Green Fingers in Spring
Down at Caves Folly Nursery in Colwall, Bridget is preparing the garden for the coming season and finding ways to support wildlife.
Spring is here, it is wonderful to know that nature is consistent and we are at the beginning of a new growing season.
With so many wildflower habitats disappearing through intensive farming, our gardens are so important. I like to think of our collective gardens as a People’s National Park. Each garden can provide vital food for pollinators and therefore the other creatures which feed on them.
I have been working with the National Botanic Garden of Wales over the past year or so, helping them with their Saving Pollinators Assurance Scheme. Research led by the National Botanic Garden of Wales studies which plants pollinators forage on and promotes the sale of garden plants that are grown without peat and without synthetic pesticides.
Twenty three growers and nurseries have already signed up to the scheme (including us!) and will be displaying the pollinator label. This is important as gardens can provide a rich larder of nectar and pollen for pollinating insects.
This is a project close to my heart as it is not only providing a symbol of assurance to the public but providing concrete scientific evidence to the horticultural industry to improve growing practices, working with nature to encourage a natural balance.
Ask at your garden centre about where their plants come from and whether they are sprayed with chemicals. I expect many will have no idea, but at least it will make them question the provenance of the plants they buy in.
Meanwhile there are lots of jobs to get on with in the garden.
In the ornamental garden you can direct sow annuals such as cosmos, cornflower, sun flowers, pollinator mixes. Plant summer flowering bulbs such as Eucomis, lillies and nerines. Clip hard or prune evergreen shrubs and hedges such as Photinia, Hebe, Mahonia. Fill containers with new compost and plant up summer bedding in May. Prune early spring flowering shrubs after they have flowered. Cut perennials such as Penstemons, Gaura, Lavandula back hard in April.
In the kitchen garden it’s time to sow seeds such as brassicas directly into seed beds. Leave carrots, chard, beetroot and other direct sown seeds until the soil warms up a bit in May. Tender plants such as Beans, peas, cucumber, tomatoes etc. can be sown in modules and kept in the greenhouse or on a window-sill until all risk of frost has gone.
Think about the needs of wildlife as well. Last spring many ‘trigger happy’ gardeners were strimming and hedge cutting everything in sight! To avoid any disruption to nesting birds and bumblebees, allow your hedges to remain unpruned until after nesting time. There’s also a special present for the bees available at our nursery! We are giving out a limited amount of free packets of ‘seeds to attract pollinators’ to any children interested in gardening and nature. Come along to the nursery and get gardening!
Bridget runs Caves Folly Nurseries on Evendine Lane in Colwall (WR13 6DX). They are open from March until October, Thursdays to Saturdays from 10 - 5. You can contact them on 01684 540631 or visit their website: