A Gorgeous April in 2023
We've had an exceptionally lengthy "Spring" in Durham this year. The winter was incredibly mild with just a few nights punctuated with below freezing temperatures. This seems to have encouraged early emerging butterflies. Monarchs in April? Fortunately, we had some food for this butterfly, the willow amsonia (tabernaemontana) from Aunt Ann. Most years I have very few pollinators using these native bushes. In 2023 both the bees and the occasional butterfly were happy to find these plants.
I skipped this photo on my March blog post. Here's a tiger swallowtail feeding on the azaleas on March 24th.
April is synonymous with irises here. We had a bumper crop of Beverly Sills irises. They open after our blue heirloom irises in mid-April.
I was able to return a favor this year when a former neighbor, Matt, requested this heirloom iris for his family's new garden on our listserv. He described it as light purple with a grape scent that grows throughout the Northgate Park neighborhood. I received some of these beauties from a neighbor, Ludie, many years ago. I picked up curb alert irises from Matt's yard a few years back. Its nice to have these exchanges. Keep spreading the beauty! Ian's daughter Nichola has some of our Beverly Sills irises at her new home in Mebane.
Earlier we even had overlap with the Yellow Cheerfulness daffodils and the irises. What a great combination!
The columbines and hellebores had an extended bloom time this year. This was taken on March 27th. The columbines continued into April.
Even the epimediums sent up a few new blossoms in this month.
The full moon in early April looking eastwards.
We have a new plant addition in the far back, a George Lindley Taber azalea. It's placed between the Moonshadow and Kanjiro camellias. Kanjiro was a gift from a wonderful gardener and friend, Cheryl. I look forward to having this serene white each Spring. It has tinges of pink, too.
The Eleanor Taber hawthornes (pink flowered shrubs) have been great hedges for us, so I have high hopes for the newest Tabor in our garden. The Yuletide camellia in the background has suffered the last few weeks. We had a couple of hard freezes after the lengthly mild temperatures. I think this hurt the new growth.
Here's a shout out to my neighbor Tom for providing such a great view. I was taking a photo of my very small orchid colored azalea. It is new to our garden. Maybe, its three years old. Later when I viewed the photo I saw the real star here, the bright pink azaleas across the stree.
Tom also provided this visitor a clover treat. This is an Arabian that Tom's friend brought over in her horse trailer. You never know what you will see in our neighborhood. Usually, its good.
Speaking of additions. Let me introduce a new character to the garden, Mother Earth aka Mrs. Patmore from Downton Abbey. Ian realized she looks just like Mrs. Patmore. Reba and Roses, you have alot to answer for. That nursery influenced my love of garden whimsy. I'm more controlled in the front yard. :) The figure is from Carruth Studio. She is near the fairy garden cottage. I'll take a picture later in the season of this corner. I need to add some plants. Its pretty bare at the moment.
The plants in the backyard have benefited from our cool and wet April. This area receives shelter from the old garage which offers protection from cold winds and the western late day sunlight. This was taken in mid-April.
Just a week or so later........
So far so good with the climbing William Baffin roses on the arbor. This is their third Spring here.
Another perspective of the garden. I'm standing in the stone spiral behind the old garage/workshop.
The Funshine abelias and variegated Jazz Hands, loropetalum are nice complements for one another. Ian gets credit for planting the dianthus at the feet of the William Baffin roses. They will provide the roots with some protection from our summer heat.
Maddie Rose is enjoying the Spring temperatures. She loves to lay in wait near the herb bed for the squirrels. She enjoys the chase, but doesn't harm them. The squirrels seem to understand that, too. We watch her closely during the season of baby birds and young squirrels to make sure she doesn't get carried away.
The yellow flag irises add a bright point of elegance amongst the greens surrounding the garden pond.
The hummingbirds and cat birds arrived in early April. Its hard to believe that May day is upon us (tomorrow). We've already had one brood of Carolina wrens leave the nest. We have regular sightings of parent bluebirds feeding their fledglings at the rose arbor. We had another Rose breasted grosbeak sighting at the feeder a few days ago. I haven't see one since 2017. He must stop here on migration to their summer breeding grounds. Bird maps indicated that some breed in the western part of of North Carolina.
I can hardly wait for the wondrous month of May! One more day..... It is 5:54 p.m. The sun just came out after a day of rain and storms. Tomorrow should be beautiful.