Saturday, April 18, 2009

Apple blossom time

I dip into my copy of Karel Capek's The Gardener's Year for my amusement rather than for any gardening advice. I love his quirky drawings and eccentric views on gardens and gardeners. Click on the picture below for an example of his style.

Having spent most of yesterday morning visiting garden centres and spending far too much on bedding plants and shrubs, I recognised the accuracy of this observation in the chapter entitled The Gardener's April:

Apart from germination, April is also the month for planting. With enthusiasm, yes, with wild enthusiasm and impatience, you have ordered seedlings from the nurseryman without which you could not go on living; you have promised all your gardening friends that you will come to them for cuttings; never, I say, do you have enough with what you have already got. And so, one day, some hundred and seventy seedlings congregate at your house which need to be planted; at that moment, you look round your little garden and find with overwhelming certainty that you have nowhere to put them.
This corner of the garden was looking very bare when I ordered the geranium and fuschia seedlings a few weeks ago. Now the bluebells are springing up everywhere and the lilac is about to flower so I don't know where I will put them. As well as the seedlings, I have 4 new shrubs, 7 pots of herbs and 10 trays of bedding plants, and several (well, perhaps, rather a lot of) packets of seeds so perhaps the cuttings from generous friends should be declined.
The warm, sunny Easter weather has transformed the garden and for once I have managed to get a picture of the apple blossom. The forsythia and magnolia are past their best but I'm delighted to have this record of my little apple tree, all that remains of what was once a large orchard.

I had planned to download the Andrews Sisters singing Apple Blossom Time but I remembered this Pat Boone gem from 1957, the year I started at my convent high school. In those pre-Beatles and Rolling Stones days, my sister and I spent our pocket-money on trips to the cinema to watch Pat Boone, Howard Keele and Gordon McCrae. Nan, at least, will enjoy this:


  1. Oh my goodness, we think alike! Check this out (and note the date!!):

  2. That post was long before I had discovered your blog, Nan. I can see why we are such regular visitors. Wouldn't it be lovely to be able to chat over the fence?

  3. Wow .. such a smooth, mellow voice, and such perfect control! I'd heard him on the radio, but never seen him sing. Effortless, huh?

    I'm with you on the gardening thing too. Twice a year I find myself surrounded with far too many very expensive plants and nowhere to plant them. LOL!

  4. Welcome, Jay. Pat Boone is now about 72 years old but still doing singing tours. I hope his voice is still as smooth as it was 50 years ago.

    I hope you haven't overspent as much as I have on the plants!

  5. The R.U.R. guy? Your book notes continue to surprise me.

    I get 3 springs this year: One in Hawaii (not very dramatic), then one in Florida (if Housman had seen the redbud in bloom, he'd have thought less of the cherry) and finally one in New York City, which has quite a lot of flowering trees, including magnolias and plums where I was.

    The downside was that when I got back home, most of the stuff I had planted in March had died of the drouth. Fortunately, where I live, you get do-overs.

  6. Harry, I'm glad I can still spring a few surprises. I read very widely and just wish that there were more hours in the day or fewer duties, so that I could get through more.

    Lucky you, to have 3 springs - the best season, I think. I hope your garden recovers. We rarely suffer from a lack of rain here, in fact Devon is the wettest county in England.

  7. April Love - wonderful. I knew every word too!
    Yes, I still haven't planted delphiniums and lupins I bought three weeks ago. Nowhere to put them at the moment.

  8. Susie, we grew lots of lupins when we lived in Hampshire but they don't like my Devon garden. I've had quite a sad week in the garden, discovering that a lot of shrubs and perennials haven't survived the unusual cold weather we had early in the year. I am actually going to buy more, having worried that I would have no space for my last lot of purchases.


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