Top Ten Bloom Day falls on St. George’s Day this year. Why somebody who was born in Turkey should be the patron saint of England has always baffled me, even if he was a handy man to have around if you had dragons to be slain, or ‘worms’ as our ancestors called them. I know the early crusaders adopted him and had a red cross on their tunics in his memory as they embarked on their murderous campaigns, but nowadays this dark part of our history is not one that should be celebrated. I think we should reinstate St. Edmund who was King Of East Anglia and our patron saint for 300 years. He was beheaded by those dastardly Danes led by Ivor the Boneless and his head was thrown into the forest. But a talking wolf magically led his searchers to the head, saying ‘hic, hic, hic.’ I think that is a much more impressive trick than slaying worms.
And what has this to do with my top ten April blooms you might ask? Sorry, nothing at all. Really, it is impossible to pick out just ten blooms for this month when every day brings new delights. April is blossom time and apple, cherry and quince are all looking fabulous but crab apples are my favourites because not only do you get blossom now but you get decorative fruit in autumn. My biggest one was here when we arrived, it is Malus ‘Golden Hornet’ and it is huge and full of bloom. It looks splendid sitting next to the glorious Acer ‘Brilliantissimum’
My favourite is one I grew from a seed of Malus transitoria. As far as I can see it has come true from seed and it has the daintiest blossom followed by small yellow fruit that look like little beads.
My newest crab apple is planted in the large area of garden rescued last year from an ever encroaching hedgerow. I have planted trees and shrubs here and put down a weed membrane and wood chippings. I can’t ask the Pianist to play dodgems with all the trees on his lawn mower, it would be carnage so although a primavera meadow would be nice I can’t have one. The tree is Malus ”Wedding Bouquet’ which has lovely pink buds opening to creamy white blossom followed by red fruit.
The first rose to bloom in my garden is the primrose- yellow, single ‘Canary Bird’ and it is a welcome sight as it sits in a froth of blue forgetmenot. It is an old bush and was here when we came.
I have planted another early flowering yellow rose which is more of a buttercup yellow. It is called Rosa ecae ”Helen Knight. It has lovely ferny foliage.
I have talked about my love of magnolias on this blog and I have three April blooming ones which are much appreciated, specially as they usually miss the frosts which can ruin March -blooming ones. Magnolia lilifora is a dark pink one and I am pleased with this one because it is one I propagated myself by layering the tree in my old garden.
Magnolia ‘Susan’is one of the ‘Little Girl’ series created by crossing Magnolia liliflora with Magnolia stellata. They all have girls’ names and they are all lovely. Susan is four years old and she is only just starting to get lots of blooms.
I also love the primrose yellow one called ‘Elizabeth’ and this year it is blooming quite well.
The prettiest white-flowered shrub at the moment is Exochorda x macrantha ‘The Bride’ which is sometimes called the Pearl Bush. It has a nice weeping habit and is smothered in pure white blooms.
I love anything fragrant and the scent of Genista spachiana from the Canary Islands is fantastic. I kept it in the greenhouse for a couple of years because I wasn’t sure how hardy it is. But it came through outside this year with no die- back at all.
Nearby I have the lovely lilac-flowered mallow, Abutilon suntense. I think it can be short -lived but it is easy from cuttings or seed.
And now for some smaller treasures, earlier in the month I would have been writing about erythroniums, epimediums and and anemones. But we still have gorgeous trilliums. This is a clump of Trillium grandiflorum that I have had for years and it gets bigger and better every year.
Another treasure which spreads is the double form of the Bloodroot, Sanguinaria canadensis f. multiplex ‘Plena’ which is a bit of a mouthful for such a pretty little plant.
I like to show at least one climber in my monthly top bloom round up and this month it will be the chocolate vine, Akebia quinata. I believe this has become a noxious weed in many parts of the States, but not here in the UK, although it does need a large area to scramble on it. It is supposed to smell of chocolate but I can’t detect it but it is a pretty and unusual flower.
and I also have a cream form.
I will finish with an orchid as orchids always thrill me and this is the first time this has bloomed for me. It is a Lady’s Slipper Orchid, called Cypripedium ‘Lucas’.
I am sorry to have left so many beauties out this month, I did try to make a video today because the garden is looking so beautiful. But when I sat and watched it I felt sick for an hour so my video-making skills need a bit of work. Please join me and show some of your favourite April blooms.