Top Ten Flowers for April

Every month Chloris at The Blooming Garden shares her favourite ten flowers…. and often a few entertaining anecdotes or snippets of information too! We are encouraged to join her and, since I now finally have something flowering in my garden after a very cold March,ย I am pleased to join in the fun this April and share my top ten!

First off, the Hepatica – usually a March flower, but the ones in my garden didn’t really get going this year until early April.

These magical little blue flowers have such intense luminosity. They show up on nearby roadsides and at the edges of woodland even in poor light. In fact, they really are magical asย the violet petal colour is able to transform light into warmth, thus protecting the flower from hard frosts. You can see an older post I wrote on Hepatica here. On occasions I have caught a whiff of their elusive fragrance. Like violets, it seems to disappear as soon as you have smelt it, and I thought I was imagining it until reading about this phenomenon in ‘The Secrets of Wildflowers’ by Jack Sanders:

‘The blossoms may or may not be scented. Naturalist John Burroughs, who called hepatica “the gem of the woods”, wondered about this oddity in several of his essays. “This flower is the earliest, as it is certainly one of the most beautiful, to be found in our woods, and occasionally it is fragrant,” he wrote in A Bunch of Herbs. “Group after group may be inspected, ranging through all shades of purple and blue, with some perfectly white, and no odor to be detected, when presently you will happen upon a little brood of them that have a most delicate and delicious fragrance.” Elsewhere he wrote that more often than not the scent will be found in the white flowers, but that one year after a particularly severe winter almost every blue hepatica he came upon was scented – another of the little unexplained peculiarities of wildflowers that make them so fascinating.’

Another favourite in April is Pulmonaria. I have several in varying shades of pinks and blues. Here are some of the prettiest…

 

Number three is my little ornamental cherry ‘Kojo-no-mai’. It never ceases to produce a gasp when I open the blinds one morning and there it is in full bloom!

Fourth: Geranium phaeum, which often doesn’t flower until May

I love the delicate chocolatey coloured flowers, somewhere between maroon and brown, and the foliage mottled with matching brown markings. This plant seeds itself profusely, loves warm dry spots with poor soil and can cope with heat well. It will go on flowering until it gets too hot, then I shall cut it back and it will come back again. ๐Ÿ™‚

Fifth: Pulsatilla pratensis

The blue ones grow on our open chalky hillsides but this pinky red one (possibly ‘Rote Glocke’) lives in my garden and is cherished not only for its gorgeous flowers, but also for the fluffy seedheads which stay looking pretty for many weeks and are perfect as fillers for arrangements in vases. ๐Ÿ™‚

Sixth: Violas

Some have self-seeded in the path, and others are thriving in pots planted in March…

 

Seventh: Viburnum ‘Aurora’.

The scent of this is simply gorgeous, but this year the mini heatwave mid April shortened the life of the pretty flowers. My bush has put on lots of growth this year though, so I will no doubt start picking some for vases next spring! ๐Ÿ˜‰

Number 8: Epimediums

Two reliable ones in my front garden are a yellow E. ‘Sulphureum’ and the orange ‘Orangekรถnigin’, but my favourite is this orange one – ‘Amber Queen’ – with spiky petals making it look quite elf-like, or perhaps UFO-like? Chloris also featured this one as a favourite for April.

 

My last two favourites are from trees…

Number 9: This may sound strange, but these teeny weeny flowers always inspire wonder when I see them – mostly on the ground after a strong wind has knocked them down – the larch flowers. They are only about 1cm in diameter and are usually too high up to see with the naked eye.

 

And finally, my tenth flower for April is the Japanese Maple. As soon as the tiny flowers appear the bees are there! The tree also emits a musty aroma which always reminds me of fried food – not unpleasant, but a bit weird!

Thanks to Chloris for suggesting we share our favourites each month – posting about them is extremely useful as a personal record and reading about other people’s favourites is not only fun but also very informative and inspiring. ๐Ÿ™‚

49 thoughts on “Top Ten Flowers for April

  1. Lovely post Cathy – and isn’t wonderful to have hepatica flowering wild around you? Not to mention the nice plants in your own garden. I especially admire you for including the larch and the maple at the end. I always, always, notice them (when I am in their vicinity!), but just forget my sense of awe immediately afterwards! Beauty, taken for granted. No larch or Japanese maple here, but we do have field maple – need to visit to be reminded!

  2. March was warmer here than April. April has been the coldest in 57 years and we are to set a record tonight if it indeed freezes. UGH… The only good thing about it is that the plants that are tough enough to flower have held onto their flowers for some time. Your Hepatica is gorgeous. We have that here and it does bloom in March. All of your flowers are so pretty. Some are new to me.

    • We had an extremely cold March after an otherwise mild winter, setting lots of plants back that had started to show growth. So this very warm April has helped everything catch up. ๐Ÿ™‚ In fact some flowers are earlier than usual!

  3. A fine selection of spring delights Cathy. How tall is your cherry โ€˜Kojo-no-maiโ€™? This season is certainly seeing both early and late arrivals.

    • Hi Anna. The cherry is just over a metre tall now. It was so tiny when I planted it about 4 or 5 years ago and grows fairly slowly, but I do love it!

  4. What a treat to read! I’m fascinated by the Hepatica and its ability to allude frost with color. The Epimediums DO look like tiny UFOs, or perhaps some exotic insect. I never heard of a larch tree before, but its little pink flowers/cones are so sweet. I would love to see the ground covered in them.

  5. Thank you so much for joining in with your lovely April favourites Cathy. What a great selection. I always envy you your gorgeous hepaticas. How wonderful to see them growing wild. I have tried growing them but they don’t do very well with me. E. Amber Queen is one of my favourites too, you don’t see it very often. I have never noticed the flowers on larch before, these trees look gorgeous in spring.

    • The Hepaticas really are lovely, especially when you see a whole woodland full of them…. not quite as lovely as a bluebell wood though, which we don’t get here! The woods near us are mainly evergreens for forestry, with a lot of beech mixed in, so it is lovely to come across a larch now and then. ๐Ÿ™‚ (We have got three in our garden too). I would probably never have noticed the flowers if they hadn’t been lying on the ground one year – you have to look hard to see them on the high branches and I zoomed in with my camera. ๐Ÿ™‚

  6. Cathy the Blue Hepatica I love. I agree with you on what is number one. Growing not only in the garden, but also on the edge of the roads. Wonderful. I really like the Pulmonaria in all the colors that you have it. Violas I love them. You have a beautiful Top-Ten. Have a good weekend. Greetings from Margarita.

  7. Oh, another meme! These things are addictive. It is amusing to see what others grow in their regions though. Yours are all diffferent from what we grow here, except only for the viola and flowering cherry. Our cherries finished a while ago.

    • Hi Tony. That is precisely why I love this particular meme – you can see how the climate varies in different parts of the world and what other people grow in their gardens. My little cherry tree has gone over now too – it didn’t last long in our very warm April sun.

  8. What a beautiful selection, Cathy. I love seeing what other people have in their gardens โ€“ thanks for sharing. I must get some more and different pulmonarias โ€“ your blue one is lovely. The Geranium phaeum is gorgeous, too.

    • Yes, garden blogs are a nice way of ‘looking over the fence’ of other people’s gardens without feeling embarrassed! ๐Ÿ˜‰ I could never say which plant is my all-time favourite, but I just love both Pulmonarias and Geranium phaeum.

  9. Your “assortment” is just lovely, Cathy. So many of the blooms are delicate and very sweet. But I LOVE that ornamental cherry tree. I can imagine the gasp upon seeing it every morning. What a statement it must make in your total landscape. Gorgeous–all of them. ๐Ÿ™‚

    • Thanks Debra. Such a shame the cherry tree doesn’t last longer. It was a spontaneous purchase after seeing my Mum’s in flower, but I haven’t regretted it! ๐Ÿ™‚

  10. I love all the hepatica. I often wonder how such tiny plants manage to hold on in the rough and tumble, but it appears you have a soil which suits them. So nice to see all this color. You’re a couple weeks ahead but now at least there’s hope!

    • Good to hear from you Frank! The Hepatica are in a bed full of tree roots, with Geranium phaeum all around them, so they never get disturbed, which is probably the secret! I bet you will be catching us up really soon!

    • Thanks Susie. I have found the Pulmonaria seed themselves out to where THEY want to grow and the original plants struggle a little if we have a dry spring… which seems to be getting the norm here!

    • Thank you Beth! I have been taking more notice of trees this spring, since everything has flowered at once, and saw oak flowers for the first time. Amazing how much we can miss if we don’t look properly!

  11. What a fun idea, gathering your top ten favorites for April. These sorts of things really help us focus on what’s in the garden and when, as well as the little treasures they offer us in scent, shape, color or all three.

  12. April is The best month, well usually anyway! It was nice to see some parts of your garden I don’t remember seeing before. I love the cherry! I’ve never seen it on sale here but if I ever do I will certainly try to find a place for it in the garden.

    • My Mum has got that cherry near her patio and when I saw it in flower the first time I was smitten. By chance I came across one in a garden centre here soon after, so I snapped it up! It has survived in an exposed, very hot and dry spot for about three or four years now, so I can recommend it!

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