There have been deluges of rain, terrible floods for many in other parts of the country & more recently the Corona virus. It’s very concerning, but maybe this could be the wake-up call we need, to make changes to the way we live? I’m not sure yet what changes could be made to avoid these situations, but just stopping & thinking about it all is a good starting point.
Meanwhile I’m out in the garden as often as possible. There’s something comforting about keeping up with regular tasks, especially when they take you outside. Apparently daylight, especially at mid-morning, is good for your regulating your Circadian Rythm, & helping you sleep well.
I’m gradually getting my vegetable plot ready & have started sowing & planting. I hope you’re finding time to get your plans underway? My vegetable garden is small, so I can’t grow huge numbers. Instead I’m going mostly for plants that are packed with flavour & also not easily available in the shops. One of my biggest motivators, is that whatever I grow will be guaranteed organic & fresh.
Fresh herbs add flavour to just about everything. With this in mind, I’m sowing flat-leaved parsley & Coriander. I’ll sow them in big, shallow pots to be placed by the kitchen door. They’ll stay in the cold-frame protecting them from varying day-night temperatures, until they’ve become strong & sturdy. I’ll sow Dill & Basil next month, when the weather is a little milder.
Gooseberry bushes, & other berries, need covering with netting to keep the birds off. I left it too late one year & it was so disappointing. Though I was also a little in awe of how a bush can be completely stripped of fruit overnight.
Birds need a helping hand:
This may sound converse given the gooseberry experience, but I do want to encourage birds into the garden. They’re such a great ally for organic gardeners. One good thing to do, as birds start serious nest building is to provide nesting materials. The dried clippings of pruned grasses, bits of moss, off-cuts of garden twine & wool are all good for this. Continuing to put out water & bird food will also be welcome, making your garden an attractive proposition.
Plants in Pots:
I’m giving my permanent pots of plants a boost this month. Soil in pots gets compacted over time, resulting in water not being absorbed into the soil. It flows through quickly taking nutrients with it. A gentle scraping off of the top couple of inches of soil (taking care to avoid any surface roots) & replacing it with fresh compost works wonders.
It’s the last month to prune shrub roses. Give them a feed of non-chemical fertiliser such as blood, fish & bone, & mulch round the base of the plant with compost, to encourage new growth. Take care not to cover the stem with compost.
I’m talking about hardy geraniums, angelica, verbascum, these are mostly plants that die back every year, though some, like Bergenia, are evergreen. It’s a good time to plant & let them settle in ready to perform later in the year.
I’ve just cut back perennials, Perovskia (Russian Sage, not from Russia or a Sage, but that’s common names for you)* & Penstemon in my garden, leaving about 8in/20cm of growth in place.
I’ve got Cornus cericea ‘Flaviramea’ in a sunken bed that serves as a drainage area, for excess rainwater in my garden. It’s a small version of a Rain Garden, it was well-used last month!
The Cornus are well established, so I cut them down to about 10in/25cm, the new, bright growth looks fabulous.
Nip over to Higgledy Garden online shop to buy flower seeds, & there are tips about how to sow & grow.
- Russian Sage, was named by a Russian botanist after a Russian Governor, & is thought to be called Sage because the grey aromatic leaves are reminiscent of that plant. So although botanical names are a bit bulky at times, they are accurate & also the same all over the world, which is handy.
Enjoy being out in your garden,
All photos: Jill Anderson