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The April Gap

Many gardeners in the UK and Ireland will have come across the "June Gap", the transition between spring and summer flowering plants when the garden seems to die off for a few weeks and bees can struggle to find pollen. I took steps to fill this gap several years ago, but I've realised that I now lack flowers in April.

Not that you'd know it if you look at these photos, all taken yesterday. But it's a largish garden and these are spread out, so at a casual glance it looks empty of colour:

Left to right from top: Hebe, Berberis darwinii, Justicia rizzinii, Choisya (overview and close up), Iberis, Dianthus, Potentilla, Malus Jelly King = 'Mattfru', Rhododendron, Pulmonaria, Chaenomeles speciosa 'Geisha Girl'

I really need to get more flowering plants in, but it's been a busy 3 months. For a start I was flattened by the 'flu, NOT Covid but it still wiped me out for a couple of weeks. Then, with 2 garden clubs to cater for now, I spent a lot of time sowing seeds, pricking out, potting on and now hardening off annual flowers and vegetables ready for their respective Spring sales.

My very basic greenhouse - bought a couple of years ago when I wasn't at all sure I'd use it - was bursting at the seams so I now have a new one, double the size and full as soon as it was set up. It's great as I can fit all 3 of my citrus plants in there plus 12 shelves of seedlings / young plants, and when they're gone it will be perfect for tomatoes.

My husband also erected a sort of fence behind my decking bench. It's actually there to prevent the Arundo donax from falling all over the decking every time the wind blows, but it also gives us something to lean on if we're sitting there. And he's finally put the electricity supply in place so that I can run my little garden railway whenever I want to.

In terms of the kitchen garden, my peas are doing brilliantly and I still have healthy chard left over from last year. I've sown parsnip seed but it doesn't seem to be growing so I may need to re-think that patch, and I have cabbage seedlings in one of the raised beds. I've also got onions and celery almost ready to plant out, and I've just sown some turnip seeds which did well last year so I'm hopeful they'll grow again.


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