With Liz Robin­son of Pinewood nurs­eries and farm shop Hannah Stephen­son

Buckinghamshire Advertiser - - GREEN SPACES -

s The black­bird is one of the

loud­est dawn cho­ris­ters HIS weather has brought our bed­ding sea­son into full swing.

I’ve been bat­tling cus­tomers at the till ex­plain­ing to them it’s just too early and ‘don’t think this heat wave is go­ing to last’... be­ing very cyn­i­cal in my old age at their at­tempts to con­vince me that they have a green­house they’ll fit this all in to at home... Es­pe­cially petu­nias which are very ten­der and can­not with­stand any light frost.

The Petu­nia surfinias are the star of our show here at Pinewood. We grow 6,000 bas­kets full of them and they dec­o­rate gar­dens up and down Eng­land.Engl They are so ver­sa­tile, if you get thet right va­ri­ety.

ForFo Stoke Park we plant up huge pots with tall canes and the Petu­nia ‘Easy‘Ea wave’ climbs up the canes to cre­ate a spec­tac­u­lar show. I’m al­waysa warn­ing cus­tomers that theyth need a lot of wa­ter if they area in pots and bas­kets. They haveha so much fo­liage you can’t re­lyrel on even a thun­der storm to IT’S so tempt­ing, I know. All those an­nu­als you’ve sown in­doors from seed are big enough to plant out, the tomato seedlings are do­ing well and you just want to clear the decks to make a head start on sum­mer.

But be warned, if you risk plant­ing ten­der plants out be­fore the last frosts have passed, it could ruin all your hard work of the pre­vi­ous months.

A late frost can hit in late May or even in June, re­duc­ing your ten­der plants to shriv­el­ling corpses.

It’s best re­ally to sow seed of frost-ten­der veg­eta­bles in­clud­ing French and run­ner beans, cour­gettes, mar­rows, cu­cum­bers, toma­toes, squashes and mel­ons, in April un­der cover be­cause they are go­ing to take four or five weeks to es­tab­lish be­fore they can be put out­side, so that way they are timed to be planted out af­ter the last frosts are over.

Any­thing grown in a frost-free green­house such as pa­tio plants and frost-ten­der veg­eta­bles will need hard­en­ing off be­fore be­ing planted out­side, to ac­cli­ma­tise them slowly to out­door con­di­tions. Harden them

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