En­cour­ag­ing grow th

Landscape (UK) - - Front Page -

A while ago, I said that I cut back all epimedi­ums in late March-early April. I was wrong. I did this a cou­ple of years ago and lost three ma­ture clumps of E. x omeiense types. This could have been a com­bi­na­tion of frost nip­ping now un­pro­tected newly emerg­ing growth, and snail/slug ac­tiv­ity. I dug up the clumps and pot­ted bits on, but they never re­cov­ered. The only one I cut back to the ground now is E. x rubrum. The rest just get a tidy later on. In the mostly grasses bed, we’ve been liv­ing with the ghosts of last year’s grasses, se­dums and Ver­bena bonar­ien­sis. It’s time to cut most plants back hard to let emerg­ing growth through. The bed looks de­void of life for a while but, bit by bit, plants reawaken, start­ing with the cheer­ful lit­tle white and yel­low starry flow­ers of Tulipa turkestanica in April. I must ad­mit a cer­tain fleet­ing sat­is­fac­tion is to be had from this rather bru­tal raz­ing. An­other task for early April is sow­ing toma­toes and pep­pers, ear­lier for those with growth rooms and heated green­houses. I’m stick­ing to Euro­pean tom­mies this year. The US-sourced va­ri­eties I’ve grown for the last cou­ple of years haven’t per­formed well for me. ‘Gar­dener’s De­light’ is back on the list, as is ‘Pan­tano’, an Ital­ian beef­steak type. A small gnarly sweet pep­per, ‘Frig­gitello’, works well for me, so I’ll be grow­ing it again this year. A job for a nice sunny day in late March is plant­ing pota­toes, which this year are ‘Belle de Fon­te­nay’, ‘Vitelotte’ and ‘Pink Fir Ap­ple’.

‘Pink Fir Ap­ple’, Solanum tubero­sum, salad pota­toes in a re­cy­cled egg tray, chit­ted in March and ready for plant­ing out.

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