April Gardening Gossip
27th March 2017
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Action Stations! 

Make a new lawn from seed. Johnson high quality 1 Fastest Formula germinates within a week. Cut it with blades set high when it’s 3in long to help it knit together. 

Support tall border perennials with canes, metal grids or lock-together rods before new shoots lengthen and are damaged by gusty winds. 

Coat the sunniest side of a greenhouse with shading paint to temper hot sunshine which can shrivel seedlings. 

Repot indoor azaleas in loam-based ericaceous compost when roots grow through drainage holes. Set plants outdoors for summer in a shady spot in late May. 

Using strong gloves, twist suckers from hybrid tea and floribunda roses. Suckers have seven leaflets; varietal shoots have five. 

Sow lettuce, peas, carrots, kohl rabi, spring onions, parsnips, spinach, Swiss chard and turnips in crumbly, ideally, cloche-warmed soil. 

 

Plant of the month 

Chocolate vine

A scrambling Asian beauty also known as Akebia quinata, it enthralls us with a wealth of spicy scented sprays of deep purple cup-shaped blooms. Questing stems are happiest enmeshing an arch or trellis.

If you purchase two plants, one of each sex, a long hot summer will reward you with large sausage or kidney-shaped seed pods.

Introduced by Robert Fortune in 1845, it’s a gem no garden should be without.   

Its cousin, a trifoliata, whose blooms are equally enchanting, has larger, more rounded leaves. Grow both and enjoy a memorable spring. 

My favourite, because it’s dramatically different, is ‘White Chocolate’. Discovered in South Korea by Caernafon-based Crug Farm Plants, its vanilla scented white to pale purple flowers are followed by whitish fruits. 

 

Sobering thought 

We’re lucky. Because it’s well stocked with sunflower hearts, fat cake, halved coconuts and raisins, our bird feeder is home to darting birds and joyous plumage.   A dining room for bullfinches, chaffinches, siskins, hedge sparrows, greater spotted woodpeckers and blackbirds, and fieldfares in winter, our binoculars are never still.

Sadly, intensive agriculture is ‘sterilising’ Britain’s countryside. Indeed, The State of Nature report indicates that around 123 farmland birds are facing extinction and hundreds more are at serious risk.

How can we reverse this trend?  With difficulty, I fear.  As my neighbour sagely observed: “There are too many people in this world.” 

 

Well-fed thoughts 

Pleasingly, thanks to Melania Trump’s love of gardening, the White House kitchen garden created by Michelle Obama, has won a stay of execution.

In a statement to CNN, Stephanie WinstonWolkoff, the First Lady’s senior advisor, said that Melania has a deep personal commitment to her role as caretaker and nurturer and vows to preserve the garden and the many beautiful roses close by. 

 

Words of wisdom 

In our new series about accomplished lady gardeners renowned for making horticulture a much loved pursuit, our focus this month is on Margery Fish. 

Born in 1893, she established a beautiful cottage garden at East Lambrook Manor, Martock, Somerset.

‘My idea of a good ground-cover plant is one that has foliage all year round… and is easy to control. It must have a slightly invasive disposition, but should not go burrowing feet down.

I have seen ordinary wild woodruff looking lovely in shady part of the garden. Another is Phuopsis stylosa, which has small tufts of pink flowers at the end of every long trail. London pride is another good commoner which does well in poor soils’.

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Martin D

Member since: 10th July 2012

Hi, if we have yet to meet, my name is Martin and I have been running the Best of Farnham for 11 years.

My aim is to promote and champion only the best of businesses throughout the area, helping with...

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