2021

A year on from lockdown 1 and whilst many are no doubt relishing their new-found fluency in Mandarin/sourdough making skills/cup playing prowess (yes, it’s been a hit during the last year apparently), the gardeners amongst us are practically fizzing with excitement at the prospect of longer, lighter, brighter days, warmer temperatures and the arrival of spring proper…

Lengthening evenings equal time to catch up on any of last month’s jobs loitering on the ‘to do list’ - dividing plants/filling gaps/pruning roses if you’re quick.

And once all the prep is done, come the end of the month it’ll be the perfect time to wander in search of luminous bluebell woods lit by early evening sun. What a glorious thought.
Plants of the Month
Tulips: Originating in Kazakhstan, the exquisite tulip symbolised wealth and power to the conquering Ottomans, soon adorning gardens of the rich and turbans of the Sultans. The name ‘tulip’ stems from Turkish ‘tulbend’ (turban), in turn derived from the Persian for round (‘dulband’). Like shapely turban like shapely tulip - now you know!

More tulip trivia: almost perfectly symmetrical, tulips technically have only three petals, but bear three almost identical sepals, hence seeming to produce six petalled flowers.
All that apart, these glamour pusses of spring deserve a place in any garden, terrace, balcony or pot. Plan ahead for next year’s display here
Daffodils
Daffodils: …likewise your daffodils. So many delicious choices to cheer spring gardens and herald the arrival of kinder weather. Deadhead as soon as the bloom is spent, but leave the leaves in place as long as you can bear it to nourish the bulb for flower power next year.
Clematis Armandii
Clematis Armandii:  Absolutely fabulous is no exaggeration to describe this vigorous and easy-going gem of a climber. The only hardy scented clematis, it flowers profusely in March and April, bearing long-lasting glossy white star-like flowers over striking dark green lance-shaped foliage.
Pink Flowering Bird Cherry
Prunus padus Colorata (Pink-flowering Bird Cherry): Such an uplifting spring sight – a mass of pink, fragrant blossom, dark purple young leaves that morph through coppery hues into deep green as the year progresses and come autumn, little black fruits that birds love. Pretty in every way – in fact pretty much perfect!
 
...BUT YOU COULD BE PLANTING...
Lavender ‘Hidcote’; the best and the hardiest of the "English" lavenders is a simply glorious deep blue. This super-scented variety, named after Gertrude Jekyll's great garden in Gloucestershire, Hidcote is a great example of small but powerful - and ideal for low hedges or knot gardens.

Plant towards the end of April for bee-friendly heaven this summer.
Sweetpeas
Sweet peas: Our sweet peas have been raised in severe conditions to give them backbone and true British grit; as a result they’re incredibly hardy and flower both early and reliably. What more could you ask?
 
Herbs: Mint, basil, coriander, chervil, chives, parsley, oregano, even fennel…our huge range of UK grown herbs make mouth-watering additions to summer cooking. And if you are thinking Basil, then you should be growing your own tomatoes. And what's a tomato without a chilli...
 
Dahlias
Dahlia tubers: Magnificent in situ and even better as cut flowers, dahlias come in an eye-watering array of spectacular shapes and colours. Go Dame Edna OTT for full-on flamboyance or err on the side of subtle restraint – either way, they’ll gladden the eye and fill the heart with joy from mid-summer until the first frosts.
Last orders for Hedging: Given the forecast cold snap, you can still plant bareroot hedging. Plants are now all lifted and stored in our humidity and temperature controlled store, so they are good for you to plant at least until the end of April. However there will be no more lifts this season, so when they are gone, they are gone...
How to prune your fig tree
How to prune an established fig tree

It's best to prune your fig trees in the spring (but not when it is freezing). In this video, you'll see how to reduce the height, take out unwanted crossing branches and generally tidy up your fig tree.
THE QUESTION ON EVERYONE’S LIPS…
Every month our customer support team picks out a topic that has generated lots of questions from customers...
Is it too late to prune my roses?

No. You can get away with it in April, but best to get on with the job soon. Click here for pruning advice and remember, the sharper the secateurs, the better. Jagged wounds heal slowly and encourage disease.
Put plant supports in place early

Floppy, saggy, a tad misshapen; sadly it’s not just plants that suffer the ignominy. And as many of us know, the solution to such issues is proper support.

No matter what you use, and however artisan or attractive your infrastructure, the plant is definitely the star of the show (although pity the bearer of the $12.5m jewel-encrusted bra created in 2001 by Victoria’s Secret!).
So do put your sweet pea, peony, rose, clematis and tomato supports in place as soon as possible to avoid rummaging through young growth and mangling your lovelies weeks down the road when they’ll need bending, twisting and generally manhandling into place. Too late, too late as Judi Dench playing Elizabeth 1 famously said… 
JOBS FOR THE GARDEN

A FEW TIPS FOR THE MONTH IF YOU HAVE THE TIME AND INCLINATION!

  • Deadhead early flowering daffodils
  • Keep on top of weeding. Hoe away – it will pay dividends later on
  • Feed your lawn with high nitrogen feed
  • Replace the compost in pots and feed with slow-release fertiliser
  • Sow vegetable seeds
  • Chit potatoes
  • Crop rhubarb
  • Ventilate greenhouses, tunnels and conservatories on warm days
  • Order biological controls for the above too
  • Prune roses – last chance
  • Dig up and relocate plants – also the last chance   
And last but not least…
Vegan Wraps
After the chocolate fest that’s so much part of Easter, why not try our delicious and healthy vegetarian wraps? It may be shutting the gate after the horse has bolted, but it’s a step in the right direction!
Ingredients:
  • 1 Red Pepper
  • 1 Yellow Pepper
  • 1 Finely Chopped White Onion
  • 1 Finely Chopped Red Onion
  • 6-7 small cherry plum tomatoes (or equivalent)
  • 4 Tortilla Wraps
  • 200g Humous
  • 1 Avocado
  • 1/2 cup long grain rice
  • 1 tsp Paprika
  • Vegetable Oil
Method:
  1. Preheat the grill
  2. Cover a baking tray in foil
  3. Chop the outside of the peppers off so that they lay flat on the tray and the skin is on the outside
  4. Chop the tomatoes in half (long ways) and place on the tray (skin side up)
  5. Grill both peppers and tomatoes until the skins are black
  6. Caramalise the onions in a pan using vegetable oil
RECENT BLOGS
Our blogs are written by garden designers and passionate gardeners (not mutually exclusive) making them well informed and opinionated... So if you want ideas that may be relevant to your garden have a look at this month's scribblings:
Planning a scented garden
SHOP CATEGORIES
Dahlias
Soft Fruit
Lavender
Hedging
Herbs
Roses
Sweet Peas
Vegetables
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Grove Cross Barn, Castle Cary, Somerset, BA7 7NJ
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