An Instagram retrospective of April 2017
The beginning of April belongs to magnolias, and instagram was full of them, particularly in city settings, which was gratifying. It's always nice to see our fellow Instagrammers in the smoke getting their nature on. This kind of thing from Ksenia Skosyrskikh
I...just...can't...stop🌸 Magnolia, why you are so beautiful😍 Happy Monday✨ Даже железные правила колористики моего инстаграма не могут остановить фото спам цветущей магнолии🌸 Красота же, согласитесь?😍😍😍 Хорошего всем понедельника✨ #prettycitylondon #london #visitlondon #thisislondon #timeoutlondon #ilove_simplebeyond #toplondonphoto #springwatch
But I don’t spend much time in London these days, so had to get my magnolia kicks in more rural settings.
Another few days, perhaps, to enjoy the #magnolia before the blooms disintegrate. Today's rain, welcome in the garden, will soon make mush of the confetti. For now, I'll enjoy this single fat flower looking back at the long mixed border at @greatdixterofficial at the weekend. #peninpractice #mystoryoflight #olympusuk #tostandandstare
It never lasts as long as you’d like, however, and soon the wind and an atypical night of rain was turning petals to mush.
Tulips, however, are made of sterner stuff. I’ll put together a post detailing the tulips I’ve grown here this year, together with ones I’m adding to the list for next spring. But they’ve been a joy since the early arrival of 'Purissima', right through the month, withstanding the odd downpour, high winds and a late frost, so no apologies for featuring them heavily on my Instagram feed, and now, also here.
Weather's gone grey, and a cold snap's moving in. A perfect moment to start reviewing this morning's sunny tulip photographs. Here are the wonderful viridiflora 'Flaming Spring Green', whose red stripe is perfectly picked up by the fringed 'Pacific Pearl' and the double 'Matrix', all new in my garden this year. #lovetulips #mystoryoflight #peninpractice #olympusuk #tostandandstare
Here I am, desperately hoping the tulips distract from my weedy garden and a vast pile of manure that still needs to be spread on another border. Cobblers children… Anyway, this lovely double flowered purple tulip in a sea of Flaming Spring Green is called 'Negrita'. I'm quite pleased with it. #lovetulips #mystoryoflight #peninpractice #olympusuk
Yesterday morning's frost gave the tulips a bit of a going over. Even in their contorted anguish they still manage to look beautiful. They've recovered to an extent, but it makes me glad I've been taking so many photos - we'll get a few more days out of them. #mystoryoflight #iphoneography #tostandandstare #lovetulips
Always the first of the hardy geraniums to flower here, Geranium phaeum 'Samobor' lent its understated gracefulness to the dappled shade along the garden path.
Morning! Puzzling over whether this planting combination is going to work - White Tulip 'Triumphator', maroon Geranium phaeum, and then about to open, ORANGE Geum 'Totally Tangerine'. The orange is a bit of a departure for me, but I think we might carry it off here. Not long till we find out! #mystoryoflight #peninpractice #olympusuk #tostandandstare
I thought I’d managed to snap one of those long snouted bee-fly thingies, but it turns out from looking at other photos from adjacent moments that this was just a bee, with a foreleg masquerading as a snout.
There were plenty of blue flowers in the garden, from forget-me-nots and green alkanet, to a particularly attractive blue comfrey, Symphytum caucasicum.
Having fun with the borage family (Boraginaceae). Until last year I was getting several family members mixed up – since then I've made a concerted effort to get to know them a little better. These three – forget-me-not, green alkanet and comfrey – are commonly found in gardens and hedgerows, though this particular comfrey, the very blue Symphytum caucasicum, is a little bit special. I could have included heliotrope, borage (nearly Pimms o'clock!) and pulmonaria, but you have to stop somewhere! #iphoneogrqphy
This wonderful double blue primula, Primula 'Sapphire Blue', found lurking in a corner at Sissinghurst,
Thought I'd quietly sneak this in while everyone's lying about groaning from excess chocolate consumption. This is Primula 'Blue Sapphire', which I found tucked away in a corner of the top courtyard at Sissinghurst. Is that not glorious? Such a rare blue, perfect scrunched up petals, and I don't usually like double flowers! Straight to the top of my wish list – let me know if you want one, the shipping (from France) is a little high so I might get a few. #peninpractice #olympusuk #mystoryoflight
...and a new addition, which I’d seen at the beginning of the month in the nursery at Great Dixter, and used as an excellent excuse to revisit the gardens later in the month.
Amongst many other treats, Great Dixter provided the opportunity to see this large spurge come into flower – a particularly fine specimen in a sheltered corner between the Great Barn and the White Barn.
Found this lovely big spurge lurking in a corner at Great Dixter earlier in the week. (By which I mean, I was visiting earlier in the week – pretty safe to assume the plant is there all the time.) Leaves a good six inches long. Frantic Googlage and nods from the kind of informed plant people who know these things (thank you @1gardensage @thomasdstone and @nickbailey365!) confirmed that it's Euphorbia stygiana, perhaps even bigger than the sweetly scented E mellifera, also represented here. Great isn't it? And such luck to arrive while it's in the process of revealing its flowers. #peninpractice #mystoryoflight #olympusuk #tostandandstare
And while we can grumble about the lack of rain and the prospect of hosepipe bans, we still made time to enjoy the blue skies, of which there were many.
It might be cooler today, but still glorious weather for a celebratory walk (our 22nd wedding anniversary. That's what you get for not providing enough seats at your party, I told Em – we first met when I sat on her, as there was nowhere else to park my fat arse. Well, nowhere as nice). We drove all of ten minutes up the Greensand Ridge, parked Digory beside the road, and took the path towards Ightham Mote. All dappled sunlight, picturesque cottages and steeply wooded paths. Moss-covered sandstone boulders appeared at regular intervals like islands in the path, surrounded by ransoms, dogs mercury and lesser celandine. I got told off for bringing crisps instead of cake. Schoolboy error. #mystoryoflight #iphoneography #kent #tfispring #tostandandstare
But, just in case we got too comfortable, the final week of April reminded us how capricious she can be.
How was April in your garden? Let me know on twitter, or in the comments below.