11th April 2016
Suddenly, seemingly overnight, the winter battered, bare earth surface of the garden's soil has erupted with the pointed beaks of bulbs and the ever expanding, fresh green rosette of awakening perennials.
The wallflowers and sweet Williams who have been stood like half dead sticks all winter long against the wind and rain, have undressed their battered attire and changed into their fresh, spring wardrobes in preparation for their flowering graduations.
The courtyard garden has taken on a green carpet very quickly this spring, due to me planting it last summer with many herbaceous perennials and hundreds of bulbs. The blossom buds on the outstretched arms of the espaliered pears on the garden walls grow fatter as the daylight hours become ever longer.
In the courtyard, the planted cattle troughs are splatted with a rich, lemon yellow, given off by the now in flower Narcissi ‘Vip Van Winkle’, which is like an eccentric star made up from tissue paper. The roses that I planted last autumn are coming into bud now, and are surrounded by emerging tulips called ‘Gentle Giants’.
In the greenhouse the potting benches are suddenly groaning with the weight of dozens of seed trays upon them, and the floor is covered in pots of awakening dahlias. I’m really looking forward to growing several new varieties of dahlias this year. Many of them I saw in Sarah Raven’s trial garden last summer.
The Buff Orpington chicks, who hatched on the 1st of March, are often to be found under the rosemary bushes exploring and dustbathing. Six adult hens, several of which I hatched at the factory last year, have returned to the hen house this spring too. It is lovely to have the company of hens once again while gardening.
Jobs in Garden for this month –
Plant oriental lily bulbs now, either in deep pots or in the ground. These bulbs need good drainage so add grit to their planting holes.
Sow seeds of Cosmos now. ‘Purity’ is a delicate white while ‘Rubenza’ is a deep cherry liquor red. Cosmos are the best and easiest annual cut flowers to grow! Sow sunflowers at the end of April, so that they flower right into October and can be planted out quickly into the garden – My favourite is ‘Valentine’ which is the best cut flower.
Gather silver birch and hazel before it comes into leaf now, so that you can create beautiful and natural looking plant stakes for free!
Check the hen house each week from now until the autumn for red mite. This is a nocturnal parasite that hides under the hen’s perches and sucks their blood while they sleep! Dust the perches and nesting boxes Diatomaceous earth to prevent them affecting your hens.
Please do come and see the garden over the coming weeks as the colours will only intensify as spring progresses, and why not make a full day of garden visits - by visiting the garden here then driving onto the nearby Trentham gardens, about a 15- minute drive from the factory for a true tulip extravaganza!
Happy Gardening and thanks for reading – Arthur
11th April 2016