Stop and pause, April back garden

Sometimes you just have to stop and pause. Particularly when the tulips are putting on a display like this. Unlike a lot of my other bulbs which are growing in pots, these are planted into the soil. They reappear every year receiving only a couple of liquid feeds and a handful of chicken manure, which will carry them nicely through. An advantage of the cooler weather is that the flowers are slow to go over, meaning we can enjoy this display for longer.

As for plants in pots, the container display is looking well, with the bulbs I planted late last autumn just coming in to their own, which is no harm as it's too early for summer colour and a good portion of my normal spring bulb colour has finished. 

One plant I am particularly pleased with is the Magnolia stellata. This is my third one of these and it has successfully made it through its third winter, which is cause for celebration. They dislike cold winds, and are not too tolerant of lime soils, which puts them at a double disadvantage. My solution to this has been to grow this one in a container in lime free John Innes soil based compost, and to ensure it is placed in a reasonably sheltered site in the garden. It is due to be potted on again or planted this year, and I'm still undecided regarding which course of action I will take, so your thoughts on this are very welcome.

In other news, I've been spending a bit of time cleaning up various parts of the garden in anticipation of the warm weather to come, outdoor bbq's, etc. 

You can see from these couple of pictures things are very green in this area. I have considered planting some late spring colour herbaceous, such as the flag Iris' or Camissia's, however I haven't acted on this as my default is to enjoy my late container grown Tulips and colour in other areas while I wait for the the next wave of colour to appear, in the form of Geraniums, Persicaria and Alchemilla. On the subject of other areas, I am considering acquiring some bluebells for a woodland display in a different part of the garden. A little bit of work to convert a neglected area to a feature.

In the meantime, I'll keep this back garden area neat, while putting the emphasis on developing the potager garden, hardening off the March sown seedlings and plants while continuing to sow and grow more this month. I have to say, I continue to enjoy the copper craft sunflower made for me as a present by my dad last autumn. Isn't it a fine piece of work, and weathering well too. I'd really like a couple more, at slightly lower heights, to become a focal feature in their own right. I'll see if he's motivated to do this ... Lol 
Anyway, won't be long before this cold snap passes and summer bedding and flowers will be the topics of discussion. 
In the meantime, happy gardening.