Garden heaven

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I HAD a wonderful weekend. I was in the garden all day Sunday and on Saturday morning working in a friend’s garden at 7.30am.

It was pure gardening heaven. Barry’s garden is fairly big so there’s plenty to do.

Barry and Sandra also love gardening and have cut down willow and dogwoods to a few buds from the base and they will be rewarded with lovely stems later in the year.

A job that did need doing was tidying up some Pieris plants in pots.

Some of the branches were old and weak. I cut all the bad stuff out so the plant can put all its energies into building new leaves.

Pieris can get hit by the winter weather and leaves can go brown. A lot of this is caused by the plants drying out.

If you have a Peiris and yours was like Barry’s, take all the unsightly leaves off and give them a ericaceous feed. Then I added compost to the containers because they needed topping up as well.

I also did the same with his Rhododendrons. They are budding up nicely and look very healthy. I also spent a good 40 minutes weeding. It was so therapeutic, I loved it!

It’s a great time to get out the nasties like creeping buttercup and docks and the really difficult weed couch grass, which once it gets established is very hard to get rid of because it produces underground stems.

I got quite a bit out, a really pleasing job and the borders will benefit from my hard work later in the year.

My own garden needed a good tidy so, 9am on Sunday morning, I got the grass cutter out for the first time this year, the blades set reasonably high so not to scalp the grass.

I love the fresh smell of cut grass and my lawn looked better for a haircut.

I then took the dead leaves and stems of my Penstemons, but left enough foliage on to protect from a sudden freeze.

Remember, even though it’s been so mild, it could change. So do not cut your penstemons back to ground level until the end of April.

I collected loads of leaves which were around all my plants in the border of the front garden – it’s a good idea to compost them.

With it been really dry recently, my spring bedding plants looked like they needed a boost, so I gave them water and a feed with Tomorite.

As I write this article a few days later after watering them they look so much better.

Then myself and Jo went into the back garden, I weeded and dug over my veg raised bed.

I also dug in manure which will really helps the vegetables I grow in the raised bed this year.

Jo tidied up loads of pots we have, I have overwintered pelargoniums and begonias inside. I left some of my Dahlias in pots, outside the ones in the garden border have survived so maybe a lot of protection from all the leaves in the border helped.

I have lost a few dahlias in pots though to the weather. We also re-potted a Hydrangea, a Hebe and you can tell how mild the winter has been as a Cordyline (purple Leaf) has survived and looks really good in our sheltered area in the back garden.

I took quite a few cuttings of Cistus, Sedums, Euonymous and in Barry’s garden I was weeding by the crocosmia and a few corms were visible. Crocosmia needs splitting from time to time because they do take over a border if not kept in check.

So I asked Barry if I could have some and he kindly said yes. I will grow them on this year.

I had a wonderful weekend in the garden and in my book there is nothing better when the weather is good and spring is in the air. I class myself very fortunate to spend a whole weekend doing what I love.

And yes weeding as well because when you get rid of the weeds the garden looks so tidy. And I wonder, like me and Barry, have you got lots of ladybirds in your garden?

It’s very early for them but I found them under leaves and on branches of plants.

Gardening tip – Take softwood cuttings now. It’s also a great time to root perennial sunflowers from root cuttings because they root so easily and you will have an established plant by July.