The transition between winter and summer reaches it peak in April and May but not without it’s challenges.
What is hardy enough to plant now?
Do I wait a few weeks?
Hardy Garden Plants
We aim to only offer hardy garden plants that are ready to plant at the time we display them. To do this we make sure that our suppliers haven’t kept them in heated greenhouses or in cold greenhouses that have been too hot. Slightly tender evergreens such as Ceanothus – the Californian Lilac, is always overwintered under cover, and will have needed to be this year. However if delivered and planted too early it could be damaged by late frost. With this in mind we tend to hold our deliveries back until it’s warmer – consistently warmer that is.
Herbaceous perennials, sometimes called cottage garden plants are romping away now and grow rapidly to achieve the height in anticipation of the flush of flowers. Plant then now.
Herbs : are arriving in great numbers and are suitable for planting in pots and ‘warmed’ soils. Since many of these plants originate from southern Europe later planting is recommended in this period. We stock the hardiest types first than gradually introduce the more tender varieties such as Tarragon. As for Basil – we recommend that it’s not grown outside in our region. Grow it with the protection of a clear cover such as a greenhouse, cloche or conservatory for the best results. Alternatively sow basil seeds in seed trays every few weeks and ‘mow’ the seedlings with a pair of scissors straight from the seed tray and use them in your cooking.
Annual Herbs, such as Coriander, need to be sown later and they must not dry out nor be swamped with water. This causes a ‘check’ to growth and the plants ‘panic’ forcing them to produce their flowers and hence their seeds. Their response is that they ‘think’ they are about to die. These annuals would also benefit from small, regular sowing in seeds trays as for Basil.
Late Frosts – The beauty of the British climate is that the influence of the sea around our coasts means we aren’t frozen in winter for months and this enables us to grow plants that ‘continental weather’ wouldn’t allow. Areas such as central Europe and Canada can’t grow the range of plants we can. However, we can then experience sudden weather changes that produce late and very hard frosts. This can damage the young foliage of plants such as Acers, Hydrangeas, and Forsythias. This brings us neatly to..
Tender Summer Bedding Plants
We love our summer colour but for the best results the tender summer bedding plants first of all need to acclimatise from greenhouse growing to summer temperatures and also avoid the hard late frosts. The best way to have the best results is to wait to the later stages to plant straight into the garden. Plants that are ready for the plating conditions in mid to late May grow quicker and faster than those that are planted to early and suffer a ‘check’ from the cold air and soils. This aplies to tender vegetables such as tomatoes too.
Hanging Baskets and Pots can be planted in advance of their final destination if you can protect them from the cold. a ventilated cold green house o conservatory is ideal and as time advances bring then outside in the day time and back into the protection over night if you can.