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Colin Evans garden tips
Colin Evans, BBC Radio Berkshire's very own gardening expert is the one for you if you have any query with regard to your garden. In this article, Colin turns his attention to greenhouses.
We're into April and it’s time to welcome the start of the real gardening season.
I must warn you against being led up the garden path as we can still expect some real hard frosts, every garden's dire enemy.
Don't despair though. At least the evenings are drawing out and with the clocks having gone forward; we have longer ‘lighter’ days, so more gardening to be done in the daylight hours.
This week, I made the most of the odd day, when the rain kept away, and cut out an old Ceonothus that was past its best and had withered.
It had only been in the ground for about eight years but Ceonothus' are dodgy shrubs and they do not tolerate adverse conditions spread over long periods.
The shrubs surrounding it were a lot hardier and had taken over the border reducing the light from the Ceonothus.
It was really a toss up between the Magnolia Grandiflora and the Ceonothus.
In the end, the dominant Magnolia Grandiflora, a magnificent evergreen shrub proved victorious and out came the dying plant.
Sometimes, in the garden hard decisions have to be made and sadly the stronger of the two won out. This is just a perfect example of ‘Survival of the fittest’.
Remember the old adage “If in doubt, cut it out".
Works for me anyway.
One plant I can't do without is the Magnolia x Leobneri 'Leonard Messel'. This magnificent variety is one of my favourite flowering trees.
The large pink flowers are borne on naked stems and will cover the tree from April until May.
This tree prefers acidic soil although, it tolerates neutral soil, provided, a good amount of ericaceous compost is dug in around the roots at the time of planting and a good dose of liquid feed of the same compost is supplied when flowering.
Here's your ‘to do list’ for April
1. Give all flowering bulbs a generous helping of granular fertilizer to give them a good boost while they are still growing and using up energy to make flowers. The feeding now will nourish the bulbs and help the plant prepare for next spring’s flowering.
2. On warmer days, ventilate the green house to give the inside a good airing. Wash down the glass both inside and out with a weak solution of water and household bleach or use one of the proprietary types from the garden centre.
3. Get into all the tight corners and clear away all rubbish to make room for new plants.
4. In unheated greenhouses sow radish and lettuce into grow bags and within six to eight weeks you can be harvesting your own salads.
5. If the ground is not too wet then rake over a small area and plant Onion Sets. Push them well into the ground to ensure protection from frosts and apply a slow release granular fertilizer to aid growth once the leaves show above the surface. Make sure the site you have chosen can be given up for the rest of the growing season for the Onions to mature as they will need to be left in the ground most of the summer.
last updated: 02/04/2008 at 17:19
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