Spring is nearly here!

Isn’t it amazing how a little bit of sunshine and a mild late winter day can uplift a gardener’s spirits.

In two weeks, we have gone from -15 degrees celcius to a balmy 5 degrees, that’s a 20 degree shift in temperature and the garden is starting to waken.

The lilac trees have masses of pale green buds, spring bulbs are avidly pushing through the soil as though it is a competition to see who can be first and amongst the bare winter stems of the perennials, clumps of new green growth is appearing from the old, dead vegetation.

Roses

Pruning the roses ensures lots more gorgeous blooms

This weekend I decided to prune the shrub roses, they don’t require much, just the removal of dead and diseased wood, crossing branches and a little bit of growth control.  Tiny buds already appearing on the stems are promising masses of summer colour and fragrance.

A general tidy of the border is much needed, but I still like to leave a covering of old leaves and stems to protect from further frost damage.

As I work around the borders, I am also making a mental note of  lots of self sown seedlings from the Achillea and perennial lemon foxglove, which will need to be moved to a new position later on.

I know it is a little messy for a couple of months, but self sown seedlings always seem so much stronger and resilient, so I let them do their own thing and then in a few weeks time, will be able to lift them and move them to where I want or give some to friends.

Sweet peas

There is nothing a gardener likes more, than to sow seeds and see them magically turn into brand new plants.  Like a child in a sweet shop, I hunt through my seed packet box for my sweet peas.

I am afraid I cannot have a cut flower garden without sweet peas, so the root trainer modules have been cleaned and sown today with a mixed variety, specially grown for their perfume.  Some of this seed was collected from last year’s plants, so it will be interesting to see what grows.

Sowing my sweet peas in Late January and keeping them on a window ledge or heated greenhouse, allows them to get ahead early and the young plants pinched out a couple of times before planting out in late March or April.  Although some gardener’s like to sow sweet peas in the autumn and overwinter the young plants, I find that protecting them from the harsh northern winters, rodents and slugs is just an unnecessary task.

Next weekend’s job will be to open up the compost heaps and give the herbaceous border a nutritious top dressing.

More information

Pruning shrub roses – RHS advice for pruning shrub roses.

Growing Sweet Peas – Roger Parsons handy tips on how to grow sweet peas.

Root trainers – A brilliant way to grow sweep peas, peas and beans, ensuring a good root system and no root disturbance when planting out.



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