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  • Writer's pictureDebi Holland

Garden News April

My big project has been renovating our veg patch. After digging out our feral strawberries I took delivery of a bulk bag of mulch and roped in my teenage son to wheelbarrow this brown gold to the bed on Mother’s Day. Love the result. This will suppress weeds, hold moisture and feed the soil.

I’ve transplanted some potted ornamentals. As our summers get increasingly warmer I’m cutting down the number of pots to water and getting as many plants as possible in the ground so they can fend for themselves.

Numerous Digitalis pupurea, foxgloves litter the bed, and I was given a clump of Digitalis parviflora 'milk chocolate' which I’m hoping thrives. Looking forward to echinops, salvias, heuchera and geums getting their roots in! Rhubarb rears its head from the chimney pot and dahlia tubers rest underground. I’ve planted golden oregano and a large rosemary bush, chives and lemon balm have emerged green and strong from the soil, kale will soon join them.

A friend gave me a potted mystery plant a couple of years ago and we came to the conclusion it was a plum tree after a glorious harvest of precisely one plum! Hoping to improve that this year, we have planted the tree in the ground. Pampered with mycorrhizal fungi, water and seaweed I’m happy to say it burst into bloom this week, covered in flowers!

I’ve grown ‘Early Mammoth Mixed, King Sized Navy Blue and ‘Top to Bottom’ sweet peas in toilet roll tubes to promote strong roots but due to mice I have to grow indoors rather than in the cooler climes of the greenhouse. The heat enviably makes seedlings leggy, even with pinching out but not problem, here’s the hack, I dug deep holes around our obelisk and sunk the tubes in, this extra depth took up the excess stem length so that stocky shoots emerge from the ground! I’ve direct sown sweet pea seed in the gaps between seedlings to infill and stagger the flowering season. Determined to not lose these I put a circle of PlantGrow slug and snail plantbased organic wildlife-safe natural barrier round the obelisk. Hopefully this will ward off curiosity! I will be also cooking up some homemade garlic spray to keep ‘pests’ at bay.

I planted ‘Purple magnolia’ pea seedlings round my other obelisk and direct sown more seed around the base for a successional harvest. Here I am trying Grazers Slug & Snail spray, again completely harmless to wildlife, pets and children and also organic. So hopefully they will stay in one piece.

I always check my greenhouse plants for damage or ailments. I discovered the ‘Mrs Pollock’ pelargonium cutting had a lodger! A cabbage white butterfly had taken up residence and was shamelessly munching away. I let it continue… if you want butterflies in your garden you have to nurture the caterpillars!

Herb pots have flourished on the kitchen windowsill: coriander, flat-leafed parsley, parsley ‘Champion’ and basil are now ready for recipes. I have also sown microgreens for the first time. Basil dark opal is germinating.

Highlight: The golden blooms of forsythia, tulips and hyacinths. Explosion of colour! And our first fire pit of the year!

Photos © Debi Holland


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