The first week in May is usually the date in the gardening calendar which we, (in the south of England) really look forward to. Our greenhouses are bursting with plants that we desperately want to get out into the garden to make room for our tomatoes, cucumbers and aubergines to be planted in their final places inside the greenhouse. Even my kitchen table at home has become a seed nursery and dinner is now on trays. The Dahlias that we have overwintered in the garden with a good covering of fern mulch to protect against the worst of the winter weather and frozen soil, are still covered up, but we can see the new foliage peeping through.
There have been rumours, given we had such a mild winter, that we have seen the last frost until October. Whilst it has been very cold still at night, and I know we are only half way through April, I made the executive decision this week to remove the mulch and expose our treasures to the elements. Half our Dahlia stock was dug up last October, divided, potted up and left in the shed. These too are showing new growth, so we have had a week of popping them back in their final growing positions. Digging some up in the winter is a great opportunity to plant them somewhere else each year for a change. A bit like moving the furniture!
Mother goose had already done some of the job for us as we caught her on her clutch of eggs in the corner of our garden. A great surprise for all of us, as we haven’t had geese here before.
All I needed was a few seed trays for a client. I tried to stay focused, heading straight for the aisle they were in last year. Head down and determined not to stray. Darn they’ve moved them this year and in their place lots of sweet little plug plants. No, I won’t be side-tracked. I pass all the shiny tools and clean fresh gloves, plant food and weed killer and find the trays. Picking them up and heading for the check-out i pass the seed packets. Ooh I wonder if they’ve got…one packet of seeds will be ok… I ought to buy now or they’ll be sold out before I come again.
Before I know it I have bought 10 packets of seeds and I’m spending the afternoon sowing them in the seed trays I had bought for my client. Oh the guilt.
That was last Saturday. Today i see them germinating and the satisfaction overwhelms me. Luckily my client had bought her own seed trays and everyone is happy
And in case you were wondering, I discovered these gorgeous mini daffodils (featured photo, Narcissus canaliculatus) in the garden I have been working in for the first time this week in 7 years of being there. When they finish flowering I will have to move them to somewhere more prominent so everyone can enjoy them.
Well, we are still making stakes around the perennials this week..
There are tall varieties of Aconites, Achillea, Echinops and Sanguisorba to stake on the main border and we have run out of Willow and Cornus. That will not stop us though, as this is such a vital job at this time of year. Sticks and string (garden twine) will do the job just as well although initially it doesn’t look that great. Eventually the plants will fill out and none of these will be visible.
This week Martin has been planting onion sets in the long border outside the Old Walled Garden, digging over the vegetable patch and raking it to a fine tilth, ready for seeds. The soil had become so compacted from all the rain we have had recently. Today he planted the seeds of Swiss Chard and Perpetual Spinach.