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Colin Evans garden tips
Spring is coming, but Colin tells gardeners to bide their time so as not to dig up any late-flowering spring bulbs. Also find out how to grow alpine strawberries and honeysuckle for a deliciously scented garden.
The daylight hours are now getting longer at last, but the weather is still quite cold for me, let alone the plants in the garden.
However, I notice the crocuses in my garden have decided to show themselves even though they were not brave enough to make an appearance a week or two ago.
This just goes to show, as I have said all along, that spring bulbs can can cope with any low temperature nature can throw at them, although the winter is not over yet.
The forecasters tell us that we have experienced the coldest winter for some thirteen years so let's hope spring will be kind and come in gently and then we can all get cracking in the garden.
Now March is here, we gardeners feel like getting on in the garden, but still there is little to do.
The best plan is to wait for a couple of weeks before making a start on the gardening season. The problem digging around in the borders is that late spring bulbs may still be making their way above the ground and any damage to the new green growth will prevent them from flowering especially if they are tulips.
My advice at the moment is to resist the temptation of doing anything other than making plans.
Lonicera Purpuseii 'Fragrantisima' or Shrub Honeysuckle is one of the many sweetly scented flowering shrubs gracing our gardens at this time of year. The flowers form great bunches of white and yellow flowers on bare stems.
The leaves will make an appearance in the spring and the shrub will continue to make speedy growth throughout the summer, though this can be pruned once the flowers have fallen. I like to cut a few stems to bring indoors to fill the house with the heady perfume these wonderful winter flowers make.
1: If you fancy something a bit different in the borders this year why not try alpine strawberries. They make a great addition to the other plants in the herbaceous border. Plants can be propagated from seed now by sowing the seed into trays of moistened compost.
Once sown, place a plastic bag over the top and when the seedlings can be handled then they should be pricked out and planted into separate pots. When the dangers
2: Plant stargazer oriental lilies into pots and large tubs for summer flowering and keep in a sheltered spot outside until the frosts are over then place in a good sunny position and let them grow.
In mid summer you can expect superb pink trumpet like flowers with white edges and dark pink speckles on long stems.If the soil is well drained the bulbs can be planted into the open ground.
3: Apply slow release granular fertilizer to vegetable plots and just dig it under the surface. Firm the surface of the soil by treading over it and then rake the soil and firm once again.
This will help to retain moisture and will provide a much better seed bed when the time comes to sow. If the ground is a little on the wet side then place some clear plastic down a week or so before applying the fertilizer
last updated: 09/03/2009 at 17:05
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