Clematis alpina and blossom

Can the garden possibly get better than it is right now?

A perfect, frost-free April last left the garden looking breathtaking and it is impossible to believe it can possible look any better than it has over the last couple of weeks.

The daffodils and tulips were left unflattened by gales, none of the petals of rhododendrons and other big blooms have been browned by frost and plenty of sun has left everything flowering and growing like crazy.

Right now the Clematis Alpina are at their absolute peak and the whole north facing border is a sea of blue and lilac as they scramble through the shrubs, trees and fence.

Clematis Alpina in full bloom

I leave them unpruned from year to year wherever possible and they have rewarded me thoroughly.   Though they prefer the North side, at least one of the cuttings I planted in the South facing border several years ago  (albeit a cool, shaded part) is scrambling its way merrily and falling down through branches in a waterfall effect.

As long as these plants are not baked around the roots, they do really well in the back garden and are virtually effort free.  They root well as cuttings, with no fancy treatment needed.  I propagate them outside in a cold greenhouse and inside with bottom heat with equal results.  Though the indoor plants start life somewhat bigger, the tough, cold accustomed plants soon catch up.

This year, for the first time, I have transplanted one of the Alpina cuttings that is growing away so well in to the front garden – just to see how it does.  I’ve put it in dappled shade, but maybe the wind will be too much for it.

Complimenting the Clematis, and in some cases completely intertwined with it, is a fine display of spring blossom.  The winds have been kind so far, so now cherry, plum, apple and pear are all blooming at the same time.

Apple blossom in the back garden (left) and front garden (right)

The pixie apple tree at the front is further on than the old bramley at the back, as it gets more sun.  The pixie tree is several eating types grafted together and it is putting on a great show, given that I think its middle graft has failed and a vertical section of trunk has split. I fear it won’t survive much longer and that perhaps this is its last hurrah.   But it has proved a tough little tree so far and the apples from the healthy top part taste lovely.

As the Spring garden peaks, I know there is a period coming where the garden takes a breather and goes mostly green, prior to the next wave of flowers.  I’ve tried to find things that look nice in May, but maybe the garden is telling me to give it a break after its heroic April efforts.

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