Friday 24th April 2020

Lockdown continues. Baby Boomers have become Baby Zoomers. Times are strange, but in the Garden House garden? – well, it just keeps on growing and doing its thing.

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Plant ident.

Tulip acuminata

Not Tulip ‘Hakuna Matata’, although your troubles will certainly disappear once you acquire and contemplate it flowering in your garden.

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This spidery, delicate beauty is a perennial species tulip.  A bit spendy, but so worth it.  Why not invest some money in these bulbs and experience for yourself the frenzy of the seventeenth century’s tulip mania?

Allium cowanii

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Garden House rates this hardy perennial as a ‘good doer’. It very usefully appears just as the tulips go over.  About 40 cms in height, sprays of pure white flowers are held aloft supported by wiry stems. Long-lasting, good as cut flowers and a magnet for pollinators, planted en masse they are super duper.

Rosa banksiae ‘Lutescens’

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A near thornless, rambling rose and one of the very earliest to flower. Growing to about 10 m, it produces small, single, scented yellow flowers.  At Garden House, it’s situated on the terrace, where it provides a spectacular display in April / May.  Prune after flowering to shape and to keep in check. R. banksiae ‘Lutea’ is a double-flowered version of this.

Erysimum cheiri ‘Old School’

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A beautiful short-lived perennial wallflower, which flowers for months on end. Soft yellows, mauves and purples combine to great effect and make a wonderful planting in full sun on their own or, better still, interplanted with tulips.  Plant densely and in quantity to generate maximum admiration.

Myrrhis odorata

Sweet cicely is a terrific option for dry shade.  An aromatic, herbaceous perennial, it has umbels of white, frothy flowers and fern-like leaves.  Can be used as a sweetener when cooking rhubarb or the leaves can be added to salads – they have a mild aniseed flavour.

Lunaria annua ‘Chedglow’

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This glorious Honesty cultivar was featured in the blog for 3/4/20, and look at it now!

Tasks for the week:

Apply liquid feed to growing annuals and also to tender perennials like salvias and pelargoniums, such as Pelargonium tomentosum

Begin hardening off plants which are growing under cover.  Take them out during the day and tuck them back up at night until the temperature is reliably warm
Prune evergreens once all danger of frost has passed; Eleagnus, Euonymous, Box and Viburnum tinus will all respond happily to haircuts now. Water and feed them too.
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Prune spring flowering shrubs such as Kerria, Forsythia and Honeysuckle once they have finished flowering
Sow salad crops in bowls, colanders and boxes.  Don’t forget to provide drainage. Can be left outside now.  (This means it will certainly snow next week.) Salads can also be sown direct into the ground, but may appreciate a little protection.
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Deadhead daffodils and tulips  Use a trug for maximum Country Gardener style.  Play soft background music.  Eat a Flake.
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Plant out any species bulbs which have flowered in pots.  Feed and label.
Cut back Hydrangeas to a pair of buds and maybe thin them a little. Softwood cuttings can be taken now and should root fairly quickly.
Continue to prick out seedlings once their first true leaves have appeared
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Order bulbs for next year and plant. E.g. Lilies, Eucomis etc
Sort out compost heaps Turn them. Lovely stuff.
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Water, water, water (especially pots) and don’t forget to add a liquid feed every couple of weeks.  Maxicrop seaweed extract is good.
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Take cuttings of plants to increase your stock for free.  New shoots of perennials will root well. Remember to plant the cuttings deeply and firmly
Plant out perennials.  Dig some pelleted organic chicken manure into the planting hole  before planting. Water in well; label.
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So, there we are. That little lot should keep us all busy and out of trouble for a few days.
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Well, some of us, anyway.

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