Hidden pleasures in the garden
Spring is here with its seesawing weather pattern — or should I say, lack of pattern.
However, hot or cold my asparagus continues to grow and it is this that takes me to the bottom of my garden every morning or two to cut.
The detail of our garden is mostly out of sight so unless I make the effort to go down into the dell I can only see glimpses through the trees. Picking the asparagus sends me down during spring and early summer and a quick visit can often lead to not only picking asparagus but a load of flowers to bring up the slope.
And then one has the enjoyable task of arranging them. So the asparagus patch not only feeds the tummy but also the soul early each morning.
It’s easy to fall in love with gardening over and over again in spring. Everything is so fresh, the buds on the roses are only just starting to open and the perennials are pushing their way through the ground. It is a time full of promise and to ensure that the promise of such delights turns into reality a little bit of timely groundwork needs to be done.
Those roses — they do tend to attract aphids which adore the new buds.
Keep a watch on these and zap them with a handy Ready-To-Use Enspray Oil. Totally organic but very effective. Try a glass of wine or whatever in one hand and an RTU of Enspray in the other in the evening — I highly recommend it.
The hostas are now in full leaf and looking amazing. Slugs and snails adore these — a fine sprinkling of Quash around them will ensure that they aren’t holey by Christmas. I prefer Quash, a bit more expensive than Slug Slam or Blitzembecause it only kills cold blooded animals — nothing with fur or feathers.
Having had a dog die from slug pellets and an old cat badly convulsing was enough to well and truly put me off any other option.
The cat knocked over a packet that was on the kitchen bench — dratted thing — so fussy with her food and then she goes and consumes Baysol pellets. Madness. The dog was a sheepdog that had got off its chain and found the slug bait on the back door step. So a note of caution when using anything but Quash. Quash is made of iron and also works even when it is disintegrating.
My delphiniums are now up to 1m tall and still growing of course. My network of birch twigs that keeps them upright will have to be reinforced with some twiggy bamboo stems very soon if I am to keep them from snapping. The earlier you get any plant supports on the more natural they look. It gives the plants time to spread their leaves around the supports so that you hardly notice that they are there. If you leave it until late they look like they have outgrown their trousers and have had a belt tied too tightly — not a good look on anyone!
Soon it is time for the “Chelsea Chop”. Big clumps of perennials can be prompted to stagger flower if you cut the back half down now. Phlox, Solidago, Asters, Monarda etc — cut them back by a good half-third and the back half of your clumps will flower later than the front half ensuring that you have a much longer display. This also helps if your plant has become rather leggy.
My early flowering lavenders are looking amazing — especially Lavender Pink Princess. This is such a good lavender. Such a gorgeous deep pink and it is great at reblooming right through till after Christmas. To ensure best colour plant her in absolute full sun. Here at Green Door our roof canopy cuts out 30 per cent of the sun and she tends to lose some of her intensity, but when placed out on the edge of the garden centre her colour is amazing. I’m so pleased with her I have bolstered the planting I have in the carpark with a few more and interspersed with a few Ruffles Lavender.
One of the great things about having a big garden is that you don’t have to feel mean about picking the flowers as there’s so many to choose from. At this time of the year the Iris sibirica varieties are in full swing along with the Bearded Iris and an arm full of these with some branches of Deutzia or Philadelphus fills a huge vase in a trice. This morning I treated myself to picking some Allium blooms as well — such a shame these aren’t available to purchase anymore. Soon it will be roses but as the bottom of our garden is so cold I’m still a week away from roses to pick. For those who don’t have big gardens you can still make wonderful arrangements by just using foliage and a smattering of blooms. Many shrubs have great foliage to use as the basis of your display. Even the old seeding Forget-me-Not picks beautifully and looks great in a little vase in the bathroom/bedroom or kitchen windowsill. I adore bringing the outside in, even if its just a bunch of parsley or mint — which incidentally looks great with Forget-me Not.
To ensure your roses bloom, take care of them now as the new buds emerge.