End of Month – April 2014

I’m not joking now, who stole the past month of my life???

It’s hard to believe we’re into May, and yay I go on Holiday soon! Wish it was Portugal, but a holiday none-the-less.

The front garden is nice and cheerful as you walk through the gate and up to the house, no photos of the window border, but there’s still splashes of colour, but the Daffodils look somewhat messy as they are going over. Red Campion, Brunnera, Pulmonaria and Epimedium add some colour to the border, however.

Changes are afoot in the ‘Aster border’, as I’ve removed the Irises and some Persicaria ready to fix the wood on the tier so I figured it was a good time to move them to my parent’s. I hope the Irises are OK, as their soil is generally very well-draining, and it may not be damp enough for them. I’m thinking, as there are already quite a few grasses in the border, I’d add in more so it can become a ‘low maintenance’ border on one side, with the Flat-topped Aster and Sedums on the other.


Sadly something is eating at my Aquilegia; a large caterpillar judging by the faeces left. I’m yet to catch it because so far it’s allowed only ONE flower to bloom. Not impressed, at all. My small, purple Aquilegia is blooming behind the pink one, but from the angle it’s hidden. (wonder why fat caterpillar isn’t eating the purple one???!)

After years of bemoaning the lack of Forget-me-not seeding in my garden, I now have a nice carpet, and they’re beginning to spread into the right border too. So far they’re almost filling the Buddleja border, with a noticeable gap in the centre (not sure why…)


Sadly, I think I have lost both of my Meconopsis, I’m yet to see any sign of life from either.

I’m still waiting for the Hellebores to finish, but I think the seed heads will be with us for quite a while longer… Perhaps I’ll just remove some of the stems but allow others to set their seed.

Clematis ‘willy’ is finally beginning to look much happier after I moved it a few years ago. It’s put on a lot of growth this season and has more blooms. Admittedly, still only 10, but it’s a massive improvement on the 1 bloom it produced last year! I had been considering flooring it or leaving it for dead. I must be the grim reaper of plants, because whenever I think I’ll get rid of something because it’s not performing (Magnolia Stellata is a classic example) and there they go and prove themselves.
Meanwhile Sorbus Fruticosa is leafing up and I’m wondering whether I should trim some branches to promote it to bush out, as yet it’s not really shrubby, rather twiggy still.

Copyright 2014 Liz.
All rights reserved. Content created by Liz for Gwirrel’s Garden

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17 thoughts on “End of Month – April 2014

  1. Lots of lovely things flowering, Liz. Which erysimum is it? I have just had some from Hayloft but I don’t know if they will flower this year. Sorry about you aquilegia – I am really excited that the ‘Green Apples’ I grew from seed are starting to bud up 🙂 but the others I sowed over winter are very slow getting going

    • Hi Cathy,

      I have 5 different ones… In the photos above you can see ‘bowles Mauve’ in many of them but I’m assuming you’re asking regarding the shots in the first set?
      Ok, so the pink/purple and orange/red (the one on the left) is ‘winter sorbet’, the pink/purple and orange (the one on the right) is ‘sweet sorbet’. I also have ‘winter sorbet’ and ‘lemon’ which isn’t blooming yet and I hope I haven’t lost it.

      Fat Caterpillar doesn’t appear to be attacking any of my other Aquilegias even though they’re only around 30cm away… Frustrating, as this is the second year this has happened, but last year I managed to find it. I’m doubtful a moth would be specifically targeting one type of Aquilegia?? Just my luck, no doubt.

      It’s taken a few years for my sown Aquilegias to bloom, and even longer to become sizeable – still have a couple now which are only small but have blooms. They were sown from my own seeds and are a kind of mix between my purples and my pinks… Most aren’t that nice tbh, but I do have a very nice plum purple double one which blooms prolifically and has very tall stems (unlike the rest).

      • The sorbet erysimums look lovely. Strange about the aquilegia-eating caterpillar! I must be lucky that Green Apples is going to flower, as those I have sown this winter are still very tiny and I can’t see them being of flowering size next year.

  2. Really enjoying your blog. I have just started blogging after having retired recently. I am doing the same kind of gardening as you on a smaller scale now here in the Okanagan Valley in British
    Columbia, Canada. It’s a bit of a challenge at times as temperatures can sometimes plummet to -14 c in the Winter, however, it is amazing what does survive.

  3. Hi Liz,

    I wonder what caterpillar is eating your aquilegia………I would like to know if you manage an id.

    It has been the best year yet for clematis…..I have never had such growth and it looks like there will be lots of blooms.
    The rain did some good I think 🙂

    I always cut most of the stems from my hellebore, leave just one or two to reseed.

    BTW love clematis ‘Willy’……what a gorgeous little flower.

    • Hi Cheryl,

      I imagine it’ll be some sort of moth, probably a silver y or other common moth like angle shades moth.

      I’ll wait to see how the other Clematis are doing, ‘Marjorie’ is just beginning to open, and I’ve got a while to wait for my summer bloomer sweet sensation – last year it didn’t bloom at all. So far though it is producing a lot of new growth (but it did last year, too).

      Right, some Hellebores cut back already, will get round to the rest tomorrow depending on the weather. They are looking quite messy and unsightly now so I think it’s time to tidy a little.

  4. What a mass of colour you have Liz – the Erysimum in the front garden is gorgeous. After years of trying Erysimum in the back garden, where it really is too moist for it, I’ve been given a couple of cuttings for my front garden where it is far better drained. I’ve high hopes they look as good as yours. I hope you find the wee blighter that’s chewing your Aquilegia.
    Glad to read the Clematis took note of your threat – plants often do that don’t they? It’s a lovely one too.

  5. Such a lot of lovely colour and new foliage! Everything is rushing by at such a fast rate, I can’t keep up with the weeds, they’re popping up as soon as I turn my back! Lovely to see your Clematis alpina Willy doing so well, mine died! Have a good weekend.

    • Hi Pauline,

      ‘Willy’ was doing really well, then I had to move it as it was round the summer house… I planted it in a nice big tub and still it happily bloomed away but then as soon as I planted it properly it seemed to just, die. Since then I’ve barely had anything from it – 3 years I think it’s been – so I’m pleased to see it blooming this year. Perhaps the spot it’s in is too dry? I’m not sure. There are hedges relatively close-by, but I wouldn’t think they’re near enough to take all the water. Sorry to hear yours died though, do you know why?

      I don’t tend to have too many problems with weeds, generally I have more problems with grass – couch mainly – coming through from next door, so I have to be careful along the boundaries. But it’s a losing battle at the moment, especially when it gets growing around shrubs/trees and there’s nothing I can do about it other than get rid of the plant. There’s no way I’m getting rid of my Russian Dwarf almond or Roseraie De L’hay. So I just rip it out, knowing that underneath the soil the roots are probably completely taking over.

    • Hi Ronnie,

      Purple? Me? Nah, you must be mistaken… 😉

      For the past couple of weeks I’ve been certain I can see some vetch self seeded in a crack in the pavement… I’ve spotted some purple flowers now, so I’ll be stealing some seeds in the coming weeks. Yay, more purple to add to the garden, plus various butterflies lay eggs on them. Excellent.

    • Hi Anna,

      I have 5 different Erysimum, but I’m assuming you’re referring to the ones in the top photos…The pink/purple and orange/red (the one on the left) is ‘winter sorbet’, the pink/purple and orange (the one on the right) is ‘sweet sorbet’. I also have ‘winter sorbet’ and ‘lemon’.

    • Hi Donna,

      Sorry to hear you’ve been having bad weather; I think this past year has been extremes for many of us, even if we are across a rather large ocean. Hopefully your summer will be lovely though and make up for the nastiness.

      Today is surprisingly nice – forecast for rain and sun, but so far none of the former – so I’m planning on getting out and beginning to fix the wood on the tier. I’ve been waiting for it to be dry enough to do, as I don’t want to ruin the soil in the Aster border beneath the wood. We had a lot of rain mid-week (thunder storm that lasted over an hour! Usually they last 10/20 minutes), so I’m hoping it’s dried enough now.

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