End of Month View – April 2015


It’s amazing how much growth there has been in the last month.  The temperatures in April have been higher than normal and there has been little, if any, rain.  There is still a risk of frost so I’m not being fooled into putting tender plants out too early.  Whilst everything is looking lush the ground has developed a bit of a dry crust and I worry that if it is dry this early in the year how will the garden cope if we have a dry summer.  Time will tell.

Above is the main woodland border which has exploded since last month.  I am really pleased with it especially as in the past it hasn’t quite lived up to the image in my mind.  It just shows that you need to be patient and wait to give plants a chance to bulk up and establish.  The highlights in the next month will be Solomon Seal (Polygonatum xhybridum) and False Solomon Seal (Maianthemum racemosum) whose scent I love.  A couple of years ago the Solomon Seal was decimated by Solomon Sawfly and I was pleased last year when the plants reappeared and passed through the year trouble-free.  They have started to spread around the border so fingers crossed this year the horrid sawfly caterpillars won’t return.


The less inspiring end of the woodland border.  This is the area which was previously occupied by the Azalea which died.  I have added a couple of shrubs, some foxgloves, some anemones and I am adding plants as the year progresses to try to create a longer season of interest.


The border alongside the gravel steps is beginning to fill out.  I have been adding some Dianthus right up against the step edges in the hope that they will eventually spread and soften the side of the steps.  The first group of pots are outside the shed and I think there is scope for something bigger and bolder there although the flat space is quite narrow – something to think about.  I have also started to put out pots of things running down the steps, at the moment they are pots of bulbs going over but in the summer the pelargoniums will live here.


The view from the bottom path looking back towards the shed.  The camassias are now flowering and I had forgotten how many there are in the Big Border, I suspect they are starting to bulk up.  I particularly like the way they work with the Euphorbia and the Calamagrostis ‘Overdam’. I am pleased with the border so far this year as the asters are filling out and the aquilegias I added for an early summer interest seem to be doing all right.


Finally the view along the middle path which shows that the grass really needs a cut although the daisies are popular with the bees.  It also demonstrates that we are poor at cutting grass which adds to the argument for removing the front lawn.  The border to the right of the path is much fuller than last year and it feels better this year since I replanted it.

So there is my garden at the end of April.  Any one can join in with the End of Month meme and you can use it as you wish, focussing on one year or giving us a tour – whatever works for you.  Many people have found it helpful as they find it makes them look at their garden more critically.  If you would like to join in all I ask is that you link to this post in your post and leave a link to your post in the comment box below so we can all find you and come for a nose.

52 Comments Add yours

  1. Yvone Ryan says:

    Great growth!! Spring has Sprung!

  2. jenhumm116 says:

    As ever Helen, so much to see! That Woodland border is such a fabulous array of shapes and textures, and your Camassias are lovely.
    Here’s mine, like you plenty of change from March –

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jen
      Glad you like the woodland garden, I am so pleased with it this year. Thanks for joining in again this month.

  3. Christine says:

    Hi there! Very much enjoy reading about your garden and it’s good to see that all your hard work in the back is starting to show good results. You write frequently about your dissatisfaction with the front garden and I wondered if you had thought about taking up another of Beth Chatto’s ideas. She has created a gravel garden on the site of the old car park. It is beautiful and needs hardly any work. We went and visited last year to ‘borrow’ some of her planting ideas for our front garden. She wrote a book about how she went about transforming a dry (clay I think) compacted site into something truly stunning. Worth a consideration?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Christine.
      Funny you should mention Beth Chatto as I have been looking at her web site this week. I like the idea of her gravel garden but I think I might go for something more naturalistic

  4. rusty duck says:

    Looking good Helen. I love the impact the woodland border makes as a backdrop to the walk up the grass path. The camassias do look good with the euphorbia and make me think I should move mine, which wave about in the air without sufficient bulk in the surrounding planting to anchor them.
    Here’s my link: http://www.rustyduck.net/2015/04/30/teetering-on-the-brink/

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Jessica
      I think I have got lucky with the camassias, they are a favourite bulb. They have been in the border from the start but I think the addition of the euphorbia and grasses have inadvertently really helped.

  5. Pauline says:

    Your woodland border is looking very good indeed, it has certainly grown! Each year my Solomon’s Seal get attacked by the sawfly, but each year come back as strong as ever, so there is no need to worry. My Camassias are lost where they are, yours look good with shorter plants around them, I think I must move mine!
    My link is – http://leadupthegardenpath.com

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Pauline
      Don’t forget my camassias are on a slope as well which means they show up quite well. I hate the sawfly caterpillars made me feel quite ill as there were so many

  6. Looking good – a charming garden.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Thanks Rachel

  7. Robert Surface says:

    Regarding the last photograph, what is the name of the green plant in the center of the back wall?

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Robert
      I think the plant you are referring to is a Fatsia japonica. They do well in my garden, they like the clay soil and a little shade

  8. Your woodland is really coming along nicely. That Euphorbia just makes that whole area sing. That is one of those plants that I can only admire from afar and dream of growing. My garden is coming along slowly. Lots is happening — just not much to see yet in the area that I am concentrating on for these posts.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Linda
      I do like euphorbias they are becoming more and more my favourites. Why can’t you grow them, I thought they were fairly easy

  9. Juliet says:

    Our garden has a dry crust too, even though we’ve had some heavy rain over the last couple of nights. I have even had to water some pots – not something I’d normally expect to do in April!

    I love the views towards your shed – I know it must be a pain gardening on such a steep slope, but the layered look it gives your garden really adds interest.

    Here is my End of Month View: http://agardenfullofdodos.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/end-of-month-view-april.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Juliet
      We have had some rain since I wrote the blog post but the ground is still quite dry. I don’t see my garden as that steep but that’s because my previous garden was steeper!! Living here there are lots of gardens which are much ,ugh steeper than mine

  10. Anna says:

    Oh your woodland border is looking fabulous Helen. I can see that your ‘Solomon’s Seal’ is on the march. Mine has come into flower already which seems early but then maybe not. I first came across ‘False Solomon Seal’ just before or after Malvern at Hampton Castle. The scent caught my attention and I was so pleased at the time to find a gardener who identified the plant 🙂 I think that I could do with some white camassias for the gabion border. Thanks as always for hosting. My EOMV post is here : http://greentapestry.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/end-of-month-view-april-2015.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Anna
      White Camassias, now there is an idea. I think I have some creamy white ones which are late to flower but I do like that idea, will ponder further

  11. Diana Studer says:

    each time I enjoy walking up the steps to your garden shed.
    The builders are finished and now we can ‘begin at the beginning’

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Diana
      How exciting, a new project and now you can get on with all the planting you have been thinking about

  12. Alison says:

    Your garden is looking wonderfully lush. We too need some rain, I could also do with a little less frost.

    My EoMR is here: http://www.blackberrygarden.co.uk/2015/04/end-of-month-review-april-2015.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Alison
      Luckily so far we haven’t had much frost which is a blessing. Thanks for joining in again.

  13. Brian Skeys says:

    The garden is filling out nicely Helen, the path to the newly painted shed (which looks v/good) and bench has come together particularly well. I planted Camassia for the first time last Autumn, they are only about 4″ high, which variety are yours?
    This is the link to my EOMV: http://ourgarden19.blogspot.co.uk/2015/04/end-of-month-view-april.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Brian
      I’m not sure but I think it is very likely that they came fromAvon Bulbs a few years back, probably a liechtenii variety which are taller than quamash

  14. Helen your garden is looking so good, it is very full now, nice contrasting foliage, mine is more sparse, here is my link for April, thanks for hosting, Frances

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Frances
      But I am sure I have milder weather than you so I am sure your garden will soon fill out

  15. Sarah says:

    My first comment on your blog Helen, even though I’ve been reading your weblog for years and have so enjoyed seeing your garden develop. I’ve just posted my first EOMV at https:/homeslip.wordpress.com but haven’t been able to link to yours from my post. It is lovely, finally, to be joining in, but I feel like such a beginner and have only made it this far through much trial and error.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Sarah
      Well done for taking the plunge and welcome

  16. bushbernie says:

    Your garden is looking so good! Love, love the main woodland border. Patience does pay off! It’s just so frustrating in the meantime. I would love to wander along the paths and up those steps. So lovely.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi BB
      Yes patience does pay off although I am not always naturally patient, the blog title is more aspirational

  17. Helene says:

    Lovely to see your April garden, looking lush and green and filling in nicely. I love those steps up to your shed, lucky you who can grow dianthus, they really don’t like my garden – perhaps in my next garden?
    Here is my last ever EOMV post from my current garden:

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Helene
      Thank you, I like my steps too and I wonder why it is only recently that I have started to show them on the blog. thank you for joining in again

  18. Amy says:

    Your borders are looking so lovely with springtime! The Camassia really makes a wonderful effect with the Euphorbia – love the textures!
    I’ve finally gotten my post up for this month – rather the opposite end of the spectrum from all your refreshing woodlanders! – at http://smallsunnygarden.blogspot.com/2015/04/the-dry-corner-in-april.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      hi Amy
      Thanks, the textures are more by luck than design but I am very pleased

  19. Chloris says:

    As always, I enjoyed the views of your garden. What a great meme this is. I know that in the past I have just show close-ups of plants which are looking good, but it is much more interesting to get an idea of the layout of peoples’ gardens . Your woodland border is looking great and how smart your shed looks. You have inspired me to paint my shabby, white summerhouse.
    I have joined in this month, but a day late.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      hi Chloris
      It doesn’t matter if you are late. Looking forward to seeing your revamped summer house

  20. Julieanne says:

    April, even a dry one, does bring on considerable growth and your garden is looking very lush. You are right about needing to give time to allow the plants to bulk up and do their thing. It’s just so hard to be patient, but clearly worth it, looking at your woodland border.

    I’m impressed you have some camassias out already. The blue looks gorgeous in the border. The daisies in the grass look good. I’m tempted to say leave them there; I think it adds to the overall look.

    Here is my EOMV for April: http://www.gwenfarsgarden.info/2015/05/end-of-month-view-april-2015.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi JUlieanne
      The daisies will probably stay as we are too busy to cut the grass! I love camassias, I’m thinking of adding some alliums to follow on from them next year

  21. Angie says:

    Everything is looking great this year. A credit to the amount of thought and deliberation on where you put your plants Helen. Camassia is a plant I’ve been hankering after for a while now, since seeing it on so many blogs this time last year. Yours have just persuaded me to give them a go.
    Thanks again for hosting. Here’s my link.


    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Angie
      Give Camassias a go they are as easy as alliums. Mine are camassia leichtilnii which are the taller ones.

  22. Anca Tîrcă says:

    Thanks for taking your time to write about your garden, Helen! Lovely view!
    This is mine:http://gradinameasialtefermecatorii.blogspot.ro/2015/04/end-of-month-view-april.html

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Anca
      Welcome and thanks for joining in

  23. Christina says:

    Dear Helen, I think your garden looked absolutely fantastic by the end of last month! I love the first and the last photo where everything is so lush and green and there is hardly any open soil to see. On my travels to Great Britain it always stood out to me how densely the gardens were planted. I couldn’t help wondering how on earth the gardeners in Britain know so well how wide and tall the plants are getting. In my garden I am often wrong with my judgement and the plant labels are often way off in terms of the final size of a plant as well.

    I am a day too late, but I would still like to join your meme and add my blog link:


    Thanks for hosting this wonderful meme, it is so much fun to participate.

    Warm regards,

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Christina
      I would love to claim something clever about lush planting but in my case I think it’s more a case of trying to push too many plants in one space!
      Thanks for joining in with meme

  24. Alison says:

    I’m running way behind this month. My EoMV post is here: http://bonneylassie.blogspot.com/2015/05/end-of-month-view-april-2015.html

    Given that I live where Camassias are a native, I wish I liked them more. They do look good in a swath when flowering, but they flower so quickly, and are over and done with too soon. I’ve been looking and looking for False Solomon’s Seal, but haven’t seen it at any of the plant sales yet this year. I didn’t realize it had a scent.

    1. Helen Johnstone says:

      Hi Alison
      It is funny how we are dismissive of plants that we see a lot of, I can’t be bothered with bluebells in the garden as I don’t like the foliage but camassias are just as bad!!

  25. Linnae says:

    Hi Helen,
    I’m joining in for the first time this month. I like taking stock every couple of weeks, so this meme is perfect! Your garden is really coming. Spring is my favorite season, because everything is growing and changing so quickly. My blog can be found here: http://linnaesgarden.blogspot.com/2015/04/april-end-of-month-views.html
    Take care,

  26. Your woodland border and middle path are so full and lush – and what variety you have! Any idea how many varieties you may have in one of these areas or in your entire garden all together? I know there is the popular landscaping tactic (at least here in the US) of using only a couple varieties and repeating them often throughout the gardens. I guess that is why I don’t have a landscaper design my yard. I like having many different plants and more the “cottage garden” look, which you do so well and I’m still working on getting right. Here is a view of my Texas garden this month: http://rebeccastexasgarden.blogspot.com/2015/04/end-of-month-view-april-2015.html

  27. Finally joining in Helen as my post is up today. I do love this meme for learning so much from others and because it helps me take some critical views of my garden, the wildlife and the weather and how it affects my garden. I enjoyed the views of the beds especially look back up at the shed….


  28. Cathy says:

    I’m back! Your garden is looking so different since the work you did last year and seems to be really paying dividends. The steps up to the shed looked great from the start so can only look better with plants up to the edge and added pots. The path between your borders is also such an asset to view the borders and if you don’t like the grass why don’t you just have a bark path? It would be so easy to maintain. My belated EOMV is at

  29. Cathy says:

    Ha ha – obviously a post holiday mental aberration! My title was meant to refer to EOMV and not GBBD! Revised link as follows

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