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Green Fingers

Spring is just around the corner and Bridget Evans from Cave’s Folly Nursery in Colwall says it’s time to prepare your garden.

It is a great comfort to know that Brexit hasn’t changed the regular cycles of nature and the routine jobs in the garden are still the same! This time of year can be cold and miserable, but the signs of Spring are starting and in a few weeks the sun will gain some warmth and the ground will explode with life.

It is time to sow seeds in the greenhouse or on the windowsill and to prepare the soil outside for direct sowing in the borders and the veg garden. Sowing seeds early indoors is a great way to increase the flowering time of annuals or the yield of vegetables.

Damping off (seedlings collapsing and dying) can be a problem especially when raising seeds in the house. There are several causes including high humidity, low air movement, thickly sown seed or unclean seed trays and modules. All these conditions are easily rectified by cultural controls. Always harden plants of for a couple of weeks before planting out and avoid frosts.

Plant annuals undercover in modules, such as Cosmos, Cornflower, Larkspur, Nemesia or Zinia to gain longer flowering period in the borders. Vegetable plants such as broad beans, mixed salad leaves, lettuce, brassicas and peas can be raised early. Tomatoes can be sown in February only in a frost free greenhouse.

If you have a small garden, why not try going upwards? Grow some exotic annual climbers to go up the fence or through an existing conifer or shrub. Climbers such as Rhodochiton atrosanguineus with its long pink pendulous flowers, or another South American plant Ecremocarpus scaber with red, pink or orange tubular flowers.

There is plenty to get on with outside too:

• Clear perennial weeds and hoe regularly. A few minutes each week will keep them under control before the season gets into full swing

• Divide old woody perennial clumps and top dress with compost

• You can still plant bare-root hedging, roses, fruit trees

• Cut back Cornus and Salix to the base (leaving 2 or 3 buds)

• Prune summer flowering deciduous shrubs such as Buddleja, Lavandula, Santolina, Hydrangea and Lavatera

In the vegetable garden:

• Seed beds need working down and a general fertiliser such as blood fish and bone added to the soil

• Add a mulch to tree and cane fruit to retain the moisture during the summer

• Plant garlic cloves

If you have not sown any seeds before why not have a go this Spring? After 38 years in horticulture I still marvel at the miracle of tiny seeds developing into plants of all shapes and sizes.

Bridget

You can find Caves Folly Nursery on Evendine Lane in Colwall, WR13 6DX

01684 540631 | Open from: 9 March 2017 | Thu - Fri 10 - 5 | www.cavesfolly.com