Almost the time for the clocks to ‘spring forward’ to mark the beginning of British Summer Time. To be honest, I am beginning to feel quietly uneasy. This is one of the busiest times in the gardening calendar and I am so behind! There’s so much to do and time is racing away, but I do LOVE the anticipation and excitement that this new season brings, as well as the longer days and chance to be outside in the evenings as dusk gently falls around us.
For the kitchen …
Although this time is known as the ‘hungry gap’, with regards to homegrown vegetables and fruit, we are fortunate to be able to gather bay, rosemary. thyme and the chives are already growing steadily too. Along the footpath through the woods there is wild garlic. Under the forcing pot there are a few stems of rhubarb every week.
The hens are beginning to lay but it is clear that they are unhappy being restricted in their pen in accordance with the Avian Flu restrictions.
In the borders…
- This is the last chance to split any herbaceous perennials that have become too large in the beds. Our Nepeta is in desperate need of splitting along with the hardy Geraniums that have a dormant centre to be removed.
- The ‘Tete et Tete’ narcissi are still flowering but as soon as they fade I will pinch out the heads but leave the green to continue feeding the bulb for the next seasons growth.
- Faded clumps of snowdrops are now being lifted and transplanted around the garden in the trug to encourage more growth next year.
- Get on top of the weeds now and it won’t seem such a chore throughout the coming months.
In the shed, check the over wintering pots…
Prefer to be slightly restricted and grow well in a poor soil, but they will still need top dressing and splitting every three years or so. If they can be eased from their pot without it breaking, I use an old saw to remove them, just as you would sliding a knife around the edge of a cake tin. Ease them out of their container, split or encourage the roots to become free of their mass and re-pot.
Will still need protection from the frost but the plant will now benefit from top dressing. I also find it helpful to add a layer of of grit across the soil which will give them some protection from snails. (We use the oyster shell and grit mixture that we buy for the hens. This helps them digest their corn as well as provide calcium for their egg shell production).
Scented pelargoniums –
Ours have over wintered in the green house this year. Thankfully they have survived and now need cutting back a little. Now will be an opportunity for re-potting to encourage growth and hopefully take some cuttings in a few months.
Finally, in the cut flower patch…
Prepare your bed for sweet peas and create a wigwam or arch in eager anticipation for the plants.
If you saved them, take cuttings from your over wintering chrysanthemums. These will give you beautiful blooms in the autumn. Or treat yourself to a few plug plants now. These can be encouraged to grown on, cut in the late summer or autumn and will also give you the opportunity to take your own cuttings next spring.
The dahlia tubers are being trimmed, split and tidied as necessary then potted up and transferred to the greenhouse from their winter hibernation in the potting shed.