English Country Gardener

Author - Trisha - English Country Gardener

Jobs to do in October

Jobs to do in October

October signals the start of chilly days and nights, harvests, warm cosy food, Halloween and of course Autumn. I love this time of year when the leaves are turning and landscapes and gardens are transformed into an arrangment of beautiful colours. There is still lots to do now to prepare your garden for winter, so get on your wooly socks, gloves, scarves and hats and start the winter preparation.

Picture of Echinacea purpurea 'Maxima' looking beautiful dead, at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Picture of Echinacea purpurea ‘Maxima’ looking beautiful dead, at Birmingham Botanical Gardens

Garden Jobs

  • Continue to divide and split your herbaceous perennials whilst the soil is still warm, if we are having early frosts stop and wait until spring to continue.
  • If you did any late summer cuttings you should be able to pot these into a larger pot, depending on the cutting don’t put in too big a pot for the cutting. The next size up to two up should be ok.
  • Apply an autumn feed to your lawns.
  • Start bringing into the greenhouse and house your tender or plants that are not really a fan of the cold in. Some really tender plants will need extra protection with horticultural fleece. You can get this from any garden centre even Wilko sells it.
  • For wildlife leave some Ivy to flower as it’s a great source of nectar and berries.
  • Leave attractive seed heads for birds it also provides architectural winter structure.
  • Prune back your hybrid tea and floribunda roses.
  • Make a leaf mould box. Collect the leaves from your garden (not diseased) ready to make leaf mould, when its done well the compost that’s made is so fine making it perfect for seed compost.
  • Now is a good time to mulch borders with compost or manure. I tend to leave leaves over the winter on my beds then in the spring put mulch down because my soil would just leach out the goodness of the manure in winter rain. At least the leaves protect any plants from the frost and will create a leaf mould.
  • If you have a clay bed its a good time to dig it over and put organic matter in to help it breakup over the winter. The frost will help to break it up. Some people suggest putting straw in to help create layers, not sure how long it would take to break down though.

 

Kitchen Garden

Pear Harvest

Pear Harvest

  • Now is the perfect time to harvest those pumpkins ready for either Halloween or for eating. There are lots of recipes for pumpkins and squashes.
  • Harvest any pears and apples that are ready. Store unblemished fruit in a cool dry place. Try not to let them touch. Check regularly for any that have gone bad.
  • Finish digging up your potatoes before the first frosts start.
  • If you like spring cabbage and have some seedlings now is the time to plant these outside. Protect with a mess against pigeons.
  • Collect and dispose of but not in your compost bin or leaf mould any infected leaves from your apple and pear trees.

Pumpkins, Apples and Autumn

Pumpkins, Apples and Autumn

The Pumpkin Hunt

Who knew that pumpkin picking was so much fun? So we have the traditional Christmas Tree hunt, and the first million trees you look at are not quite right well you can continue this tradition with pumpkins in Autumn!

Pumpkin Field

Pumpkin Field

So this year I decided to hold a small Halloween / Autumn Party. Now many of my friends will know that I’m not much for celebrating the “Commercial Holidays” however I decided this year to celebrate Autumn, one of my favorite seasons with a little party. And if you are going to hold a Halloween/Autumn shindig then you will definitely need pumpkins!! Where better to buy pumpkins, no not Tesco or Asda or even Waitrose just to get your free cup of coffee, but the local Farm Shop. Now they had loads, now I am not exaggerating when I said they had loads I mean they filled a gazebo with pumpkins of various sizes, but we didn’t want one that was already picked and cleaned for us, we wanted to go and pick our own. So like two children we excitedly wondered off into the outback to find a field full of pumpkins. Well I have never seen a field of pumpkins before and it was amazing. A sea of orange, it was magical if only I could grow pumpkins and not marrowkins. How can these guys grow millions of pumpkins and I can’t even grow one, I can grow a Venus Flytrap from a seed but growing a pumpkin well that’s just beyond me. Ok so pumpkins ticked off the list, the carving I will leave to my astute protégé aka My Husband.

Apples, Apples and More Apples

Apples and Apples

Apples and Apples

Next what to do with a tanker full of apples and pears! As I look through all my apple and pear recipes and try to find the recipe that uses the most apples and pears the best I can come up with is an apple pear crumble. Shame I don’t own a press to make apple juice or better still apple cider or even pear cider, maybe next year?

There are so many different varieties of apples, it is a mystery to me what type we have in our garden, all I know is one tree has beautiful delicious apples and the other well is a bit fluffy and watery to taste only good for baking in the oven or using as bobbing apples if you’re five or very drunk with no make up on, which you would probably never be considering its at a party. Note to self don’t do bobbing apples at our party. Anyway every year the RHS always put on an apple fair where you can take your apples down to a specialist and they will examine your apple and tell you what it is. I’ve never actually done this but I’ve heard its a great event if you’re near one.

Autumn Wreath

For our the Halloween / Autumn Party I decided to bring this back into the realms of not commercial scam but back to the theme of celebrating Autumn and Harvest by creating a wreath. Well I’m not very artistic, but I have an artistic husband and Pinterest to help so watch this space as I create an autumn wreath for the door. Who knows this might be my calling?

Autumn

Autumn Doggie

Autumn Doggie

Autumn has many great aspects, the first one I love is the different colours the trees display, an abundance of oranges, reds, brown, greens displayed in natures finest piece of art. Landscapes are transformed into new tapestry, your garden goes from a flowery summer scene to the aptly named Fall scene. Leaves are dropping, flower heads turn to seeds and natures winter architecture, apples and pears fall, ready for eating and cooking. It also beckons the start of the cold months where lets be honest we all like to get our winter wardrobe out and start to wear our jumpers and Ugg Boots without getting weird looks because its the middle of summer and its cold. I love the crisp mornings were its not too far into the cold wet weather that walking the dogs compares to walking on a sea of marbles. And when seeing the sun is like seeing a white peacock in a sea of blue Muscari (Grape Hyacinth) mesmerizing but extremely rare.

White Peacock Image from viralboo-com

White Peacock Image from viralboo-com

“Is not this a true autumn day? Just the still melancholy that I love — that makes life and nature harmonise. The birds are consulting about their migrations, the trees are putting on the hectic or the pallid hues of decay, and begin to strew the ground, that one’s very footsteps may not disturb the repose of earth and air, while they give us a scent that is a perfect anodyne to the restless spirit. Delicious autumn! My very soul is wedded to it, and if I were a bird I would fly about the earth seeking the successive autumns.” George Eliot

 

 

Open Gardens

Bottom half of garden

Open Gardens

This is the first year we have opened our gardens for the whole world to see, and I can tell you now it is a scary thing, with lots of hard work, time and a trip to the garden centre, but ultimately it is worth it. We spent days getting the garden to a state that was fit enough to not embarrass us in front of keen gardeners and people who have come to see a pretty garden.

Before the day of judgement we had a wander around all the other exhibitors gardens where we fell in love with some beautiful gardens hidden behind walls and hedges. The different range of gardens from small to large, some with a passion for roses, others with a passion for hydrangeas. Myself admiring them for the plants and the obvious hard work and love that goes into these gardens where as my other half was admiring them for the landscaping and the overall prettiness of them.

Open gardens has definitely received more interest over the last few years with the increasing interest in gardening for all ages. What I wasn’t expecting was that it was being classed as a fun family day out, not just for the keen gardener or the amateur gardener looking for inspiration and advice, but family’s looking for an interesting day out, something for the kids and adults. This is great to see and show children that gardening is fun and interesting.

Overall the day was filled with intrigue, fun, a bit of garden envy and a general warm fuzzy community spirit feeling. If there are any events near you do go along and enjoy the wildly different gardens that are usually hidden from public eyes. There are some amazing gardens right on your door step!

 

Pet Friendly Gardens

Pet Friendly Gardens

We have two dogs and two guinea pigs who love to play and sunbath in the garden. But it’s usually forgotten that the garden can also be a dangerous place for our beloved pets. So what are the things we need to look out for and take into consideration.

Lawns

Guineapigs Grass

Our Guinea Pigs

If you have doggies like us that pee with acid! then you will be in the same boat as us. We have tried ketchup, dog rocks and a specially designed spray to go on after and nothing works other than going out in the morning with your dog and a bucket of water. Yes my parents make me do this at their house, we even had an experiment to see who burn the grass the most their female dog and my male dog. The results showed no difference between the two. If you’re thinking how we did this we had different coloured sticks in the lawn, and yes it did turn into a pin cushion lawn. However in our garden we don’t go out in our pjs first thing in the morning and as a result the area they concentrate their morning pee in has no grass anymore. The remedy either go out first thing or re patch your grass every year. This year I’m going to try Aftercut patch Fix total lawn repair which is supposed to be good for going on ground that has been burnt by dog pee, we will see what happens. Watch this space.

Its not just dog pee that destroys the grass its them running around tearing it up so a good hard wearing grass mix is essential in any pet lovers garden. There are lots of companies out there that sell good quality grass seed mix and also hard wearing mix in turf.

Guineapig grass

Weeds and Plants

Most pets have a curious nature and want to explore and this includes chewing on things in our garden. The most common weeds and plants that are poisonous (this is not an extensive list) are ragwort – Senecio jacobaea, creeping buttercup – Ranunculus repens, Velvet Grass otherwise known as Tufted Grass – Holcus lanatus, Holly –Ilex, Buttercup –Ranunculus, Corn Cockle – Agrostemma githago, Helmlock – Conium maculatum, Day Lily – Hemerocallis, Morning Glory – Ipomoea tricolor ‘Heavenly Blue’, Monkshood – Aconitum, Skunk Cabbage – Lysichiton americanus, Crocus, Lilies – Lilium, Daffodils – Narcissus, Clematis, Foxglove – Digitalis, Euphorbia and Lily of the Valley – Convallaria majalis. Plants in you’re vegetable patch that pets should avoid are tomatoes, onions, rhubarb, potatoes and grape vines, plants that have thorns such as gooseberries can also be a hazard for pets.

Have a look at my post on Plants that Will Kill, Maim, Intoxicate and Definitely Offend for some more plants that are toxic to humans as well as our furry friends.

Try to avoid weed killers especially on your lawn if your dog or cat eats grass and especially if you have rabbits or guinea pigs that do eat grass. Instead remove them by hand, there are some cool tools that make it easier to remove these from your lawn and borders.

If you suspect your pet has eaten something poisonous then take your pet to your vet immediately ideally with a sample of the plant that your pet has eaten if you know what it is. Typical symptoms that they may experience is vomiting, diarrhea, heavy panting or breathing, acting like they are depressed and have no energy.

Sheds

Sheds including mine is a very hazardous place, my shed has tools in the correct holding places, but as my toes will tell you tools that don’t fit on pegs or that are just left on the side because they are “waiting to be cleaned, repaired or simply I was too lazy to put them away” will and do fall on unsuspecting toes and they always do it when you are just in your socks or flip flops never when you’re wearing steelies etc. It is not just tools but chemicals and compost that are hazardous for pets. Ideally keep these out of reach of pets.

Compost Bin

Compost bins should always have a lid to keep them closed so pets including rats and foxes can’t forage. Compost is actually a dangerous place when food is decomposing so always wear a mask when turning your compost. If you want more informaiton on how to compost and what to put in your compost see my post on Rotting to the Core – Composting for Beginners

Steps

Older pets will appreciate low rising, deep steps as steeper steps will be harder to negotiate.

Slugs and Snails

Picture of Garden Snail by karldawson borrowed from his website http://karldawson.deviantart.com/art/Garden-Snail-193249320

Picture of Garden Snail by karldawson borrowed from his website http://karldawson.deviantart.com/art/Garden-Snail-193249320

Slugs and snails are always an unwanted pest in any garden, but for pets they can be harmful as they can carry the parasite lungworm. A great website I found which explains this threat much better than I ever could is Lungworm.co.uk The website is packed with information and pictures, it really is worth a look.

Water

SAMSUNG CSC

Fidget

Water is really important for wildlife and a water bowl for your pets is also essential, a bird bath aka the dog water bowl which is clearly tastier than their actual dogs outside water bowl is much safer than a pond. Ponds can be dangerous for obvious reasons including drowning, but if you provide a suitable wire mesh that can withstand the weight of a dog etc so they don’t drown if they fall in the water. This is unsightly but could save your pets life if you really want a pond. Bird ponds are great for wildlife, but do make sure you clean them regularly so they don’t spread diseases.

Fences and Walls

Fences can be unsightly, but necessary to stop your pets escaping and running riot in your neighbours garden and worse still onto the road. You can grow all sorts up fences and plant shrubs in beds infront. Fences also come in different styles so you don’t have to stick to the traditional ones. There is also the option of painting your fences or creating wall art. If you have a wall instead of a fence then putting trellis on top if it is not high enough will provide a means of extending the wall and providing something for a climbing plant to attach to.

Shade

Vinny Water

Vinny

It is important to have somewhere in your garden that casts shade throughout the day so if your pets are outside they can retreat from the heat of the sun. You can use trees, shrubs or a plant covered pergola. There are lots of small trees that are designed for small gardens if you don’t have the space.

Gravel

Stone paving, concrete, tarmac and wooden decking in hot wether can be uncomfortable for paws so gravel paths are an alternative hard wearing path solution.

JJ Garden

JJ in Bed

Jobs for August

Jobs for August

August is here and our gardens are at full swing, Summer is well underway. There are lots to do in the garden this month.

Garden Jobs

  • Plant your autumn bulbs such as Colchicum, Crocus and Nerine.
  • Prune back your lavender with an inch of new growth once flowered.
  • Keep cutting back your perennials as they finish flowering.
  • Now’s a good time to give your hedges a final trim.
  • If you have patches in your grass you can sow grass seeds in late August.
  • If you have a summer meadow and its finished for the season mow it and remove the arising’s.
  • Any container grown Camellias need to not be allowed to dry out as they are producing next years flower buds.
Picture of a Grape Vine

Picture of a Grape Vine

Kitchen Garden

  • Continue to pick your vegetables especially the fast growing ones that will continue to produce fruit after you have picked it.
  • You can now pick you main crop potatoes.
  • Prune your fruited canes of summer fruiting raspberries.
  • If your growing sweet corn harvest them when they are ready.
  • Some people like to grow green manure crops such as mustard that can be dug in over the autumn to help improve the soil.
  • You can harvest your onions when the stems have gone dry and papery.
  • If you want salad onions for next year now is a good time to plant them.

 

 

Going on Holiday

Holiday Cornwall

Going on Holiday

For many of us the summer months are the time for our holidays. Its also the time when our gardens need us the most, be that watering, weeding, harvesting or dead heading. Our gardens do most of there splendor in the summer so when we leave and come home we don’t want to return to sickly or even dead plants. The killer of plants whilst we’re away is lack of water. Most plants in the ground will survive if there are some rain showers, however pot plants, shallow rooted plants, and your greenhouse plants are most at risk. Here are some simple tips to help you protect your garden whilst your away.

  1. Firstly if you can ask a friendly neighbor to water your garden, if this is feasible make it as easy as possible for them, I always leave the hosepipe or watering cans full next to the greenhouse.
  2. Move all outside pot plants into shadier areas, and places where they can still get some rain fall. You can buy automated watering systems or try the bucket and towel trick which uses capillary action to water the plants. All you need is a bucket of water and a cloth such as an old towel or large dishcloth. Fill the bucket of water and dip one end of the cloth into it and the other into the top of the container plant. On a larger scale when pots are in seed trays or plastic trays you can buy or make a mat that the pots sit on and have part of it dipped into a bucket. This slowly dip waters your containers.
  3. Its a good idea to mulch as much as possible your beds and pots as this will help to contain moisture.
  4. Cut your grass at least one to two days before you go away, don’t cut too short if its going to be really hot whilst your away.
  5. Do all your weeding and bug controls before you go away. Weeds will take water, light and nutrients from your plants and if left unchecked will go mad whilst your away.
  6. Make sure all your tools and garden furniture are all securely put away and locks on the shed.
  7. If you make your front gardens tidy then people are less likely to notice you’re away.
  8. Before going away deadhead all flowers that are going over to encourage new buds for your return and it also stops dead heads or petals falling onto the ground. If your going away for longer than two weeks, the drastic method is to remove all flower heads that have just come into bloom, not sure if I would have the heart to do this.
  9. Your kitchen garden will suffer whilst your away so pick all you can, either freeze, give away or eat! and set up a watering plan again dependent on how long your going away for. Water well before you go.
  10. Your greenhouse will be the most hit, leave all vents and doors open, if you can move all plants outside into a sheltered area ideally in a bed of moist sand, make sure that pots can’t fall over. If this is not possible then use an automated irrigation system or the bucket and wick trick. Do not sow any new seeds at least a few weeks before you go away as they will be too delicate.
  11. House plants should be moved away from sunny windowsills and hot conservatories, ideally put them into bath or sinks on an old damp towel, water them well first. Don’t put bleach down your toilet as the fumes will harm your plants. If i’m not going away for a long time I usually put the water hungry plants in large saucers and fill with water this usually keeps them happy, haven’t lost a plant yet. Check as some plants really don’t like to have their bottoms in the water.
  12. When you return home you need to water all plants in and out and return them to their original places. Cut your grass, continue harvesting and weed. If its anything like our garden for some reason whilst we are away someone feeds our garden with miracle grow! because when we return home its always massively overgrown and takes days to sort out. The disadvantages of having a lovely cottage garden filled with shrubs, perennials, annuals, climbers and trees.

Have an amazing holiday!

News From A Cottage Garden

Leucanthemum vulgare

News From A Cottage Garden

I can’t believe its been nearly a year since we moved from the big smoke, and what a year in the garden its been. Here are some photos of the garden, well plants, at the moment.

Its so important for the first year of owning your new garden to let it do its thing, wait and see what plants come up, see where the sun casts its shade, where the frost spots are, see which bits collect water and the list goes on. It’s so hard not to be temped to just put a plant here and move a plant there, but as I soon discovered it really does pay to WAIT. This winter I will have alot of plants to move and divide, so that hopefully next year the garden will be well organised and controlled. To be fair we have been away a lot and the garden has had to for the most part look after itself.

Wedding Flowers

Wedding Bouquet

Wedding flowers prep

Picture of wedding flowers before the big day

Wedding Flowers

Being a keen gardener that I am and a passionate flower lover I thought it seemed right that I did my own wedding flowers, this included choosing, ordering and purchasing, unpacking, re hydrating, finding a million buckets to rehydrate, arranging said flowers into pretty jars and bouquets and transporting to the venues. If you are a bride to be and you want some advice and tips this is what I learnt, and see my results. I did have the help of my grandma who actually turned out to have an eye for flower arranging, this definitely helped and two aunts.

Choosing Your Flowers

Only choose flowers you like, obvious I know but you will get caught up in so many flowers to choose. I chose flowers that were in season, Yes I love sunflowers, sweet peas, aquilegia, echinacea to name a few but they are not in season in spring (at the time of our wedding) !!!! With this in mind, bear in mind when you’re getting married! My list of flowers I bought, very naughty but I had to buy from the holland auctions as I couldn’t buy them from the UK because I couldn’t open up an account as a non trader. I used www.trianglenursery.co.uk who I was extremely pleased with, they were very helpful and the flowers were all of good quality

1×25 chrysant san. country

1×50 sweet williams mixed

1×50 iris blue magic

1×50 clematis blue

1×10 peony Kansas

1×10 carnation spr. bridal white

1×20 rose belle rose

1×10 alstroemeria lemon

1×50 astrantia roma

1×20 rose a-1

1×25 tanacetum single vegmo

1×50 alstroemeria mix (short)

1×25 gypsophila gypso king

1×50 anemone galil pastel

1×25 eryngium thistle aquarius questar

1×50 freesia mixed col bunch

1 x20 Lilac Madame Florent Stepman

1 x50 Tulips Rainbow mix Single

We used all the flowers in the above, including extra bits from the garden such as:

  • Moss
  • Dogwood tips branches with leaves
  • Red acer branches leaves
  • Ivy
  • Twisted Hazel branches
  • Silver Birch branches

I had them delivered on the wednesday so they could hydrate on the wednesday ready for me to arrange thursday and friday ready for the big day saturday. All my flowers were in water containers throughout and the bouquets were in water until they were needed on the sat. I would definitely recommend giving them a day to hydrate and two days preparing the flowers, obviously it depends on how many people are helping and how many arrangements you’re doing. My gran, myself and my aunts did the following:

  • 4 Bouquets
  • 14 Crook jars (Large Jars)
  • 30 Table jars (Smaller Jars)
  • 8 Buttonholes
  • 2 Wellies
  • 2 Watering cans
  • 8 Table name jars
  • Flowers for the wooden Crook including the silver birch frame

My top tips for doing your own wedding flowers

  1. I used pinterest and numerous wedding books for ideas and inspiration. Also for rough colour schemes.
  2. Choose flowers in season (what will be flowering at the time of your wedding) not only is it cheaper but its alot more natural.
  3. Only choose flowers you like! and flowers you want to work with, I avoided ones I knew were poisonous eg Euphorbia and Lily of the Valley.
  4. Work out what you want to make eg how many bouquets, button holes etc
  5. I went for the smallest amount I could buy of each flower, however some you may want to use more of. You will never be able to tell how many stems you need for each of the arrangements and also bear in mind that not all the flowers will be out in time, the peonys weren’t out.
  6. Have them delivered with time for you to take into account hydrating them! As soon as your flowers are delivered cut the ends off diagonally I took a centimeter some more, then put them straight into buckets of water. Mine took a day, but if you’re working with them in water and they are staying in water then im sure you can work with them straight away, just keep them in water.
  7. Don’t panic there is always your garden, friends and families gardens to take some flowers and foliage (ask permission first). Then if all else fails you have supermarket flowers.
  8. Don’t try to overdo things, if you aim to do 100 vases, 10 bouquets etc yes this will take a long time, and doing it yourself in a short amount of time will be nearly impossible. Set realistic goals you can always do more if you have time! Do the basics first.
  9. I took all the flowers I wanted for the bouquets first then put them into separate buckets, this meant that I could use all the other flowers for everything else. I didn’t put the bouquet together I just cherry picked the flowers I liked. The putting of the bouquets was done the day before and tied with raffia on the day of the wedding.
  10. Choose a theme to suit you and your flower arranging abilities. Pinterest is great for simple ideas and also some complex ideas. You can always copy.
  11. Finally prepare transportation of your precious works of art, my aunt made dividers within the cardboard boxes which worked perfectly and we managed to transport the flowers in the jars full of water in the car for 20 minute drive.
Flowers ready for travel

Picture of the flowers ready for travel

Good luck! And have an amazing day!

Jobs to do in May

Syringa vulgaris 'Firmament'
May Border

Picture of May Border

Its May already how time flies, all of the trees have now come in to full leaf. I love seeing the lush green leaves, so soft and bright. This is one of those busy months, lots to do in your garden.

Garden Jobs

1) Continue to support with stakes tall perennials such as Delphinium, Paeonia etc also tie up climbers that continue to grow eg Clematis

2) If you are lucky enough to have a green house, now is a good time to fit blinds or apply shade paint to help reduce some of the heat when summer comes.

3) Once the risk of frost has gone, start planing out your summer bedding plants. You can cover with horticultural fleece if the threat of frost is imminent.

4) Keep on the Lilly beetle hunt, they are still around stronger than ever! Get them early will definitely pay off!

5) Don’t forget to cut your lawn once a week, and give it a high nitrogen feed. This helps to keep it green and healthy. Well unless you have Chafer Grubs.

6) Prune spring flowering clematis after they have flowered to help control their size.

7) Water any newly planted trees or shrubs with watering cans or buckets.

8) Start to liquid feed your container plants.

 Veggie Plot To Do List

1) Weed your veggie plots, you don’t want pesky weeds taking all the light and nutrients from your precious veggies! You can either hoe or pull depending on how many their are. Don’t hoe perennial weeds eg Dandelions as they will root from any roots you leave in the ground. Don’t put perennial weeds in your compost bin either.

2) Its Asparagus season, if your lucky enough to be able to grow these then now’s the time to harvest. Cut below the soil level.

3) Protect your ripening strawberries with straw or propriety matting, this helps to keep the fruit clean and reduces the risk of botrytis from contact with the damp soil, also net if you have hungry eager birds watching your strawberries.

4) In your veggie plots start to sow cauliflowers, sprouting broccoli and leeks for harvesting next winter.

5) Once the risk of frost has gone you can plant out your tomatoes, courgettes and pumpkins.

6) If you have planted your potatoes don’t forget to earth them up once foliage starts showing.

7) Start to sow lettuce, beetroot, spinach and radishes successionally in short rows.

Jobs to do April

Magnolia

Jobs to do April

Its April and already Spring is well underway, the Daffodils are slowly going over, the cherry blossom is in full bloom and the magnificent display of magnolia cheers up any grey day. Now is the time if you haven’t already to get out and about into your garden to prepare for the delights of summer.

1) Sweet Peas can be sown directly into the soil now so they will flower later than the ones that were sown earlier under glass.

2) Plant out your summer flowering bulbs and tubers directly into your borders or containers such as Dahlia, Canna, Gladious.

3) On your veggie plots hoe off weed seedlings to prevent them spreading and or taking over your veggie plot and garden. However just be careful about perennial weeds such as dandelions as these will re soot from the cuttings of the hoed mother plant.

4) Re pot your houseplants that have outgrown their pots.

5) Be on the look out for aphid attacks, get them now before they multiply, remember they are born pregnant. For the non squeamish of us squish them if not use an insecticide spray or washing up liquid and water in a spray bottle.

6) Tie in new growth for climbers such as Clematis and Honeysuckle to a supporting wall or trellis.

7) Plant your potatoes, first early, second early and main crop, remember to earth them once new shoots appear.

8) Finish dividing your perennials.

9) You can now start to sow directly in to prepared drills carrots, turnips, peas, beans, beetroot, radish, spinach and lettuce.

10) Prune Chaenomeles and Forsythia after they have finished flowering.

11) From the end of the month watch out for caterpillar like larvae of gooseberry, they will and do every year defoliate our redcurrents, and gooseberrys but they also attack whitecurrents. For some reason they don’t touch the blackcurrants or blackberrys but that might just be our larvae.