Garden Happenings: End of April

April Garden Happenings

We had some family visiting from Scotland for 10 days this month, and it happened to coincide with a return to more “normal” Spring weather — colder, on-again-off-again rain/hail, etc… And almost as soon as they left, we returned to some glorious, warm, sunshine-filled days.  Sad that our family missed some great weather, but glad that the return to colder temps while they were here (and I was away from the garden) seemed to slow down what was happening in the garden before I missed any of it.  Instead we had lovely meals with together, a trip to the coast, and a visit to Mt Hood and the Gorge to enjoy Oregon’s gorgeous landscapes with our guests.

Since their visit, I’ve taken advantage of the return of some glorious weather to do some moving of bulbs (in the green while I remember where they are) that weren’t working in their current spots, taking out some plants I want to donate to our neighborhood plant sale because I want to try something new, and rejuvenating a couple of areas that weren’t working well. But along with these projects I’ve also been able to just sit and contemplate in the garden, which is one of my favorite ways to pass the time.

I also like to do the rounds with some tea or coffee (or a cocktail in the evening) just seeing what’s happening in different parts of the garden, and increasingly enjoying our longer evenings with their magical light while snuggling with the dogs and watching the sunlight in the trees.

We’re already at the point where the tulips are almost finished and the alliums are just getting started — time, as usual, speeds by. I wait all year for the tulip ‘queen of the night’ to bloom, with its gorgeous deep purple petals. I love it in all its phases, but it’s hard to beat it backlit by the sun.

'Queen of the Night' tulips in the bumbout

Last autumn I even planted up 3 containers of them for the bottom of our deck steps in the back garden, so I get to see them as I come and go from the house.  I used some chicken wire molded over the tops of the containers, held down by a large rock to keep the squirrels/raccoons/dogs from digging them up.

Black Tulips

Out in front, the hellstrip is filling in nicely, and the blooming irises by the telephone pole smell like grape soda.

The Hellstrip

Last year I tried a cardoon in a large container near the end of our driveway, and it’s come back in a great way this year.

Along the Driveway

The armeria has hit its stride filled with tiny, floating, fuchsia orbs.

Front Garden

And the front garden, on the whole, has filled in really nicely.  The photo below is in front of our porch, next to the path to the back gate.

The front of the porch, North side

 

And this is looking from that same path out towards the street.  Looking at this photo makes me think about reading about Vita Sackville-West (of Sissinghurst fame) and her “cram-cram” style — no soil left bare — I identify with that.The Front Garden

And I’m really enjoying this area where I’m playing with reds, oranges, pinks and corals together for the first time.  I love them with the silver foliage of the sage, and the blueish foliage of the conifer.

On the West Side of the North Gate

Due to the lace bug, I only have the one deciduous azalea and a rhododendron ‘ebony pearl’ — I used to have more azaleas but it just wasn’t worth it to battle the lace bugs, so I’ve given them away. But the deciduous azalea is one I’m willing to baby a bit because its orange flowers and intoxicating scent are worth it. It’s just outside our basement steps so I enjoy it as I come and go while working in the garden.

Outside the basement steps

Deciduous Azalea

And the rhododendron ‘ebony pearl’ is just starting to flower.

Rhododendron 'Ebony Pearl'

In shadier areas things that were once small are starting  to feel like they’re making an impact this season, like this climbing hydrangea and fatsia.

Garden Totems w/Birdhouse (with green roof)

And the disporum cantoniense ‘green giant’ is filled with its dainty flowers.  I love this plant.

Ceramic Bird Feeder

The rain is supposed to start again tomorrow, but I’m looking forward to the next stretch of dry, warm, sunshine so that I can spend more time out here taking it all in. It really is the most wonderful time of the year.

Seat by the chiminea

Kate McMillan

Author Kate McMillan

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