Wednesday, April 27, 2022

A stunning spalsh of Azaleas. 

THE incidence and severity of frost varies according to where you live in the country and, within your area, the micro-climate that occurs in various parts of your garden. You can control your own micro-climate to a degree using a few gardening aids such as screening, shelter and covering.

Wait or go

There is always a period of uncertainty as to whether to wait until after May 7 until you plant out tender vegetables and flowers as, the risk of frost always hangs over your decision. In actual fact we find planting after that date results in stronger growth which passes out the earlier plants who have had a setback. In any case, there is about six weeks of prime time ahead in which you can sow and plant all sorts of vegetables, herbs and flowers.

Permanent pots

It is a common enough request that people ask for plants suitable for containers that will last for years without much attention, instead of having to fill up containers each year with bedding, annual and patio flowers. The short answer is that it is not practical as both options are different as the permanent plants might have a short flowering period but have leaves at least during the growing season whereas, the summer plants will flower soon after planting and last until the autumn with watering and some feeding. Some permanent plants might include Lavender, Azalea (pictured), Maple, Pieris, Choisya and Alpines.

Summer flowers

The fashion for summer flowers changes all the time but, it is your choice so plant whatever you like. Traditionally, summer flowers were planted in large groups in the soil around the garden with only a very few in pots bar window boxes and hanging baskets. It has all changed to planting in containers of all sorts with only a few planted in isolated beds in the ground.

Ground plants

I think there is a place for a small group of summer flowers in selected places around the garden and could comprise planting nine of a similar type 10cm (4”) apart. All you have to do is water them in, protect from slugs and snails for a few weeks and then feed them once a month and sit back and enjoy the flowers which will appear shortly afterwards. Plants suitable for this system include Marigold, Verbena, Ageratum, Mimulus and the lovely Snap Dragons which can last for more than one year.

Container flowers

Suitable plants for containers include the trailers like Surfinias, Calibrachoa, Cascadia (all trailing Petunias), Bidens (Blazing Fire, Yellow Charm), Ivy leaved Geranium and Bacoba (violet, white, blue or pink). Possible centre pieces include Fuchsia, Cosmos, Argyranthemum, Pelargonium and Begonia.


Wildflower seeds can be sown from now on and, ideally, require a weed free area where they can establish without competition from tough weeds such as nettles or grass.

There are many packs in the market which contain over 30 varieties of wildflowers and cover 13 square metres. You just scatter the seeds evenly as you can, rake in and then wait for suitable conditions to see the seeds germinate. Do not bother watering the seed in as it does not help germination but, be patient, wait and let nature take over.


We finished feeding the birds a few weeks ago and had let the food run out so they could concentrate on obtaining natural sources but, we did a few top ups in between so there was not a sudden stop to their readily available wild bird seed, peanuts and niger. We have planted our tomatoes, peppers in the tunnel and will follow this with the cucumbers in a week when conditions are warmer. 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 newsletter.

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