Archive

Annuals and frost tender plants

We had a hard frost the other night – the grass was crunchy underfoot and the violas were curled up in protest.  I was worried that I had seen the last of my Wisteria sinensis flowers but they seem to be hanging on in there.  I have noticed over the years that the buds are significantly …

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frost

Asparagus

Spring asparagus need fertile, well drained soil in full sun.  Buy them as 1 year old crowns.  Dig a trench 30 cm wide and 20 cm deep and make a 10 cm high ridge down the centre of it.  Place the crowns on the ridge about 30 cm apart, spread their roots and cover with …

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aspargus

Give them some air!

Please remember to open the lid of cloches on sunny days, or remove them completely, otherwise the plant will overheat.  You will need to be vigilant about replacing the cloche or its lid before the evening draws in as we can still experience some sharp frosts at this time of year, particularly if you live …

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cloche

Outside, inside . . . .

I love to sow straight outside, into the soil and the following vegetables can be sowed towards the end of this month: leeks, onions, peas, beans, parsnips, Brussel sprouts, kohl rabi, spinach, cabbage, turnips and carrots. Celeriac, calabrese, tomatoes, peppers and aubergines will need indoor sowing.  I must admit that I tend to double up …

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sow

Gooseberries, currants and even pears

This may seem early but you might want to net your fruit bushes now even though they are a long way off fruiting.  Some birds love the flower buds of fruits and can do a great deal of damage.  Last year, my espaliered pears were decimated at this stage by a flock of ravenous pigeons …

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gooseberries

Strawberries and cream anyone?

If you’re looking for a quick crop from plants put in between now and early summer, then cold-stored plants are the answer.  These are available by mail order and may look unpromising upon arrival but they will quickly put on new growth, send out flowers and should have fruit within 60 days of plantings.  Plant …

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strawberries

Feed your fruit

To get the best from fruit trees and bushes, now is a good time to clear around the plant and lay a generous mulch of compost or well-rotted manure.  This should be at least 5 cm thick at the base.  You should leave some space directly around the canes or trunk to prevent rot.  You …

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feed your fruit

Love your lavender

Later in the month as the sap begins to rise, keep looking into the centre of your lavender plants.  As soon as you see a good crop of new growth at the base, cut the plant hard back to this level.  If left to their own devices, lavenders will naturally tend to woody growth, eventually …

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lavender

Help for herbs

Encourage a fresh flush of fragrant leaves on perennial herbs such as rosemary, marjoram, sage and thyme by pruning them back before growth starts.  This treatment will also help to keep them compact and a lovely shape.  With perennials that die right back such as mint and fennel, clear away dead leaves and stems to …

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herbs

Cut back your dogwoods

These have provided wonderful colour through those long winter months but sadly it is nearly time to cut them back.  I always find this hard to do each year as they are so beautiful.  That said, it is important to do this before the sap starts to rise and before bud burst.  Some of the …

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dogwoods