Monday, April 16, 2012

April Showers

A Pleione bloom
The weather here last weekend was rather interesting, especially on Sunday. Sun, rain, hail, then sun again and the cycle continued. I have been assured that this is rather normal for the time of the year and it's called 'April Showers'. I knew that anyway, it's just that I can't help but comment about the curious cycle happening in short successions, and also whether I should eat Ice Cream to cool down or have a cup of hot tea to warm up (I opted for the latter but had the former indoors, now that's compromise).

But as a nice start to the weekend we went to the Luton Hoo Walled Garden Plant Fair last Saturday. I wrote a blog post about Luton Hoo last year and the plant fair was being held on the grounds of the walled garden within the estate. Being only fifteen minutes drive from us we thought that we might us well pop round quickly and check out the plant fair to see what sort of plant goodies we might find there. And thankfully whilst there it was the sunny bit of the cycle which made the visit even better.

The drive into the Walled Garden, bare trees is a reminder it's only mid April veggies and herbs...
Pleione formosana 'Stromboli Fireball'
I was pleasantly surprised, although smaller than the usual plant fairs we attend it still had a good amount of participating nurseries and the turnout was reasonably good. We managed to bring home a few more plants back with us (mainly woodland exotics) but not before having some nice cake and tea first which were being served at the fair.

A good turnout!
D'Arcy and Everest
Newbury Farm Plants
Stoke Poges Nursery
The greenhouses within the Walled Garden are currently being restored. The second picture below is the 'Melon House' with an interesting tidbit of historical information...

After spending an hour or so at the fair we went back home to do some more gardening. We have started planting out some of our more recent purchases and did a bit more tidying and plant maintenance (in between the bursts of rain and hail). The main highlight though was that we were able to do a bit more to the Koi House adjacent to the new pond. The wooden cladding facing the pond had been installed on Saturday and the wood primer painted on Sunday. We got the timing right that the wood was painted and dried before the first burst or rain and hail arrived.

Ta-da!! Wood painted and the sun shines again! It's only a primer coat but at least it's white and a preview what it will look like painted with a more opaque white paint.

And just as I was about to take lots of plant photos it started to rain again, then it hailed, then heavy rain. It stopped in the evening and then heavy frost in the morning. Weather's funny eh!

Mark :-)


  1. Great photos. I can already tell where your cats are going to hang out. The one on the roof is looking out like Whoa hadn't noticed all that before. :)

    Cher Sunray Gardens

  2. Hi Cher, the one on the roof if Twinkles, shes only just started going outside, so everything is new, and she does seem to get very excited over seeing new things!

  3. Walled gardens sounds so mysterious! It looks like another great event. And tea and cake makes EVERYTHING better. I still remember popping into a church rummage sale in Avebury a number of years ago and having the most delicious pastries baked by the church members.

  4. Wow, those were expensive melons! We have been having off and on rain, also. I am really looking forward to seeing your completed garden projects. You have certainly done a lot of work! Can you see the finish line yet?

  5. You guys seem to have endless energy! It is so awesome that you have so many great plant fairs going on there in England. Something that I only can dream of. The vendors seem to put so much effort into making there displays pretty!
    By the way we have wired weather here, too. Winter like storms and rain in April, we even had a bit of hail. Sadly some of my roses look pretty beaten up, while others sailed through the weather as if nothing has happened.

  6. Hi Gerhard, it does sound mysterious doesn't it? Funny enough we didn't know about this bit of Luton Hoo until recently as it seems to be managed separately from the main estate. All the building there are in great need of restoration and they're hoping to get some funding soon.

    Debs, staggering price back then isn't it? It's amazing how simple things we take for granted now were so expensive back then. It's very rainy here at the moment and forecast is it will be rainy here for the next few days. We can see the finish line already, can't wait as almost there :)

    Christina, with so many gardening enthusiasts here we are spoilt for choice indeed when it comes to plant fairs. The weather has gone haywire here too, so rainy and windy here at the moment. A few newly formed buds were frosted away the other night but I'm hoping that will be the last frost for this spring, cross fingers! Hope your roses recover!

  7. You managed to get a lot done despite the weather. When do you hope to have the pond finished?

  8. The weather was like that here today. Planting bamboos - dashing for the greenhouse when it rained (or hailed) - and back out again when the sun shone. Exhausting.
    I used to cycle past Luton Hoo when I was a kid but I don't think then it was open at all to the public. Always fancied having a look round. Lucky you. Dave

  9. Martin, we are hoping to be pretty much complete by the end of next month (fingers crossed!!)

    David, The walled garden had been left neglected and overgrown for many years. The restoration started 10 years ago, after they took advice from Heligan, now we are aware of the walled garden we will probably visit regularly and watch the restoration take place. We went to the Open Gardens day last year for the main Capability Brown designed estate (now part of the the hotel). The walled garden is separate to the hotel.

  10. I love to go to garden fairs and this walled garden event looks very interesting and enjoyable.

  11. Thanks AB! glad you enjoyed your visit with us :)


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