And after April, when May follows, And the whitethroat builds, and all the swallows! Hark, where my blossom’d pear-tree in the hedge Leans to the field and scatters on the clover Blossoms and dewdrops—at the bent spray’s edge— That ‘s the wise thrush; he sings each song twice over, Lest you should think he never could recapture The first fine careless rapture! And though the fields look rough with hoary dew, All will be gay when noontide wakes anew The buttercups, the little children’s dower —Far brighter than this gaudy melon-flower! Robert Browning, Home thoughts from abroad ,1845.
The grass is carpeted with the lovely blossom of our Great White cherry- the gales of the last two days have torn it down- but the pear blossom is still clinging to the tree. We have been away for a short holiday and in our absence dry, cold April became wet and windy May and suddenly everything is burgeoning into growth. From tidy clumps of fresh foliage with newly freshened soil between, the perennials have already attempted to fill their space and move in with the neighbours.
Forget me Not has carpeted any bare soil, bringing the sky to earth. It will need thinning very soon as it swamps the lavender and lavender hates the close attention. I like the way it covers the bare legs of the tulips, and the white lily flowered Sapporo seems to float like sails on a sea above it. It has spread along the South border too, taking on the blue mantle from the earlier flowering pulmonarias and eclipsing their continuing show. The rapid growth is a real surprise, but so welcome. It shouldn’t be as it happens every year, and yet somehow I forget how the rush happens. Everything was slow through April because of the cold frosty nights and virtual drought we experienced. While we were away, a very sharp frost scorched all the new top growth along the beech hedge, all the new shoots on the Pieris and the bronze baby leaves on my newly planted Katsura . I hope they will recover. And when we came back, things were most definitely on the move. The rain of the last few days has kick started the Spring.
There are new flowers everywhere, and the tulips have finally made a great show. I was afraid that going away at the end of April would mean the tulips would bloom in our absence but they are in their glory now. The early gregii species are finished but the main show are just about peaking now. My particular favourite is the lily flowered Sapporo, even lovelier than White Triumphator I think, but the form and colour injection of Menton, a tall willowy beast, is pleasing too. It came as part of the “Pale flowered Mix” from Sarah Raven, and I will be adding to it this autumn. I was going to post pictures of the azaleas but they can wait for the next post – they will be around for a few weeks yet. Today is Election Day and in addition to voting, I shall be weeding and weeding and weeding and buying plants to fill my containers. Have an excellent May day, however you choose to spend it.