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Kolkwitzia amabilis

Kolkwitzia amabilis

Colin Evans garden tips

There's a definite feel of summer in the air. However, don't be fooled as the weather could still take a turn for the worst. Colin explains how to keep your plants in tip top condition.

May is a lovely time of the year and signs of summer are everywhere. The days are getting longer and warmer. There is much colour and fragrance about the garden now. The plants that seemed forever dormant are now in full leaf and blossom.

Hanging basket

Hanging basket

The weather is more reliable than in April but, you should still be aware because late frosts can still cause damage. Don't be too quick to put out the summer hanging baskets just wait a couple more weeks, then all should be well.

A warm day can sometimes mean a clear night and that’s when the damage is done. Be patient and you’ll be rewarded next month.

Colin's plant of the week

Kolkwitzia Amabilis or Beauty Bush will be making its buds ready for a great pink display in the next two weeks. It likes a sunny position, moist freely draining soils and can be pruned to shape once it has flowered. Its dusty deep pink flowers are great at luring most insects. The birds in the garden will feast on the small harmless insects which the plants attract.

Kolkwitzia amabilis

Kolkwitzia amabilis

TOPICAL TIPS:

1:    Herbs, Parsnips, early Carrots and Runner Beans can now all be sown in the garden. Prepare a seedbed by finely raking it. Make shallow drills with the side of the rake and sow the seed thinly along the rows. Fill in with a little soil then firm with the back of the rake. Water in using a can, fine roses and seeds should be showing within three weeks.

Vegetables

An array of vegetables

2:   Keep hanging baskets well fed, watered and in a cool greenhouse for the next month. If some of the plants begin to make rapid growth then just pinch out the growing tips to encourage branching and thickening. Any weeds that appear should be removed as these will take valuable moisture and nutrients from the compost.

3:   If summer bedding plants are being hardened off outside then they need to be covered or brought inside. This goes for newly planted shrubs and germinated seeds too.

Don't forget, I’ll be bringing you all the glamour and latest horticultural news from this year’s Chelsea Flower Show on BBC Radio Berkshire Monday 19 May and Wednesday 21 May 2008.

Happy Gardening:

last updated: 14/05/2008 at 13:39
created: 14/05/2008

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