The Manor House Garden, Church Road, Stevington, Nr Bedford MK43 7QB
Tel. 01234 822064
Open Tuesday 24 April 1-5pm
Groups by appointment
Spring is heralded by banks of primroses...they are one of my favourite flowers, simple but so pretty. I chrystallize them for cakes along with pink, white and purple violet flowers. Elsewhere the snakeshead fritillary appears en masse beneath the white stemmed birches, self seeding with a generosity which is as surpising as it is welcome; each flower so delicately poised with its intricate markings. They are one of the stars of the April garden.
Down below the apple trees there is a sea of blue anemone blanda mixed from time to time with various shades of lilac and blue hyacinths. Then in late April come the blue cammassias, underpinning the orchard trees flowering at the same time as the apples. Another favourite are the white anemones which make a welcome show in the formal garden and besides primroses in the cottage borders. A variety of daffodils offer displays in the containers and borders. Narcissus 'Pipit' is one of the best with its lemon petals streaked with white. It is multiheaded and scented and naturalises extremely well.
Early clematis such as Blue Eclipse (seen to the left) add zing to the scene, along with blossoms and spring herbaceous plants. Scented perennial honesty Lunaria rediviva, white dicentra and Solomon Seal are all emerging. Meanwhile ferns will have to wait a while longer so will the carpets of white sweet woodruff. Soon the cherry blossom will bloom. Bring on the sunshine!
Tree peonies are a favourite flower of Simon's and a special visit to Phedar Nursery in Stockport has resulted in some wonderful specimens. More recently we have created an Itoh intersectional peony border next door. And now even more intersectional have now been planted, their flowers are wonderful but I also enjoy their strong burgundy shoots and leaves at this time.
As usual many containers add extra colour to the spring garden with several different shades of blue grape hyacinths including Muscari latifolium and Valerie Finnis playing their part amidst pretty pink bellis daisies and violas.
Later in the month vibrant tulips and late flowering daffodils are a huge bonus whether in the pots or in the borders.