2018

Good stuff for your garden this February...

Lavender Blue, dilly  dilly 

We delayed this letter to make sure the worst was past. It is, and the weather is warming and so is the soil. The Beast from the East delayed the onset of spring as we said last month, but the lavender planting season begins about now. Flowering will be late this year because of the cold, but your lavender should be in full swing in June. We will send out larger pot sizes in the next 2-3 weeks and P9's (9 cm pots) later in May when the plants have hardened off. We always sell out of lavender, our plants are fabulous, so if you have not ordered yet, please do so soon to avoid disappointment.

Bulbs in the Green

There is still time to fill those gaps. Bulbs in the green are lifted until the end of this month, and planting them with a bit of sun on their - and your - backs is much more pleasant than doing so in the driving rain. We will carry on lifting aconites, bluebells and snowdrops for a few more weeks or until they run out (which bluebells nearly have).

Bulbs are probably the best value for money in terms of colour, ease and life. Invest now.
 

Julian's Top Tip - Don't splash...

As well as being cold, it has been wet. As in soaking. So until the ground dries out a bit, try hard not to walk unnecessarily on borders and vegetable patches. Every step you take compresses sodden soil, breaking down its structure and making it less receptive to the root activity which is happening right now. The effects of the recent cold snap will be felt for quite some time to come.

So try and "stand off" and do your weeding with a hoe. If you must go into a border, then work standing on a plank - a length of scaffold board is ideal - that will spread your weight. 

Hedging

While bareroot lifting has nearly finished, we have stock in the cold store. To humans, this is a pretty beastly place; kept at +1C with humidity at 98% (ladies - curly hair frizzes in an instant here).

However, for bareroot plants - which includes most hedging - it is just an extension of winter. So staying there, in plant terms, is the equivalent of a nice lie after a good night's sleep. As a result, bareroot hedging planted now wakes up to warm soil and warm days and responds accordingly.

April Flower Showers...

Courtesy of the "Beast" some of these will be at their best at the end of this month. However cold springs like this year's only happen infrequently, so planning using the plants on this list will usually be pretty good. They are all good doers, easy to grow, tough as anything and beautiful.

What April garden could ask for more?

Have a look at our picks for your April garden.

Climber Time

Plant your clematis now (too late for Montanas although they will be covered in bloom next year) and you will see some flowers this summer. For those of you who planted climbing roses last year or the year before, then these are now big enough to support the smaller, large flowered clematis. This way you use the same vertical area twice, bringing additional colour as well as lengthening the flowering period where space is limited. The same trick works really with shrubs that flower just once. Forsythia, Philadelphus, and Ribes would be obvious candidates as host plants for small climbers, but be brave and experiment!
 

Jobs for April

The skies are blue but it is not too warm for some work outside. So if you are short of inspiration - or you do not know where to start - here is a list of jobs for April for starters. Given the weather, you might want to pick and choose a bit over the next week or so while the ground dries out a bit more...

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Grove Cross Barn, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7NJ
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