Camellia X williamsii 'Donation'
Colin Evans garden tips
Even green-fingered gurus feel the cold and are less than enthusiastic to go outside for a spot of gardening. So imagine how your plants must feel! Colin here offers advice on how to keep your blooms healthy and your lawn fresh.
Maybe I am getting too old for this outdoor lark, but I must say, getting outside lately has been a bit of an effort.
It's not that I have grown lazy or gone off the idea of a wonderful garden, it's just that I find the weather too cold to really get on, which brings me to the old chestnut I bang on about every year, and that is, maybe it's too cold for the plants as well.
Keep your greenhouse draft-free
When we are cold outdoors, the plants also need that extra bit of protection. Even now, half way through April, the tender varieties do need that little bit of extra protection.
So keep the horticultural fleece handy and make sure the green house is well closed off at night, especially if you are germinating seedlings in there. Ventilate in the day, unless it is very cold, but make sure those seedlings get some cover.
If, like me, you have found the colours of the Camellias this spring especially wonderful and you want to plant one in your own garden, then you can do no better than Camellia X Williamsii 'Donation'.
This large double pink type is the most versatile and colourful of the species.
This hardy evergreen shrub works well in either the open ground or in a tub planted in lime free compost.
Plant where there is no morning sun and the new buds should give a glorious display especially if the soil is kept moist with plenty of compost.
Just a little granular feed both in the autumn and spring will ensure a happy and healthy plant.
Grow your own tomatoes
Tomatoes are one of my favourite salad fruits and are so easy to grow.
Grow your own tomatoes
Now is the time to sow some seeds of your favourite variety if you have a cool green house or a cold frame.
Take some small pots or seed trays and fill with multi-purpose potting compost, firm the top and then spread the seeds over.
Dust off with a little more compost and then evenly water the surface. In a few weeks the new seedlings will make an appearance ready to grow on to the the six leaf stage in pots before planting out.
Or if they are in seed trays then at the two leaf stage prick them out into individual pots.
They are tender at this stage so don't be tempted to plant them out until the dangers of frost have passed. I wait until the end of May to be on the safe side.
Feed your lawns
Feed lawns with liquid feed and, although it will grow quicker, it will be a better lawn and suppress the groundcover weeds.
Mow mow mow your lawn
Cut on a regular basis now and collect the clippings so they do not lay on the lawn and cause moss to grow.
Place Citrus trees outside during warmer days to encourage new leaf growth.
Look after your lemons
Give each plant a spray over with tepid water as this will dislodge old leaves and help to pollinate any flowers present.
Bring the plants in overnight and keep this up until frosts allow you to put them out for the summer months.
Some citrus liquid feed will also help to get growth going for the new season.
last updated: 22/04/2008 at 14:38
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