April the Cruel


T.S. Eliot opined: “April is the cruelest month, breeding Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing memory and desire, stirring dull roots with spring rain.”


But while certainly occasionally cruel, April has a gentle side as well, tempering thunderstorms and late frosts with soft rains and sunny warm days that coerce you outdoors with unspoken promises.


And April smells like no other month, tempting us with a green and fertile perfume as the ground warms and wakes, pushing forth a host of tender seedlings, both welcome (hello, peas!) and unwelcome (ugh, crabgrass!).

This April has been a weather rollercoaster for us, with 70 degree (F) days followed by snow squalls followed by thunderstorms. We pretend to be shocked by the whiplashing but April in our part of the Ohio River Valley behaves this way most years, a tantrum-throwing toddler of a month.

I like April. Despite the mud (and there’s a lot!), and the inability to dress properly for the capricious weather, it’s a blessing to get out and putter around in the garden, even if I’m not doing anything more productive than pulling up a wayward dandelion here and there. It feels so good to be outside in the April air and take stock of the yard and garden. Time to see what winter damage may have occurred to the various plants and shrubs . Oh, and pick up the hundreds (possibly thousands) of branches and twigs shrugged off from our trees during the winter gales. (Which gives us an excuse to build a cheery bonfire on a chilly spring day.)


Chores for April:

  • Add compost to the garden beds
  • Start even more seeds indoors (if I can find a horizontal space left uncovered)
  • Plant peas, spinach, kale, swiss chard, radishes and other hardy treats
  • Make a tentative plan for the annual beds
  • Turn the compost bins
  • Do battle with emerging chipmunks

How’s April treating you where you live? Are you itching’ to get gardening again?


About Benjamin

Gardening, Raising a Family, Hobby Photography, Reading & Philoso-phizing...not necessarily in that order.
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24 Responses to April the Cruel

  1. Oh, brilliant! “A tantrum-throwing toddler of a month!” I love it! Pretty accurate description here in Wales this year, too. (Though the snow was all in March.) We are positively tamping to be out in the garden, but the heavy rains have left ponding that will take more dry days in a row than we get to clear, so it’s a choice between delay or getting on with things and compacting the soil by treading on it.
    More indoor planting and planning it is, then!

  2. KerryCan says:

    Cruella deApril . . . I’m actually fine with April, too–at least we can be outdoors without layers of wool! I’ve picked up a lot of the limbs and branches but the winds gusts tonight are supposed to exceed 50 miles/ hour. More limbs coming down!

  3. I love April. I put on several layers, go out to do a few cleanup chores, and usually start shedding. It’s colder and rainier this year though so I have to dodge the showers and the coat stays on. I’ve started picking up branches and making a pile to haul off, and I raked a very few leaves yesterday to unearth some pots I’d overwintered for our annual plant sale. I actually flipped my compost bin yesterday and almost gave myself a concussion. I had it half way over and because it was so frozen it snapped back and almost hit me in the head. Once I stopped laughing, I got it flipped a couple of times and I could hear it breaking up. There is something so beautiful and hopeful about April – love it and your photos. 🙂

  4. Laurie Graves says:

    In Maine, March is the cruelest month, and this year it was crueler than ever with a succession of bad snowstorms and an icy grip that has extended into April. You are much further ahead than we are. I’m a bit jealous.

    • Benjamin says:

      We certainly had lots of sympathy for you Northeasterners this year…yikes! It seemed like one storm on top of another. Glad you made it through and best of luck until your spring thaw! Cheers, Ben

      • Laurie Graves says:

        Thanks, Ben! It was a rough March. But we are cautiously optimistic that spring is at least thinking of showing her pretty face.

  5. Your flowers are beautiful and I always enjoy seeing old favorites from up North. Here in the South we are rolling into summer with temperatures hitting the 80’s.

    • Benjamin says:

      Thanks! Enjoy those warm temps! We we’re in the 70s yesterday but back down to a high of 40 today…we never know what we’re gonna get in ol’ April 🙂

  6. Helen says:

    Your April sounds a bit like hours, though the threatened snow never came 😊.

  7. Really lovely photos. I am dividing and moving Bromeliads and taking my cool season vegetables (lettuces and peas) out of the vegetable garden, preparing to put it down for the summer.

  8. Cathy says:

    Yes, itching to get out when other commitments are not holding me back! Twigs and branches are next on my list too… can’t believe so much debris has come down again this winter. 🙂

  9. Your beds will love you for that compost! Sounds like a great Spring ‘to do’ list. April for me is time to start hauling out my spent gardens and plant some winter seedlings 🙂

  10. Eliza Waters says:

    I love the image of April being a toddler. Much like you, our weather is slow to warm. Today, despite the snow flurries, I went out to spread compost on a few beds. Better than in a downpour, I suppose, I couldn’t stay inside another day.

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