Melanie Dool’s gardening column in association with Orchardstown Garden Centre
APRIL is a very important month in the calendar for anyone wishing to grow plants this season.
The time for dawdling or procrastinating is over and a big effort has to be made to make a start, especially if you want to grow some fruit or vegetables.
If you wish to discard the edible crops and concentrate on flowers, then you have a month to decide what you would like in the way of pots, containers, window boxes and hanging baskets. The least troublesome are all the ground based containers, as window boxes and hanging baskets dry out faster and need more attention. While many of the flowers are readily available now, there will be a better selection from May and, of course, the danger of frost is almost gone at that stage.
There are many obvious changes in April, with the clock changing, more light, warmer days and if we have a majority of dry days, all the better. I should think these conditions give everyone a spiritual and physical lift, and energy and enthusiasm seems to come in leaps and bounds. Within the current restrictions we embrace this by walking, exploring and cycling whenever we can and luckily for many of us, the greenway cuts a path through the whole county making it possible for a majority of locals to enjoy this facility on their doorstep.
I have said it before and I will repeat it again, and it is that I feel the longest day near the end of June comes too soon for us to fully appreciate it as after that the days get shorter. I should like it to be when I am ready, which is about a month later, as up until then I, and most gardeners, are so busy getting plants prepared that the special day passes us by barely noticed.
Basically, our season is relatively short being stuck so far north and that means we must not delay in getting our plants established, in order to give them enough time to reach maturity or hardiness before the winter. Many knowledgeable gardeners I know put a huge effort into this time, then relax from the sanctuary of a reclining seat for around six weeks from late June, and then they are back into harvesting.
Hope & Glory
“Hope springs eternal” and this is certainly a time for hope to appear as we ride the wave of enthusiasm for the next few weeks until around July when reality sets in. If we have put enough effort in, the results should be showing around mid-summer and we can look with pride at all the plants that are flourishing. If you are new to the game or hobby of gardening and are unsure of what to do or where to plant, just ask and that will avoid mistakes.
TIP OF THE WEEK
I do take my time with any planting I do as I know it is in the preparation that the future success will show. Still, I do not know why it is surprising, but sometimes I am surprised to see a particular plant in its full glory of hundreds of flowers and I marvel at the miracle of nature. I get the same feeling when harvesting home grown vegetables such as peas, beans, carrots, beetroots, tomatoes and fruit like apples, pears (some years), plums, raspberries and strawberries. The message is to get out there and have a go at growing some plants for yourself. If you have any queries or comments you are welcome to share them with me on 051-384273 or [email protected] and if of general interest I will include it in a future article.