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Gardening Tips for April

BY CLAIRE BROWN from Plant Passion
Don’t let seedlings get root-bound before you pot them on or plant them out. Sometimes in warm Spring temperatures they’ll need watering every day, and sometimes not for 3-4 days – do check by feeling the soil, and the weight before you water.
  • For Hardy annuals, like Cornflowers, Ammi, Orlaya, Nigella, Scabious and sweet peas can be planted out in the garden now (as long as you checked for slugs in February)
  • For Half hardy annuals, we probably haven’t had the last frosts yet, no matter how warm it gets today, so Cosmos, Amaranthus, Statice, Asters and Nicotiana, and all bedding plants,  whether grown your self or bought from the garden centre need to be protected until mid to the end of May.
  • The lawnmowers will be humming in Horsley from this week, and newly mown grass is great, but don’t cut your lawn too short, as that will encourage weeds and moss. If you’re wanting stripes on the lawn, make sure you don’t always cut in the same direction as this will weaken the grass and make it thinner.
  • Keep succession sowing your salad seedlings, so you don’t get a glut, and if you haven’t sown any yet, those who are Grace and Flavour members, there’s plenty for sale at the garden!

If you’re inspired to go out in the garden, and want to know more about growing, or arranging flowers for the vase, look at our Workshops and Flower clubs which will start to happen this month. Or book in your group for a talk and walk round the farm to find out more about flower growing in the 21st century.


Tips for getting your Spring season started

By CLAIRE BROWN of Plant Passion

It’s still too early to sow your Half Hardy Annuals (those that can’t go out until the end of May ) but the Hardy Annuals, such as Cornflowers, Ammi, Iceland poppies, Orlaya, Calendula and Gypsophila can all be sown now, as soon as the snow melts.

Have a look at the perennials poking through the ground. (That’s plants that flower in the summer, but aren’t showing all winter). Now is a great time to lift and split them. Things like Alchemilla, Solidago, Achillea, Stachys and Centarea. I pot them up and give them a bit of shelter for a few weeks in my polytunnel (or just a sheltered bit at the side of the house will help. This give the the time to grow a lovely root system and they will be strong in the ground and flower wonderfully this year. If you’ve got too many, then you could always use them to enter the Horsley Garden Society Plant Sale on the Saturday 19th May

Use Environmesh or Fleece to give newly planted seedlings a helping hand. I’ve been using Environmesh for 2 years now , having seen it working so well at our Grace and Flavour Community Garden and the productivity of my plants has gone up amazingly. As well as keeping off pests, Environmesh keep some of the wind and some of the cooler temperatures away from your new plants, enabling them to grow away faster and healthier.

Don’t forget to label everything. I know you think you’ll know what’s in that tray, but it really helps to know what variety it is and when you planted it.

Continue pruning evergreen shrubs, and now you can cut back Buddleya’s, Cornus and willows plus pollard Eucalyptus.  (I’ll gladly take any pruning!)

Don’t start mowing your lawn yet, – it’s way to wet underfoot.

Flowering for Mothering Sunday from your Garden –  look out for Hellebores, Daffodils, Camellia, Primulas, Kerria, Hyacinths, Early Tulips and Snowflakes.

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