Well, isn’t this the month of four seasons! I have been all over the place with the garden to do list this month, one thing you can be sure of is that it has been perfect conditions for slugs and weeds, two of my garden nightmares. Thankfully we are experiencing a massive rise in the number of frogs in our garden which is good news for the dahlias. A few years back we put in a very tiny nature pond, planted it up with a few aquatic plants and added a solar powered pump, it has been one of the best things for the garden. It encourages so much wildlife, I even spotted a couple of newts this week. You really don’t need a big water feature to attract frogs, ours is about 3ft X 4ft, the deepest end being 3ft then it gets shallower at the front. When putting a pond in always make sure to place lots of rocks and stones for small animals to get in and out. You can always tell how good your frog life is by growing a couple of hostas, eaten hostas = not enough frogs, perfect hostas = lots of frogs.
So, jobs to be doing now, well it is largely weather dependant but, top of the list is weeding and preparing the beds ready to plant out your annuals. We are plagued with ground elder here at The Haven, I can never seem to get rid of it but this year I have started to re-do the old rose border so everything has come out, roots have been cleaned and plants potted up so that I could begin the mammoth task of digging all the weeds out. After a good and thorough going over of the beds its time to put some organic matter on top, you can dig it in but you don’t need to as this is the job for worms and they will take it down into the soil.
If you have seedlings growing in a greenhouse make sure you bring them out to harden them off, a little bit of rain water on them will do them wonders but make sure they don’t get too drenched as this will damage them. Don’t worry if they’ve got a little soggy, it happens to all us gardeners, drain them off and pop them back in the greenhouse to dry out a bit. Also, make sure you keep an eye on the weather forecast, you don’t want to risk leaving out your tender annuals if we have a frost.
Keep sowing seeds for maximum rotation of flowers, I keep going through till May with my favourite varieties. Prick out first seedlings and pot on into fresh compost and bigger pots to give them room to grow.
If you haven’t planted up your dahlias yet then you can do this now, either in peat free compost in pots in the greenhouse or, straight into the ground, just be aware that because its been wet there may be a lot of slugs which love nothing more than munching on your new dahlia shoots as soon as they emerge. One way to help this problem is the use of wool pellets that act as a mulch too, double bonus!
Start drawing plans for planting, it will help no end when you have trays of young plants to go in, if you’ve designed a planting scheme. Think about rotation, for example: as my tulips are going over there is now space to start planting out my hardy annuals.
Keep the green house in order as things come and go and don’t forget to label plants. Clean up old pots and stack neatly for next time.
Well I think thats certainly enough to be getting on with and this should see you well into May.
If you live in or near Bedfordshire then I do hope you will sign up to our news and events letter, which will let you know where we will be, what is for sale at the garden gate and when the garden is open for viewing.
Emma & Rich