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The April Garden

I am blessed to have been planted in the same soil for over twenty five years and to have had the opportunity to grow my garden almost from scratch, out of the devastation wrought by a tornado in 1990. The garden is more beautiful now than it ever was before the tornado. But it has taken time. Every spring and fall I planted new trees, new shrubs, new perennials, designing new garden spaces as the years passed. Season after season, year after year the garden took shape. I watched tiny Japanese maple and other seedlings mature into beautiful specimens. I transplanted old finds, like these columbines planted by the original owner of our house:Columbine loves the areas adjacent to the mulched paths wandering through the front garden. Every year I find seedlings to take the place of older ones that die away. I started with six plants; now I have many more. It is my favorite flower, and the bees love them, too!I watched things die, and I fretted until I learned to get over it. I discovered a lot about gardening along the way. Now the death of a plant is an opportunity to do something better.

That brings me to now. Our bitter winter killed a palm tree in the woodlands and the row of Pavonia Hastata that edged our patio. I replaced the palm tree with golden Anise 'Florida Sunshine', and I am bordering the patio with roses and colorful flowering companions. The wonderful Confederate Jasmine that covers the arch leading onto the patio was a close call. All of the leaves died, and we decided to cut it far back, only to discover that the old, rusty arch was completely broken. It was being supported by the jasmine and not the other way around! So we had a new, solid iron arch made: it will outlast us! No jasmine is showing in the following photo, but be assured it is there. The old plant on one side is beginning to show signs of life, and I planted a companion jasmine on the other side.

You can see a section of the new arch here:

April really is the most beautiful month in my garden! Here are some more photos taken around the front garden:

This view looks toward the front garden from the patio. Blue ajuga and perennial verbena grow at the foot of a table we refurbished:
There are assorted azaleas blooming in the front garden:

Here are a couple of current scenes in the woodland garden. The weeping Japanese maple in the top image is 'Waterfall':
The red flower in the above right hand photo is Silene virginica, a native wildflower also called fire pink.

Several years ago I planted some native azaleas in the woodlands, and I have waited patiently for them to bloom. Rhododendron austrinum 'Florida Flame' has finally rewarded me. It has a deliciously fragrant flower. These shrubs once were called Honeysuckle, until the infamously invasive Hall's honeysuckle, Lonicera japonica, arrived from Japan and stole the name. When the afternoon sun shines through the flower, I can see it glowing from the other side of the woodland garden!

From various parts of the garden, here are more April flowers:Clockwise from top left: Variegated Solomon's Seal; Phlox divaricata, also called woodland phlox; Iberis, or Candytuft; Dianthus 'Bath's Pink'; Cornus florida, our native dogwood; Primula sieboldii; A white flowering form of Epimedium; Dicentra eximia, a dwarf Bleeding Heart that blooms all summer.

Flowers can't take all the compliments! I always admire lovely leaves, so I will end with a small sampling of April foliage:Clockwise from top left: Juniper 'Saybrook Gold'; Caryopteris 'Sunshine Blue'; Japanese Painted Fern; Carex 'Everillo'; Bronze Dutch Clover; Native Holly Fern.

I hope you enjoyed looking at my April garden. Have a great week!   Deb


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Reader Comments (25)

So beautiful! Always a joy to see the garden in bloom again.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterBrooke Kroeger

Oh, I DID enjoy your garden, thank you so much for sharing! I agree that April is a lovely month. I suppose patience is what I struggle with most in the garden (and life in general) - the plans I have for my gardens, I can just see it in my head - but it seems I am so far away! So I come to your garden to dream! :-) xo

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristi {Jealous Hands}

So much color and beauty! I love your Florida Flame azalea. IMO it's not possible to have too many Florida azaleas.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered Commentersweetbay

Always love looking at your garden. Your new arch is really
nice. Id like to get one some day.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKim

Stunning photos of a beautiful garden, Deb! I was particularly taken with the columbine at the top of the post. The new arch frames your view in a wonderful way, too. Best wishes for an enjoyable week in your garden!

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKris P

Really enjoyed looking at photos of your garden Debs! Twenty five years, wow, and the garden is looking spectacular! My favourite photo is the one with the birdhouse whose colour pops out but compliments the surrounding foliage.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterMark and Gaz

Looking fantastic, Deb!

I've added one of your favorites - Japanese Painted Fern - to the garden this year.

And I've come to renewed appreciation of both Ajuga (A. genevensis, in my case) and Columbine, which as you say, has merrily self-seeded here and there in beautiful ways!

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAaron Dalton

Iv'e learned it doesn't pay to get too attached to plants, the tornado must have been devastating and the extremely cold winter you have just had must have been a trial. Gorgeous shots of your beautiful garden in spring, have a great week.

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterKaren

Your garden is the place to be in April! Absolutely stunning! I'd say you've done amazing things with your little piece of heaven. That orange Azalea ... wow! We have cold-hardy Azaleas here, but they just don't compare with the ones I see when I travel to the south! Gorgeous!

April 21, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPlantPostings

You have so much lovely colour in your garden, every view is so beautiful. I like your new archway, it will be wonderful when your jasmine starts to grow, then it will frame the view beautifully.

April 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterPauline

Oh, I think you may be right your garden is at its most beautiful in April! Until May. How rewarding to watch your garden grow. I am hoping for that myself and have vowed not to move because I want to see my garden age. I may take a few southern sabbaticals however - especially after this Winter! I LOVE LOVE LOVE the arch and I'm rooting for your Jasmine to make a big comeback. I have planted trumpet vine on my rustic arbor hoping that in time the vine will become the arbor as I know the arbor will eventually decay.

Deb, your garden is outstanding. Well planned and taken care of. I would like to enlist more sping blooms in my own garden, as most of my natives bloom in summer. Love the Acers especially.

April 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterGreggo

I always enjoy looking at your garden Deb. It is one of my favorites in garden blogging. I did not realize that Florida Flame was once called Honeysuckle. That is interesting that a non-native plant would take over the name like that. I love Azalea and always love visiting further south to see them at this time of year. We have them here, but they often get diseased and have a short life.

April 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDonna

Your April garden looks lovely and with such great colours. Loved the different azaleas, do you know the name of the first one, with dark pink and white flowers? I am looking for another small evergreen Azalea for my garden, to go next to my Geisha Purple :-) And I have also got my eyes up for Japanese painted fern, haven’t found a good spot for it yet in my garden but when I do I really want a couple!
Thanks for showing us your garden and for the lovely photos.

April 22, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterHelene

I have gardened in the same place for thirty years so like you I have an evolved sense of gardening. We had a very hard winter and are not finished pulling out all the dead shrubs, there aree between ten and fifteen. It makes me sad but I figure they didn't belong there anyway. Camellias were especially hard hit. Opportunities for new plants or a less cluttered look.

Hi everybody! Thanks to all of you who read my blog and take time to comment. I appreciate each comment very much! Donna, the reason Lonicera japonica was called 'Honeysuckle' in the first place was because it smelled like our native! Helene, that azalea is 'George Lindley Tabor', but it is not small. It gets 5-6 feet tall and wide! There is a small evergreen azalea called 'Gumbo pink' that has lovely leaves and a similar, though smaller bloom. Best wishes to you all, Deb

April 22, 2014 | Registered CommenterDeborah Elliott

I would be hard pressed to say there was a best month for your garden Deb! I love it everytime you take us for a walk around. It must be wonderful to stay in the same place for so long, my garden is still very new, but this year it is starting to mature as I imagined when I planted it.

April 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterChristina

Wow...your garden is gorgeous in April. I love all the colors and the contrasts. The forest garden is so serene and lovely. Enjoy your April of beauty.

April 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterThe Sage Butterfly

You have once again whetted my appetite for spring flowering friends. I can hardly wait to see them come up from the ground. Your garden is simply breathtaking.


April 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJen @ Muddy Boot Dreams

Hi Deb, Can you believe that it is still miserably cold and brown here? It was such a treat to scroll down through the pictures of your April garden. I am sure that here have been many changes in your twenty-five years of gardening on this property. The azaleas are simply stunning. Everything looks so pretty and green! And the new arch looks like it will definitely stand the test of time.

April 23, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterJennifer

I always enjoy to look at your garden, Deb! They say it takes 10 years for a garden to show its beauty. What to say about 25! You are so right saying that a death of a plant leads to new opportunities. I lost a part of my garden's shady area last year. It was so bad, and I felt horrible. Now, I see that many plants benefited from that, I made some changes and feel better now.
Thank you for the pictures and for your thoughts!

April 24, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterTatyana

so much beauty to explore and enjoy. Japanese painted fern I do like!

April 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterDiana Studer

Isn't it amazing how many flowers there are so early in the garden season? I'm glad to know that you aren't the only one who half way enjoyed the way that winter is helping us tweak our gardens. I've had a lot of casualties, but it's been fun to figure out what to take it's place, and how to make it better. But I'm not real happy about the brand new Forest Pansy redbud that is not showing any signs of life! I lost my beloved FP redbud last summer during a storm, and now the replacement seems to have kicked the bucket. It's still under warranty, but still, this will be my first spring without redbud blooms.

April 25, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterRobinL

I so enjoyed the re-awakening of your garden Deb! You have such lovely plants. We too have been in our house for more than 25 years and we also had a clean palette. Yours has matured and aged beautifully. Love those azaleas and woodland blooms this time of year!

April 26, 2014 | Unregistered CommenterAstrid

I would love to have a garden like yours in April...mine is almost bare due to the cold here...

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