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The countryside is looking so beautiful with its variety of fresh greens and the blackthorn and wild cherry blossom. It reminds me afresh of the beginning of Robert Browning’s charming poem:

Oh to be in England
Now that April’s there
And whoever wakes in England
Sees, some morning, unaware,
That the lowest boughs and the brushwood sheaf
Round the elm-tree bole are in tiny leaf,
While the chaffinch sings on the orchard bough
In England, now.

Looks like today is going to be a very wet one but, obviously, I can’t complain because we need the rain so much.  I am really pleased with the garden at present and particularly the east border, very much a spring feast, and am still filling it with odd things including pulmonaria, forgetmenot, welsh poppies, moved from other places. The bulbs have been excellent. I loved the Crocus ‘Cream Beauty’. The new daffodils are all looking very pretty – I especially liked Cottinga – and the erythronium are now in bloom. I also need to get some summer plants in there. Now I must add a mulch of chipped bark that has been waiting on our drive for a few months. We reshingled the path a couple of months ago. It was a ragbag of any old stones and gravel and is now uniform in colour and texture.

Part of the east border - a work in progress

  The rest of the flower/shrub garden 

Daphne odora was good value back in March. It was planted about 4 years ago and flowered for the first time last year. Mahonia japonica ‘Bealei’ has been very pretty this year. Unfortunately my Daphne mezereum only had one flower on it – very disappointing. Does anyone know whether it needs any special care? Bergenia and pulmonaria are both going well. The relatively new Exochorda macrantha ‘The Bride’ is starting to look fetching. All the forsythias were fantastic value as always. Vinca minor is performing well as ground cover near to the larger pond. I am worried that my lavender, inside the box hedging, is not going to do well this year. It has become very woody and probably needs replacing.

The annual/perennial seeds are germinating/growing on in the new mini greenhouse – coreopsis, rudbeckia, dahlia, anise hyssop, aubretia. I only really discovered growing flowers from seed in the last few years and it gives me enormous pleasure as I hope it does the bees and butterflies.

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