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Green Fingers in Early Spring

Down at Caves Folly Nursery in Colwall, Bridget reflects on the importance of introducing young people  to the natural world.

My mum died recently and I have been reflecting on her influence on me for the past 60 years. She shared her love of the natural world and gardens with me from the very beginning. As a child I have happy memories of wandering the hills identifying wildflowers, birds and animals. We were always outside building dens or playing. All these activities moulded my personality and instilled a deep passion for my natural surroundings.

It is so important to teach this to young people. The future of our countryside will be in their hands and having a connection at a young age will help them to understand and respect the natural world in the future.

February and March are the gateway to Spring and a perfect time to involve young members of the family in the garden. There are signs of nature awakening and the daylight increasing – it’s time to plan for the future growing season and make the most of the mild weather to get any border preparation finished and construct landscape features.

If you have family or friends who enjoy being outside, encourage them to help with jobs in the garden. Participating in practical jobs can help create an easy environment in which to communicate and share problems and feelings. 
It can also be lots of fun.

Just being outside in a natural environment can increase the body’s absorption of Vitamin D and it also helps to relax the mind and body. There is no need to pay a fortune at the gym as working in the garden is free!

There is lots of preparation to do in the garden and excitement at the prospect of warm days with lots of colour and scents. 

Here are some jobs to think about:

  • Weed seedlings as they start to emerge. Early control helps prevent establishment. 
  • Dig out perennial weeds and hoe regularly. Mulching can help keep annual weed seedlings down.
  • Plant spring containers with pots of bulbs, primula, violas and wallflowers.
  • Dig out and divide any perennials that need reducing in size.
  • Prune roses, lavender and penstemon to encourage new growth.
  • Prepare seed beds for sowing annuals directly.
  • Grow on tender plants in a greenhouse or on the windowsill to get ahead of the weather. Remember these young plants require high light levels when germinated.
  • Harden off all seedlings for about three weeks before planting out.

In the Kitchen Garden:

  • Prepare a fine seedbed for sowing new crops.
  • Mulch fruit crops such as raspberries, strawberries, currants etc.
  • Sow tomatoes, peppers, courgettes, aubergines, cucumbers etc. in a heated greenhouse.
  • Sow hardy veg such as cabbage, cauliflower, calabrese. Onions seeds can be sown out now.

Finally, don’t forget the wildlife. Many creatures will be coming out of hibernation and a bit sleepy, so remove piles of leaves and twigs with care. Carry on feeding the birds, they use up lots of energy mating!

Bridget

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:
www.cavesfolly.com