Hello ladies and gents, welcome back! After a long, but well-deserved break, we are now ready for spring.
Fresh ideas, old reliable tips and a big bunch of plants still waiting to be mentioned and appreciated. If only the temperatures weren’t jumping up and down like a yo-yo and, I can not believe I am going to say this, but a drop or two of rain would grace our gardens with its presence. This must be the first time in a very long while, but we have been watering plants in the centre this week! End of Irish February! This made me think about ways to save up more of the rainwater when it is finally here. Along with proper water butts we are going to use any old buckets or tubs and put them in different places at the back of the garden. This way we can have an extra watering supply, plus the wildlife can also use it up 🙂
Getting ready for spring is something most of us will find invigorating and exciting. I for one can’t wait now to get going with the ideas for this season. The pond will definitely be happening along with a proper pergola and a rose bed. A fence covered with sweet peas is also on the agenda. And talking about the sweet peas, how do you approach the subject? I think a mixture of everlasting and an annual variety might just work the trick. Last year I planted seedlings around my veg patch, however, I didn’t pinch them in time and only got scraggly bits at the end. This year I got myself a few different varieties in packets, all highly scented, apart of course from the everlasting lot.
I am starting them in trays myself and will transfer them in weeks to come, weather permitting. If you want to give it a go and are looking for a lovely scented lot, pop into the centre. Noel Sutton, Fragrant Tide or the Sublime Scent are just a few of the varieties available. And to keep up with the seedling theme, a lot of customers are already asking for veg plants, especially tomatoes! I say it is way too early yet, and too cold, but I thought to ask the gentleman who grows them for us each year. And so guys, straight from the source: it is still too cold to be rushing tomatoes. Cabbage and lettuce will be showing now in the next two weeks or so. But the more tender veg has to wait until maybe the end of March.
Isn’t it a stunning view now, looking at all the ditches, lawns and sides of roads around the place? All covered in daffodils and other spring flowers smiling happily to the passers-by. And even though it is only the end of February, and spring bulbs are just about out, now is the time to plan for the summer. Pretty soon all the spring joy will be finished, leaving a gap to be filled. Now is the best time to make a trip, either to us, or any other garden centre, and have a good look at what’s on offer. Dahlias are always popular, they also perform extremely well.
Gladiolas and begonias are strong favourites too. Maybe a lily or two would be a tempting option. Just remember, lilies are not friendly towards your canine companions and may cause great damage. Whichever way you decide to sway, now is the best time to get your first choice for picking your summer flowering bulbs.
All the above are jobs to be looked at during the first few weeks of spring. Here are a few more that should be completed before the crazy and busy time of growing, planting, splitting, cutting, feeding and watering sets in:
* Greenhouses and tunnels should now definitely be ready for this season’s growth. If, like me, you have left bits and bobs not finished, here is your chance. Next month it will be all stops go!
* Last call on pruning roses. Don’t be afraid of doing damage. As long as the leaves aren’t fully formed you can still chop away. Add manure around the base of each plant if you haven’t yet done so.
* Seems like everybody is starting on cutting grass. If it really needs to be done, try using one of the longer settings on your mower. Remember that cutting grass too low can be an invitation for moss.
* Stop and admire your Cherry Blossom trees. After all, the blooms are what made you plant them. If you haven’t got one, now is the time. Even if your garden is small you can still enjoy those trees. We have Cherry Blossoms that are suitable for pots and will not grow more than a few feet. This year’s choice is a Royal Burgundy upright variety or a Snow Shower weeping one.
* A quick check on all your tools, especially if you didn’t do it in the autumn.
* Prune your winter flowering shrubs such as Chimonanthus and Witch Hazel.
* Wisteria could also be given a trim now. You can go quite hard if needs be, she will bounce back even nicer than before.
* Plan what you would like to grow from seed this season and get yourself into the shop with a list. It really can be quite overwhelming and end up with a lot of “impulse buys”. (I speak from experience here).
* Give your pond a look if there is no fish in it. Dead leaves and other debris are definitely lurking on the bottom and it would be a good idea to clean it. If you do keep fish, leave it for another few weeks, no need to disturb them too much yet.
Those would be the few things for the next two to three weeks. By then the sun should be warming us up, temperatures rising and the workload pressing down hard on us.
This year we will be featuring once, in the first issue of every month, giving you tips and ideas for the month ahead. And so each time I would like to finish off with a special plant, something relevant but different. Viburnum plicatum “Janny” definitely fits the bill in my honest opinion. This very hardy and sturdy deciduous shrub is almost ready to pop open its white, pom-pom-like flowers. The growth is evenly spread across the plant which can reach up to only about 5 feet when fully mature. This makes it the perfect plant for both large and suburban gardens.
What makes it so special is both: stunning scented blooms in the spring and a lovely display of foliage turning red, purple and burgundy in the autumn time. This shrub will be happy just about anywhere in your garden, it is not at all fussy and needs very little care. This is exactly what we want to hear now, isn’t it?
With this, I shall love ye and leave ye, but I must say it feels good to be back. Thank you so much for all your support and kind words. We do what we do thanks to our brilliant customers. Until next month.
Magda O’ Byrne