You know how children at a certain age suddenly seem to put on height overnight? Turn your back a moment and the next thing you know they're as tall as you are!
Well, that's what gardens are like at this time of year. It's what I call the 'Whoomph' stage. That spring sunshine is getting ever stronger, the days longer, we've had some rain to give it a boost, and now plants have put their foot on the gas.
Here's two photos of my garden taken from the same position in my bedroom, first on 2 April, and then on 1 May:
Gone the bright red splash of the tulips and in their place the froth of the white Cow Parsley among the burgeoning verdancy.
At the other end of the garden, the haymeadow is going through the same spurt, with mounds of leaves of plants such as Common Knapweed and Field Scabious inflating daily:
There are three main things that are happening to contribute to this acceleration.
1) Trees are coming into full leaf. Some were at leaf burst stage several weeks ago, but those leaves take time to expand and fill the gaps. Indeed, for some trees such as my Walnut, it isn't until May that they show any sign of life. But now the canopy is rapidly closing.
2) Next, the herebaceous perennial plants get a rapid injection of growth from their rootstock. They are super prepared to really swing into action from their hidden network underground that has lain dormant over the winter.
And 3), it is now that the annual plants really get going, their seeds germinating like crazy. Any bare ground will soon start to get a speckling from a million seeds that have hidden unnoticed in the soil since last autumn.
I've sown some new areas of both haymeadow and of annual poppyfield mixes this spring (remember there are HUGE differences between the two in how they look and how they are managed - I go into the differences in more detail here).
Looking down at the ground, I find myself willing them to germinate. Here they are in the new haymeadow area, sown on 14 April so only just over two week in. At first they are just the tiniest little freckles of green, looking so vulnerable, but I fully expect them to soon go 'whoomph' with the rest of the garden.
I'll give them a quick water whenever we get a few days of dry weather, just so they don't get scorched, but for the most part they'll be fine without any help. I hope you've had chance to sow an area this spring, either to create a grassy meadow or to create a colourful poppyfield effect of annual. Imagine what it would take to grow all these plants in pots one by one - it would be impossible! And it's not too late to do so if you haven't yet. I recommend getting them in by mid May if possible.
You may notice in the bottom right hand corner of the photo above I've got an unwelcome intruder. It is Creeping Thistle, which will just run rampant if I allow it, so that is my other little task in the newly sown areas, just to tweak out anything that wasn't meant to be there.
There's not a sign of life yet in the poppyfield area (below), but that's the beauty of the gardening experience - so much joy in the present, so much anticipation for a brighter future.
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