Is Spring on the way?

Apparently according to ancient folklore the weather on Candlemas day (February 2nd) predicts whether the winter will continue or Spring is just around the corner.

If the 2nd of February is wet, cold and windy, don’t panic you’re in for a treat and Spring will follow shortly whereas if it’s mild and dry expect another month of cold and harsh conditions because winter is set to continue.

It may feel too early to be thinking about Spring but it is the perfect time for working in the greenhouse. Chrysanthemums, Geraniums and Sweet Peas are ideal to grow from seed and by early March they will start to germinate just in time for the improving light levels.

Cucumber, Tomatoes and Basil are the basis of any great Italian salad, they are simple to grow from seed and February is the best time to get them started in the greenhouse.

If you’ve missed your garden and are eager to get digging then you can sow early varieties of carrots such as Amsterdam Forcing, Broad Beans and Parsnips but you will need to keep them under cloches or in a cold frame, Shallots can also be planted out from the middle of the month and before you know it March will be here and then the work really starts!

So for this month get out in your greenhouse, sow a few seeds and enjoy the relaxed pace of gardening whilst you can!

How to make sure your garden is full of colour next Spring!

spring bulbs

Believe it or not Autumn is officially here and I am already talking about Spring! Forget the dark winter nights, frosty mornings and rainy days and think colourful gardens, birds singing and swaying daffodils and you will be on my wave length!

Seriously the best time to plant your daffodils, crocus and hyacinth is before the first frost, so at the end of September (plant tulips in November), there’s no point wishing your garden looked as colourful as your neighbours in March and April, you need to act now!

First you need to buy your bulbs from a reputable centre and find a good location in your garden. Most hardy bulbs like tulips and daffodils prefer a warm, sunny position with good drainage, you can improve your soil with compost and grit if needs be.

Plant in groups of no less than six, the more in a group the better the display, and follow our easy guide below.

  1. Dig a hole deep & wide enough for your bulbs. Work out the planting depth by roughly measuring the bulb from base to tip and doubling or tripling this length – this figure is the rough planting depth. For example, a 5cm (2in) high bulb should be 10-15cm (4-6in) below soil level
  2. Place the bulbs in the hole with their or shoot (pointy end), facing upwards.
  3. Space them at least twice the bulb’s own width apart.
  4. Replace the soil and gently firm with the back of a rake. Avoid treading on the soil as this can damage the bulbs.

Another great idea is to transform your tired lawn into a fabulous display of colour. Simply throw bulbs up in the air and plant them exactly where they land in the grass. This will make it look as though they have decided to grow there by themselves. Remember to allow plants to die down after flowering before mowing over the lawn, this will give you continued colour year after year.

If you prefer to lift your bulbs after flowering (I advise to do this with any summer bulbs such as arum lilies as they are not hardy enough to withstand the winter), lift and clean once the foliage has died down. Trim back the roots and discard any damaged bulbs.

Lay the bulbs on a tray to dry for 24 hours and then dust lightly with sulphur (from garden centres) to help prevent fungal rots developing and put bulbs in a dry, cool place to store, preferably a metal bulb storage tin to preserve them.

Enjoy your planting, the effort you put in now will pay off next year and your garden will be the envy of all!