


Hyacinth 'Gypsy Queen' Tulip 'Jan reus'

Hyacinth ‘Gypsy Queen’
Tulip ‘Jan reus’

Honesty flowers are biennial and seed around generously. I particularly like the variegated one with white flowers; they have beautiful foliage which look good with the tulips when they open.

Lunaria annua 'Variegata Alba'

Lunaria annua ‘Variegata Alba’

Lunaria rediva is a lovely perennial woodlander with fragrant,  lilac flowers and later on, elliptical seed pods.

Lunaria redivia

Lunaria rediva

There are so many little woodland treasures to enjoy at the moment. The woods are full of native, pure white Anemone nemorosa. I love it , but I am also fond of Anemone nemorosa ‘Robinsoniana’ which has large, blue flowers.

Anemone nemorosa 'Robinsoniana'

Anemone nemorosa ‘Robinsoniana’

Another unbeatable wild flower is the native primrose which is everywhere on banks and roadside verges at the moment. Even though it is always the favourite, I love any primrose. The Barnhaven hybrids come in gorgeous colours. Last year I discovered the lovely new Irish  Kennedy hybrids.  Primula Kennedy ‘Innisfree’ has dark red leaves and deepest red flowers.

Primula Kennedy 'Innisfree'

Primula Kennedy ‘Innisfree’

Primula Kennedy ‘Avondale’ has pretty pink flowers with white stripes.

Primula Kennedy 'Avondale'

Primula Kennedy ‘Avondale’

I am also fond of double primroses.

In Suffolk there are wild cowslips as well as primroses. Sometimes, you come across the rare native Oxslip, Primula elatior  too.  The long -flowering Primula ‘Lady Greer’ is very similar to an Oxlip.

Primula 'Lady Greer'

Primula ‘Lady Greer’

Epimediums are lovely as long as you remember to cut the leaves off in time. If you forget,  the flowers are hidden, or you end up chopping off flowers as well as leaves.

Epimedium x warleyense 'orange Queen'

Epimedium x warleyense ‘Orange Queen’

Epimedium versiclor 'Sulphereum'

Epimedium versiclor ‘Sulphereum’

Trilliums are not out yet, but there are some lovely erythroniums in bloom.

Erythronium 'Sundisc'

Erythronium ‘Sundisc’

Erythronium 'Pagoda'

Erythronium ‘Pagoda’

The white flowers of the violet -scented Ypsilandra thibetica which I showed you a while ago, are still in bloom after several weeks, but now they have turned rose pink.

Ypsilandra thibetica

Ypsilandra thibetica

I showed some fritillaries recently, but I forgot all about this little beauty.

Fritillaria hermonis ssp. amana

Fritillaria hermonis ssp. amana

Out in the sunshine, there are dear little Pasque flowers with their hairy, bell-shaped flowers in various colours.

Pulsatilla vulgaris

Pulsatilla vulgaris

I have seen the lovely Arum creticum growing on hill-sides in Crete. It is a beautiful thing, with glossy leaves and large, buttercup -yellow, fragrant spathes. It is blooming better than ever this year and I notice there are two babies close by.

Arum creticum

Arum creticum

So there we have it, a few of my favourite April bloomers. To see what other bloggers are enjoying this April, go over to Carole at Maydreamgardens and join the celebration.


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68 Responses to GBBD April.

  1. Meriel Murdock, Co. Wicklow, Ireland says:

    What a selection,. Wonderful, as always. I too discovered some of the Primula Kennedy hybrids recently and bought a pretty dusky pink one with dark leaves, ‘Innishfree Pink’ and a white one similar to your pink ‘Avondale’ named ‘Carrickdale’, neither looking as healthy as yours – next year hopefully. The dark red of ‘Innishfree’ is gorgeous, so rich. I would have had that one had it been available. Interestingly, I note that your Erythronium ‘Pagoda’ is a much deeper yellow than mine. It makes me question the naming on mine! I prefer the paler yellow fortunately!

    • Chloris says:

      I really love the Kennedy Primulas and I am always looking out for more. Well spotted about the Erythronium. Somebody else pointed out that Pagoda is paler. I went and checked and this is not Pagoda, I think it is Erythronium tuolumnense.

  2. I love that you have trees and shrubs in flower, may be one day I will too, the small delights are all delightful, I don’t know which I like best, them all may be, Frances

    • Chloris says:

      Trees and shrubs are wonderful in April but my favourite tree is magnolia. Is it too windy where you are for magnolias?

      • too windy for my garden, some of the gardens in Stornoway are much more sheltered by the buildings and Stornoway is set back from the coast, I can see the Atlantic, so very exposed, a few years ago when visiting family in Sussex we went to Wakehurst, the magnolias, azaleas and rhododendrons we wonderful, the camellias were just finishing, Frances

  3. Lovely! And the magnolias….gorgeous.

  4. Hayley says:

    So many delicious blooms! We are a few weeks behind here in South Yorkshire and my garden is still in its infancy, but you have certainly given me some inspiration. Thank you for sharing.

  5. mrsdaffodil says:

    I couldn’t agree more–April IS the most exciting month of the year. You have the joys of a mature garden: mine needs a few more years. Still, it’s the best garden I’ve ever had.

  6. Christina says:

    The Magnolias are lovely; your large garden must have been huge to have 23 magnolias, because I know you will have had collections of lots of others plants too! I very much admire the Amelanchier, it is pretty in all seasons; in the north of Italy it is grown for its fruit but I never see trees to buy here! Plus all the treasures of spring – it almost makes it worth enduring the depths of November to have such an explosion of flowers now.

    • Chloris says:

      My garden was nearly 11 acres, I probably couldn’ t manage it now; I struggle with one acre. I love amelanchier too, the blossom doesn’ t last long but the autumn colour is lovely.

  7. Angie says:

    What a wonderful array of blooms you have in April. So many special blooms short and large. Your garden must be an amazing place right now. I am considering the Amelanchier to add to the top border when the area is cleared from decking. It goes without saying really at just how beautiful your Magnolia specimens are.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Angie. This is the best and most exciting time in the garden. I know you like spring treasures too. I think amelanchier would be a great choice for your top border.

  8. Oh my, this is gorgeous! The Flowering Currant must be a pollinator favorite–I love the way you photographed it. Your garden is in full spring mode!

  9. Tina says:

    Ooof–you have so much! The A. creticum is a beauty, I can see why you would want it for your garden. A lovely April garden.

  10. Debra says:

    As always it was an absolute delight to see your flowers. Everything is so beautiful. I love primroses. And I really like your hyacinth displays.

  11. You are making me want to take a transAtlantic flight, which is saying a lot. Everything looks wonderful and I love the Magnolias!

  12. Anna says:

    Oh Mr Shakespeare certainly had a way with words Chloris as you do with plants both large and small. What beautiful April blooms. That ‘Black Tulip’ magnolia is stunning and it’s easy to see why it was named so. Good advice about the epimedium flowers. I will have to remember in time next year 🙂

  13. What a lovely array of mid-April flowers, thank you. The colour of the pulsatilla is sumptuous, it reminds me of homemade blackcurrnat pastilles dusted with dog sugar – simply delicious.

  14. Peter/Outlaw says:

    You’ve so many gorgeous flowers this bloom day! I was thinking of you when I bought two new ones, including ‘Elisabeth’ this year. I’d love to hear the story your transition from your larger garden to your current one.

    • Chloris says:

      The Magnolia Elizabeth I bought last year was ring barked by rabbits and died. I have bought a new one today as I can’ t bear to be without it.
      The move from my previous garden is not a happy story as it involves a divorce.

  15. pbmgarden says:

    So beautiful and an interesting assortment. Pulsatilla vulgarism is a great color. Seeing yours reminds me I had one early on in this garden but don’t know when or how it was lost. Does your arum grow in full sun?

  16. Kris P says:

    You have so many beautiful April flowers but the one that caused my heart to leap into my throat was the Anemone nemorosa. My guess is that it’s nowhere near as unusual as many flowers in your vast collection but to me it looks ethereal. The epimediums, trout lilies, and primrose also fill me with envy.

  17. Pauline says:

    So many wonderful beauties! This is a wonderful time of year in the garden and your garden is always a delight. Your magnolias are superb and your little woodland ephemerals so delicious. Your Erythronium Pagoda is much darker than mine and I’m glad someone else has fallen for the charms of Ypsilandra thibetica!

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Pauline. I know you love spring woodlanders too, they are a joy. You are quite right about the Erythronium. I have checked the labels, Pagoda is paler. I think this is Erythronium tuolumnense.

  18. Goodness, so many glorious plants, I love the burgundy magnolia, I’ve just got ‘stellata’, which I love. I’m terrible at remembering to cut off the epimedium leaves, my ‘orange queen’ caught me by surprise when I was picking rhubarb, little glints of orange peeping out amongst the leaves, now trimmed… Your Spring garden looks beautiful.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Janet. I have stellata too, it is very pretty and always a bit earlier than the others. The flowers are similar to those of Leonard Messel.

  19. Sam says:

    Gosh, I’m feeling a little stunned by all this April gorgeousness. Magnolias and Amelanchier are two of my favourite trees (we had both in our previous garden) and I love your orange epimedium. I know where to come to for inspiration 😊 Have a good weekend x

  20. Julie says:

    Is your garden very sheltered? You have so much in flower, but then you will have chosen wisely to have such a display. My variegated Honesty are only seedlings still, although the Amelanchier is in full flower. Our garden is quite exposed and in a frost pocket. Only one Magnolia here – an inherited soulangea and from the seeds two years ago a 3″ tall seedling! I agree with your choice of Viburnum carlesii ‘Aurora’, they are tricky group of shrubs, but that one is lovely.

    • Chloris says:

      Yes, the garden is sheltered as it is surrounded by mature trees. I wonder how your magnolia will turn out. Mine was nothing like any of the ones nearby.

  21. Flighty says:

    Your photos amply illustrate why this time of year is looked forward to by many people. Magnolias are wonderful when in full blossom. xx

  22. rusty duck says:

    A gorgeous selection Chloris, I love the Stachyurus. Thanks for your help with my anemone ID, yours and mine look identical so I’m sure that’s what it must be.

    • Chloris says:

      Thank you Jessica. I don’ t know why you don’ t see Stachyurus more often, it is a lovely thing.
      There are several blue wood anemones, but A robinsoniana is larger than most and I think this is what yours is.

  23. You have a very pretty garden, really nice !

  24. You really have some wonderful plants in your garden. It seems you are a lady with impeccable taste, well it seems to be the same as mine which is of course faultless. 😉

  25. Cathy says:

    Beautiful! I can’t wait to smell my Viburnum Aurora when I get home. (I’m in the UK at the moment). It should be opening for the first time any day now and I am getting regular updates in the form of photos sent to me by my dearest! Epimediums are one of my favourites. I always wait as long as possible before chopping the leaves as they add a bit of colour to the beds. Thanks for sharing Chloris!

  26. Chloris says:

    Oh Cathy, it is hard to be away from home at this time of the year when everything is springing into life. I hate going away in April, May or June. Sometimes the Pianist does drag me away for the odd week, I worry all the time about what I am missing.

  27. thredspider says:

    What a gorgeous April collection! I’m struggling to choose a favourite from your beauties – I think those anemones just edge it. Thank you for your help identifying my magnolia. It looks very much like your Leonard Messel.

  28. snowbird says:

    What a delightful selection, how I wish I could see them all first hand. I just love Star Wars, especially with the tulips and forget-me-nots underneath, what a pretty picture they all paint. Ribes speciosum does look like a fuchsia, I haven’t seen that before,what a lovely Ribes! The leaves of Euphorbia mellifera look just like evening primrose….I think…how unusual. I am a huge fan of all anemone, but nemorosa, ‘Robinson’ is utterly adorable, looks almost like a himalayan poppy…..I crown her the queen of your April

    • Chloris says:

      Do you ever come to Suffolk Dina? It would be lovely if you could call in and then I could show you the garden properly and we could have a good chat.
      I agree Anemone nemerosa is a gem, although it is hard to beat the wild white anemone when you find a woodland carpeted with it.

      • snowbird says:

        If I’m ever up your way I’d love to call….beware though, I’ll come with a sharp pair of secateurs! Thanks for the offer, I shall certainly take you up on it if I’m in the

  29. Cathy says:

    I felt like a hungry dinner guest at a many course banquet reading this post, Chloris, with new delicacies being placed in front of me one after the other….

  30. homeslip says:

    A wonderful tour of your beautiful spring garden – thank you Chloris. I’m thrilled to say I grow many of the treasures you have highlighted too but there are still one or two to look out for on my travels. I just love this time of year.

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