Spring is emerging; the evenings are getting lighter, the sun has come out of hibernation, daffodils are springing up in Cornwall, and other signs of life are starting to appear across the landscape.
The pent-up angst and frustration of gardeners across the county following such a poor year in2012, is certainly ready for release, and ‘springing into action’ in the garden, encouraged by all with a passionate connection to the garden, and with hope of a better year in 2013. The Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) is one keen supporter of kick-starting the gardening season with its national ‘Spring into Summer’ Campaign, aiming to encourage gardeners to transform their gardens through colour, scent and wildlife, through spring and into summer.
So what can we be getting on with in the coming weeks? Trevena Cross Nurseries near Helston tells us:
Managing lawn and weed growth…
Dig the lawnmower out in March and begin regular cutting on the highest blade setting, on dry days (when the ground isn’t wet or frozen). Now is the time to get on top of weeds that start to appear too. Assistance from Round Up or Resolva Weedkiller can help.
Planting potatoes, sets & bulbs…
We’re generally a few weeks ahead of the rest of the country with our sowing and planting here in Cornwall, due to milder temperatures, so if you haven’t got your early seed potatoes, garlic and onion sets planted out yet, do so now. Plant your summer flowering bulbs too.
Dividing and re-planting crowded perennials…
Perennials generally need dividing and re-planting every few years – it encourages healthy growth, and of course, gives you new plants for free! Signs that it’s time to interfere include a perennial that has grown too big for its space, has lost its shape, or that flowered poorly last year. Dividing should take place while the plant is still dormant, so now is a good time.
Pruning shrubs and bushes…
Improve shape and encourage new growth, blooms and fruits this coming season. Use sharp, clean tools and make clean cuts above new growth/buds. Excessively long shoots, weak or damaged growth should be a priority.
Treating pots, beds & borders…
Top dress pots and containers with fresh compost. Remove old compost and top up with new if there isn’t much room for more on top. A good mulch of compost or bark on beds and borders will also be appreciated once pruning, de-weeding and debris removal has taken place. The application of a balanced fertiliser like bonemeal root builder or fish, blood & bone feed will also benefit young, weak, damaged or heavily pruned plants in particular.
Kick-starting the grow-your-own garden…
Feed fruit trees and soft fruit bushes, applying nitrogen feed to hungry trees in particular, like plums, cherries, pears, and blackcurrants. Mulch all with organic farmyard manure. It’s also a key time for strawberries – cover established plants with a cloche, plant cold-stored runners, and pollinate strawberry flowers under glass by brushing them with your hands. Various veg can now also be sown outside, including lettuces, leeks, radishes, carrots and parsnips.
Regularly updated gardening tips, to assist you with your gardening activities this coming season, can be found in the ‘Knowledge Centre’ on Trevena Cross
Nurseries website www.trevenacross.co.uk
Our members have some truly beautiful and interesting gardens. Take a look to see some of the wonderful things growing.
You can take out CGS membership as an individual or as a family and there are lots of benefits.
Christine, Lady Skelmersdale has been a passionate gardener since childhood. She has run bulb specialists, Broadleigh Gardens in Somerset for 45 years; holds the National Collection® of Alec Gray CVS daffodils and has exhibited extensively at RHS Chelsea.
Christine has also been a member of the RHS Council for 12 years; President of the Friends of the Bristol Botanic Garden for seven years and Garden Advisor for RHS Garden, Rosemoor for 12 years. She was also Chairman of the 2012-15 RHS trial of drumstick alliums.
A regular contributor to RHS The Garden magazine, Christine is also the author of two books: Creative Gardening with Bulbs and A Gardener’s Guide to Bulbs.
In 2009, Christine was presented with the Victoria Medal of Honour (VMH) – the RHS’s highest award for services to horticulture.
Join us on Tuesday 11th February at 7.30pm at The Alverton, Tregolls Road, Truro
Lady Skelmersdale will join us on Wednesday 12th February at 2.30pm at St Mellion International Resort, Saltash where she shares her lecture ‘Beat the Drum’