Just across the path from the ajuga (and the fence you see in the background, right, is the one the Ribes grows against) is this happy cluster of hellebores, daffodills, and the forget-me-nots that are just getting started, backed by a native fern growing where it has for decades, probably. Beyond the fern, you can see the last blooms falling off the species tulips, and beyond them the Daphne Mezereum, also coming to the end of its blooming. While the garden is greening up and filling in quickly, much tawny-coloured scruffiness still persists from winter -- to wit, the rue in the bottom left of the photo hasn't yet recovered from the ills inflicted by frost and subsequent pruning.Opposite this cluster, near the ajuga, this Osmanthus delavayi (sometimes called False Holly) is just starting to bloom, releasing a heavenly fragrance -- a very welcome greeting for visitors.On the other side of the bed above that's fronted by the hellebore-daffodil-forget-me-not cluster, these pulmonaria and primroses play their blues and yellows against each other. They haven't yet intermingled as much as I'd hoped, but I'm starting to see the results of planning and planting two years ago. The ground cover leaf between these blooms is the Geranium 'Johnson's Blue'A few years ago, in a nursery, I heard a woman complaining bitterly about the weedy invasion of forget-me-nots in her garden -- she considered them a pest on the level, it seemed, of mice or ants. I can't understand this. They do the service of filling in so many bald spots in April, provide a charming, dainty splash of colour, and are ever so easy to pull out when they're done.Just past the point in the path where ajuga and hellebores face above, and moving closer to the house, the path forks, with one fork moving away from the house toward the wee guest cottage at the back. This path borders the pond Paul built 8 or 10 years ago, just beyond which is the ever-blooming Erisymum 'Bowles Mauve' (and it really comes close to being ever-blooming -- February to November, anyway), backed by the Ribes Sanguineum, part of the native growth we built around. This Erisymum is going into its fourth year, I think, so I'll need to get another few new ones planted -- they're so floriferous that they exhaust themselves regularly, and they're sterile so don't seed themselves, sadly. Still, that combination of purple and blue-green -- worth the effort.Kitty-corner across the pond, this aubrieta is slow getting established in my yard, ironically since one sometimes hears warnings against its invasiveness. (I use to joke about such warnings, "Bring on the invasiveness," but I've learned better -- Creeping jenny taught me well!)Behind the cottage, there's a shade garden I love, where every year I hope that finally the hydrangea petiolaris will bloom. At least the muscari co-operate,
and the anemone, altho' since it's a dull day, they're staying secretive and closed. I love their ferny verdant leaves.
In front of the cottage, facing south, there's a micro-climate that's perfect for sun-and-warmth lovers, and the lavendar and rosemary do well at the feet of the roses. So well, in fact, that for several years, I've completely missed the appearance of this corydalis solida which I spotted on the weekend, growing up through the rosemary. It will only last for a while before disappearing when the sun gets too warm in another month or so. Not sure why I ever planted it here when it would have been much happier around the corner, but that's part of the gardener's learning curve. Moving towards the house again, then going to the north side as the path moves 'round to the side gate, this Viburnum Tinus 'Spring bouquet' is finally opening its blooms, further enhancing the harmonies of its red stems, blue berries, and green leaves.
In behind is the corylopsis paucifloraand this Jeffersonia diphylla (which seems to love deep shade)as does the Dicentra eximia (Bleeding heart) with its gorgeous ferny foliage.and closer to the gate various greens and yellows (hellebores, euphorbia, and primroses) are accented by the brunnera blue.
I can't get enough of the euphorbia's acid green, even though the plant has punished me with horrid blisters in past summers (I'm very careful around it now on sunny days)And here we are at the gate, where we also find this skimmia, just beginning to bloom -- it's another of those workhorse plants, in this case, a shrub -- it pays its rent many times over with evergreen leaves, red berries, and crisp white flowers. I have six or seven of them now brightening up the shade on the side.
Through the gate, still in the shade but moving towards the seaside, we pass these different varieties of epimedium, one with yellow flowers just getting goingand these paler flowers that have been blooming for a while already (perhaps because they're in a slightly sunnier spot)The garden that borders on the water faces the toughest challenges what with winds, saltspray, and poor soil, but there are a few happy moments here as well -- a single species daffodil has survived from the numerous bulbs that started out here years ago, and it blooms against a background of forget-me-not imitators, the omphaloides capadocica.
And in one of the very toughest spots, a Euphorbia characias ssp. wulfenii is uncurling its eventually showy, eventually very chartreuse bracts. Again, gotta love the glaucous foliage, a real favourite of mine.
Whew! That was a chore, if a fun one. I know I've forgotten some blooms, and I hope they won't be sulking because of the omission. Hope you enjoy and don't have too much trouble with such a photo-heavy post. Now I'm off to sign in at May Dreams Gardens and see who else is posting to the Garden Bloggers Bloom Day.