April showers bring May flowers, right? Well, we're seeing plenty of April showers so far, it's only April 3rd and the weather prognostication for the next couple of weeks looks like pretty much straight rain and showers, not a lot of sunny breaks. So, let's hope all those showers DO bring May flowers. All that rain does nothing for a Camellia however. We have two of them and when you see a freshly opened flower like this, you quickly learn to overlook the sad sight the shrub makes when it's been pummeled by rain for a few days, like you see below.
The southern-most of the two shrubs may be in full bloom, but a week's worth of showers quickly interferes with the presentation: fallen blooms, browning flowers, they quickly make it a sad affair.
All that rain is doing wonders for all our lilies. This is the stand of 'Orange Beauty' in the center planter and if it weren't for the fact you'd get soaked by the rain, you could almost stand there and watch them grow. They're the first ones to pop out of the ground and close to the first ones to flower. Only the 'Orange Pixie' we have in the front blooms sooner, usually very early June.
We have expanded our collection of Hostas, as mentioned in March, and some of the excess plants are coming along just great! The ones to the left are 'Gold Standard', to the right in the green pot is 'Patriot' and at the back far right we have 'So Sweet'. You can get a fair idea of what they look like at this point, but it'll easily be another two weeks or so before they look nice enough for the plant sale.
Our collection has expanded even further since this was taken, I just haven't had time yet to pot up the 3 new ones I bought on April 9th.
It has taken a couple of years, but we now have H. 'Groundmaster' growing in three different locations and they're popping up with great vigour this year! Looks as if we'll be able to make some divisions late fall and add another variety to our plant sale assortment. At least, I think this is 'Groundmaster', but it could just as easily be 'Albo Marginata', it's kinda hard to tell at his stage of growth. 'Groundmaster' has a more tapered, ovoid shape to it's leaf than what 'Albo Marginata' has, it's much rounder in leaf shape.
For the last 7 years we have had a pile of old fence boards leaning up against the side of the house under the overhang, just below the dining room window. At various places throughout this site you have seen how these boards have been recycled and turned into useful things around our yard, rather then just burning them or tossing them into the landfill. It was used for our picnic table, the chairs that go along with it, tables for pots, planters, the shade screens in our pergola, the shelving holding our plant pots, it doesn't matter where you look in our backyard, you will have something in your line of sight that contains those famous recycled fence boards.
What you see here is not only one of the last projects these boards are being used in, they also occupy the very area these boards were stored for those many years: 2 planters - on stilts, to keep them above Keats''s leg reach. The stack of boards had become a rodent den over the winter (I suspect the rat that ate our Helleborus buds and flowers made its home here) and it had to go. Well, with the stack gone, the whole area opened up visually and looks a lot more inviting. A round planter (probably one of the ones you see in the next picture) on one of the tables I made the end of March will round out the grouping shortly and seeing as they are in an area that sees hardly any direct sunlight except for later in the evening in the summer months, they will be used for a small collection of shade tolerant perennials such as a couple of Hostas -'Brim Cup' and 'Striptease'- in the left one and some Cyclamen in the other, perhaps with a Bleeding Heart.
These are the three small tables I built on the March 26th weekend. They're all freshly stained now, so fresh as a matter of fact that you can see the rain water still beading up on them. One of these will end up with the two planters above.
The whole arrangement of these 3, the two planters and the table with pot, will very nicely break up the relatively bland looking north side of the house with some colour and a variety of shapes and sizes.
Much to the chagrin of the resident canines, this part of the backyard has been off-limits to our furry friends for the better part of a month in an effort to regrow the grass in our stone 'river'. It's starting to look nice again, but it'll likely be another month anyways before they'll be allowed access again. Seeing this little patch green is much nicer than the burnt-yellow look..........
It's only the middle of the month and the page is getting too long already. That can only mean one thing: put the second half of the month on another page to make sure it doesn't take too long for those poor folks on a dial-up connection to download these pages. Without further ado, here's where you go the April 2005 page 2!