Colin Evans garden tips
May is just around the corner but even our gardening guru Colin Evans has had trouble knuckling down to some good ole weeding - thanks to the wet weather we've been having. See below for his weekly garden tips.
As we move swiftly into May, I can't believe the year is moving on so quickly and I seem to have spent so little time in my garden.
The recent wet and cold weather has kept us out of our gardens, however, as we move further into summer we can look forward to many productive months outside.
In the past few days I have at least had a chance to get the lawns cut and some much needed weeding done in the shrub borders.
Although the ground was quite wet I managed to get a large area of weeds cleared. The challenge was to get as many weeds cleared before I decided I had had enough and that meant there are still quite a few still to be tackled before they take over.
You may well wonder why I have left it till now to get on with the border maintenance, but as I have said the wet ground has not helped but also to complicate matters, the early flowering bulbs were well and truly in fine health and I did not want to disturb them.
So in future, when I decide to plant spring bulbs I will make sure they are in a part of the garden where I can carry out the weeding before the little blighter's weave their way around the leaves of the bulbs.
As a professional horticulturist and garden designer I try and include the more unusual and exotic plants in my garden schemes, and, shrubs that provide dramatic colour are always part of my planting designs.
Pittosporum Tenuifolium County Park Dwarf
If you have a sheltered spot in your garden then make way for Pittosporum.
One of my all time favorites is Pittosporum Tenuifolium County Park Dwarf, or Tom Thumb.
This variety is small compared with some of its larger cousins and will fit into many garden schemes both in the open ground and in pots.
In warmer coastal areas they make wonderful wind breaks and can make very substantial hedges.
County Park Dwarf is grown mainly for it's purple chocolate-coloured crinkled leaves with the new shoots starting life as bright green which turn to that magnificent purple once they mature.
The foliage - when cut and added to an indoor flower display - will make a stunning focal point. Use it where you can and it won't disappoint.
It's still a good time to fill in the bare patches on the lawn with new seed.
A novel way of cutting the grass
Just rake over the affected area and sprinkle some new grass seed over the bare ground then add a little compost over the top and firm in.
In about two weeks the new seedlings will show above the soil surface.
Leave until it has made some growth and then gently cut with shears and in a few weeks with the lawn mower.
If you want instant repairs then get some turf rolls from the garden centre. This will give an instant effect once laid in the bare patches.
Hellebores or Lenten Roses gave some good colour this early spring and many now will be in full flower.
If you want to propagate some new plants then simply rake the ground just below each plant to remove the derbies and make a fine tilth on the soil. The seeds will fall from the Hellebores and in time will germinate and provide you with new plants.
Once the seedlings can be handled then lift and plant them individually into pots. Grow on for some time and plant in the open ground in Autumn.
Runner Beans and Peas
Sow both Runner Beans and Peas. Each can be sown in separate pots, germinated and planted outside when big enough.
If you want to speed up the process then sow the seeds directly into the open ground. They may be slower to germinate but you will get some very sturdy plants.
If the garden is troubled by birds then use one of the white flowered varieties of Runner Bean, say White lady, which gives great crops as well.
When selecting pea varieties try some of the newer types like Greensage or Rondo which is one of the best croppers.
last updated: 29/04/2008 at 14:33
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