Ceanothus 'Blue Mound'
Colin Evans garden tips
Gardening guru Colin Evans shows us that you don't always need 'mammoth' changes to your garden to improve its overall appearance. Adding a small plant or rock could be all you need to change your opinion of your green space.
It's been a very productive month in my garden so far and I have seized every chance to get out there and get on with so many tasks that went without my attention over the past few weeks.
The borders that needed clearing of weeds are now all completed, even though the ground was wet and heavy and the constant bending was hard on my muscles. No wonder we gardeners always suffer with back problems when we do most of our work bending and if like me, you just carry on until the discomfort is too much to bear, then you will know we are our own worst enemies.
Better to kneel, or, if the ground is dry, sit. This way we can stay fit and well, to get all the work done with ease during the growing season.
I guess most of us will want to make mammoth changes to our little piece of England, once our screens are filled with the most inviting and creative gardens, which will grace our television this week from The Chelsea Flower Show. Not the largest show, that's Hampton Court, but the most famous and the one that announces the gardening season in this country.
Whether you have a small balcony or a massive estate, there will be something there, either a plant, rock or artistic statue that will send you into your garden with renewed enthusiasm regardless of the bad back and aching limbs.
PLANT OF THE WEEK:
Ceanothus 'Blue Mound' is the more miniature version of the large deciduous flowering shrub so loved during the summer months for it's glorious vivid dark blues and striking dark green foliage.
This smaller ground hugging version will make a fair amount of outward growth but will not grow taller than about half a meter or so.
The subtle blue flowers are borne on delicate stems and will fill borders with colour from May through to the end of June. This shrub is quite drought tolerant and will grow on most freely draining soils.
1. Bring out hanging baskets from the greenhouse each day to harden them off and put them back inside during the evening. In a week's time or so they can then be hung outside in their growing position for the summer. Make sure the compost never dries out, especially on windy days, and always add a little liquid feed into the water.
2. Dead head the old flowers from Tulips and Daffodils and cut back the foliage to ground level. Feed with a slow release granular fertilizer and forget about them until autumn. If you need to lift them, then plant in some old pots and stand to one side out of direct sunlight. They will die down and you can transplant them into their permanent position in the autumn otherwise plant them into their new position, ensuring the bulbs are now well into the soil and covered with compost.
3. Remove new grown green shoots and branches from variegated shrubs and trees now in order to prevent them from reverting back to type. This is especially important with Maples as they revert back very quickly.
Also remove unhealthy shoots from the top of fruit trees to retain the health of the tree.
last updated: 21/05/2008 at 15:15
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