Don’t let April fool you.

Spring has begun to unfurl. I am probably as guilty as others by thinking as soon a you get to see a few green leaves that winter is over it is time to cast aside the gloves and coats and start growing things. Spring, however, takes a long time to reach its full extent. The whole of April will pass with more plants waking up each week while some stay tightly in bud, clinging to the duvet with the pillow over their head not wanting to hear the alarm call.

We will still have frosts, could have snow and hopefully, as the ground is incredibly dry for the time of year, plenty of rain. It is a time to get started and get prepared but not to bolt before the starting gun. Besides there is plenty of sweeping up to keep me out of mischief!

This is just the start of the seeping up under a magnolia for 2019.

Have you been fooled by the weather into sowing things you shouldn’t have?

If you bought tomatoes, courgettes or beans from the obligatory garden centre trip you made on Mothers Day. Keep them in the greenhouse, cold frame or sunny window sill for at least a month yet.

Pelargoniums on sale this week.

We are all being encouraged to think about our impact on the planet, respecting our natural resources and reducing our use of them. Recyclable plant pots are making appearances and garden centres are even stocking a few native plants but how, in this world of awareness, can Garden Centres be environmentally friendly when they have pelargoniums in flower now? How much heat, light and transport has it taken to those to your local centre? How much of a carbon footprint does each plant have and how will it cope when you proudly take it home and stick it in the garden!

Patience, gardening requires buckets of it, but good things come to those who wait summer will soon be here, besides there is plenty to enjoy along the way as Magnolias give way to Cherries and Amelanchiers,

Daffodils look at their dreadful best as they linger on to put energy back into the bulb for next year. If they are looking unsightly and hiding other plants trying to shine, dead head and then tie the foliage up in a knot, either with a couple of the leaves or a piece of string. That way they will soon disappear beneath ever growing perennials and you won’t notice them.

As the fruit blossom is about to burst forth a word about training branches horizontally and the benefits. Espalier fruit trees not only allow you to grow fruit in a small area but the benefit of training the branches horizontally is that gravity works on the plant to stop apical dominance of the tip bud and therefore all the buds along the branch grow out and with correct pruning you can train each of these stems to have fruit spurs on them and therefore produce much more fruit than you would expect. This principle of training branches horizontally can be used on large shrub and climbing roses too. rather than pruning the stem back bend it down and tie it along then you will get many more flower producing stems off one branch.

Finally for this week, nasty of the week.

Spotted out and about this week in a pot full of Lilies, so be observant and squish any you find. They are also laying eggs on the leaves of Lilies now so make sure you destroy these too. they are little red ovals on the leaves usually on the underside but as you can see from the picture below that is not always the case. Don’t have Lilies, Fritillaria and
Cardiocrinum (giant Lily)can also be affected.

It feels very Mad Eye Moody, from the Harry Potter books, but from now on in “Constant Vigilance” and swift action are required to keep your garden healthy this year.

Apologies for being short and sweet this week. Work and play get particularly busy in April and May but I will try and at least post something each week. Happy Days in the Garden x

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