April Tour

It’s hard to believe it is already mid April. I guess time flies when you’re having fun! Things are really growing here this spring, with ample rains and warmer than usual temps. I like to take photos to document things for my own records and thought I would share some of them.

There were two giant old-fashioned lilac bushes here when we bought this place. One was planted up against the foundation where it doesn’t get enough sun to really bloom well, but the other one blooms like crazy. We pruned it back hard last year. I’m using some of the twigs for row markers. I just love the smell of lilac, and this one really perfumes the air when it’s in bloom.

old fashioned lilac blooms (click on any photo to enlarge)

There is also a giant Kwanzan cherry tree here that was planted some time ago and we always look forward to it blooming. It’s in the background of the lilac photo. The blossoms look like puffy pink powderpuffs to me.

Kwanzan cherry blossoms

The catmint is an early bloomer in the Wild Garden. Bees love it and cats leave it alone, unlike its cousin catnip. Later on, when it’s done blooming, I’ll cut it back to keep it shaped up and get it to rebloom.

catmint blooms

The variegated hostas out front are lovely right now. We got lots of these babies! My wife has divided and given them away like crazy, but they just keep multiplying. These get a little too much sun to stand up to the heat of summer, but they do well early on.

variegated hostas

We also have lots of these small flowered, late blooming narcissus out in the front beds by the driveway. I have no idea what variety these are, but they are sweetly scented and not much bigger than paperwhite blossoms.

yellow narcissus

The cold frames are full of edible goodies about now. I number them for my own purposes so I can document what was planted in each, and so on. Cold frame #1 has overwintered spinach, lettuce, and other greens. The overwintered mizuna plants are bolting, while the spring sown ones are just now sizing up. I need to get the bolted ones out of the way, because they are hogging the sunlight.

cold frame #1 with lettuce, spinach and Asian greens

Cold frame #2 has overwintered spinach and Spotted Trout lettuce, plus new plantings of komatsuna, pak choi and yukina savoy.

cold frame #2

Cold frame #3 was assembled in February and planted with escarole, endive, lettuce and spinach. The lettuces are ready for harvesting now as needed. The spinach is just starting to get some size to it.

cold frame #3

Cold frame #4 was completed in March and immediately planted with radicchio and kohlrabi. The plants have a way to go yet. I love the radicchio in salads and grilled as a side dish. Much of the kohlrabi gets eaten raw. This year I am growing the Gigante kohlrabi in addition to the smaller purple Kolibri. The radicchios are a mix of round heading types.

cold frame #4 with radicchio and kohlrabi

The last small cold frame was bought some years ago and is being used to protect a planting of beets and chard. I’m afraid the deer would have a field day with these if they could get to them!

beets and chard planting

That’s a little peek at what’s growing here in April. I hope you enjoyed the tour!


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16 Responses to April Tour

  1. Jody says:

    I love your garden. Next fall we’ll build cold frames just like yours, simple, usable and effective. Thanks.

    • Villager says:

      Cold frames have got to be one of the best garden investments I can think of. They are so handy to have and use!

  2. You have a lot going and growing at the moment! The narcissus are charming, and I bet the bees love your bolting mizuna blooms too. I left some pak choi to bloom as my transplants to replace them aren’t ready, and the bees seem so grateful for them! I love your new header photo, a perfect image of spring 🙂

  3. GrafixMuse says:

    It looks like spring has arrived for you! Such beautiful spring bloom photos. What a difference a zone makes. Our old fashioned lilacs don’t usually bloom until around Memorial Day.

  4. Daphne Gould says:

    Everything looks beautiful. I hope to have some nice hostas soon too. My townhouse mates brought some back from Alabama from some relatives and they have been struggling. I probably should have potted them up and left them inside at nights, but I just planted them out. They had broken dormancy already and we had a lot of freezing weather. I’m sure they will survive though. They can live through anything.

    • Villager says:

      Hostas are tough for sure! And such a great plant for sharing. Ours have wound up all over the place, I’m sure. And who knows where the resident ones came from initially.

  5. Thomas says:

    It’s interesting to see how gardeners from other parts of the country are fairing this year. Our spring has been rather cold this year – so different from last.

    Your greens look amazing! Hopefully we’ll be able to start enjoying ours in a couple of weeks.

    • Villager says:

      Last year spring was warm and dry for us, this year it has been warm and wet. Only time will tell what summer will be like!

  6. Ali says:

    Ahhh, sigh…. Lilacs are my absolute favorite. I’ve planted lots, but have a few more on my list to try. We won’t see them here for a while, but thanks for the glimpse of the future!

    Oh, the cherry is also gorgeous, and the greens look scrumptious. What a difference a zone makes!

    • Villager says:

      I had several different lilacs at my old place, but we didn’t try and move them since we had these here. I do believe they do better in your area than they do around here. I don’t think they like our hot and dry summers that well. Sounds like Henbogle will be swimming in lilacs before long!

  7. Robin says:

    Boy Villager, we are supposed to be in the same zone and it looks like you are a month ahead of us! The normal time for lilacs to bloom here is around Mother’s Day.

    I am amazed at how quick your most recent cold frame plantings have filled in! Everything looks great!

  8. Mary Jo says:

    I think I’m suffering from “zone envy” after looking at your beautiful pictures! We live in Zone 5a and have been consistantly about 20 degrees cooler than normal this season with more rain than usual. (our high temp yesterday was a blustery, wet 41) Need to get some cold frames built for future gardening so I can start the growing process despite the weather. Your pics give me hope that I will eventually be able to get into the garden!

  9. Mimzy says:

    Can you state the measurements of your cold frames? and do you use old windows as the tops? and why do they have handles on the them?
    All your lettuces look wonderful!

    • Villager says:

      The cold frames are 4 feet by 4 feet square, and about 9 inches tall in front tapering to 12 inches tall in the rear. I make the top out of 2×3 lumber and cover it with a floating row cover material (like Reemay or Agribon). The handles help move the cold frames, since they are pretty heavy and sort of awkward to hold on to.

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