Jobs in your garden

Easter is an exciting time in the gardening year. There is so much to do in all areas. Traditionally in the West Country where the weather is milder we rush out to buy our summer bedding plants and risk a late frost to get the first of the summer flowers established. The invention of fleece for plants has made this a real possibility.

This year has been a little different with very cold spells killing off many of the plants that often survive over winter without too much trouble, such as geraniums and shrubby Daturas (Brugsmania).

My advice is to keep a careful check on the predicted weather and fleece your plants when a frost is forecast or leave your planting until a little later as the plants will catch up as the soil temperatures increase.

If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse you can start to plant your hanging baskets and get them really well established in the comfort of the glasshouse. They will soon fill the space given and will be a wealth of colour when they are finally put out in May. There are so many new and interesting plants that can now be bought to furnish them and these will go right through until late autumn if carefully watered and fed through the summer months.

With the introduction of the patio heater it is now possible to have outdoor parties and barbecues much more often than before and it is a great time to be thinking ahead to the months to come by planting pots of vegetables and herbs around the patio. These can be used to flavour your fish and meat dishes whilst you relax in the heat of your chrome topped outdoor heat source. Imagine picking your own thyme and parsley from the pots within yards of the barbecue or even sitting down in the heat of the summer and eating a pot grown peach warmed by the sun. I even pick my own lemons grown on small trees that sit right next to our chairs. These are great with grilled seafood. The scent from the citrus flowers is awesome!



Things to do in April

  1. Plant out sweet peas now for a great show

  2. Cut lawns on a regular basis

  3. Feed roses and shrubs with the appropriate feeds

  4. Spray roses against Blackspot and mildew.

  5. Sow salad crops such as lettuce and swiss chard

  6. Plant your tomatoes and cucumbers in growbags

  7. Pot up your begonia tubers into their final pots and protect from frosts

  8. Finally take very opportunity to sit out in the spring sunshine.

Plant of the month

Chatham Island forget-me-not

This fabulous plant, with its huge, shiny, deeply veined leaves and large, pale to dark blue forget-me-not flowers, has now thrived with other borderline tender subjects for several years in the warm, sheltered conditions of The Old Kitchen Garden to the rear of Rosemoor House in Lady Anne's Garden.


This genus contains one species of evergreen perennial from the wet, windswept Chatham Islands off the east coast of New Zealand.

It has thick, fleshy stems and leaves; the leaves are mid-green, simple and glossy and look rather like small rhubarb leaves.

The flowers are like those of a forget-me-not.