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Green Fingers in April/May

Down at Caves Folly Nursery in Colwall, Bridget is getting ready for the RHS Malvern Spring Festival.

Spring is here at last! In the nursery we are up to our ears with plants and preparing for the RHS Malvern Spring Festival between Thursday 10th and Sunday 13th May. Space is at a premium and it is a juggling act trying to keep plants in tunnels from going ‘leggy’ or getting frosted!

Spring is a busy and exciting time for gardeners, with the anticipation of the scents and colours of the summer ahead. As well as creating a beautiful garden for ourselves we can help our wild bees and other pollinators that are in decline, by providing pollen for each season. By choosing nectar and pollen-rich plants that flower over a long season, gardeners can help support their numbers.

Suitable winter plants include Galanthus (snowdrop) Helleborous, Lonicera x purpusii (winter honeysuckle), Sarcococca, Ericas and early bulbs such as crocus and Scilla.

Early spring provides a huge selection of bulbs. Erysimum, Primulas, and shrubs such as Hamamelis, Cytisus and skimmia. Prunus sub. Autumnalis (winter cherry) and many of the early crab apples such as Malus Red Sentinel.

Summer/Autumn is full of perennials, biennials and annuals. Shrubs such as Buddleja, Philadelphus, Choisya, Cotoneaster and Spiraea. Perennials include Aquilegia, Leucanthemum, Campanula, Echinacea, Hemerocalis, Penstemons and Delphinium. Biennials include Digitalis, Nigella, Limnanthes, Calendula, Hesperis.
Annuals that attract pollinators include Cosmos, Cornflowers, Dahlia, Zinnia, Statice, Nicotiana and Malope.

Seed sowing

When the soil has warmed up start to sow vegetables and annual flowers. Many plants, both ornamental and edible can either be sown directly into seedbeds or first raised in pots then transplanted. Many plants such as carrots, parsnips and annuals such as Ammi majus and Eschscholzia are all better sown directly into the soil. Don’t be tempted to sow too early, wait until the soil has warmed up and prepare well with a fine tilth and added compost.

If you have to sow in modules first, plant the plants out when they are small so as not to disturb the roots too much. Containers can be planted in May with summer bedding to get plants well established for a long flowering period. Keep some fleece ready to cover tender flowers and vegetable plants from frosts.

This year we will have been exhibiting at the Malvern show for 33 years! Come and visit us (we are by the West gate) and enjoy the amazing selection of plants and gardens on offer. It really is inspiring to see so many visitors caring about the environment and creating their own little bit of paradise.

Bridget runs Caves Folly Nursery on Evendine Lane in  Colwall (WR13 6DX). They are open from 8th March until October, Thursdays to Saturdays from 10 - 5. You can contact them on 01684 540631 or visit their website: