Nature wrong foots us once more and demonstrates it’s extraordinary ability to improvise. At the start of the year, I expressed concern at the way that the daffodils had all decided to rush to flower early. The Cheltenham Festival was two months off and gardens and verges shone with banks of yellow trumpets. Now here we are three and a half months later, with that show just coming to a close. It has been a great year for them has brought cheer to the darkest of days. April has been an odd month and whilst there have been some warm, the breeze has stayed cold and every third day the rain would arrive to just top up the levels. Work on the garden has been snatched and if you have turned ground that firm breeze has allowed us to rake a tilth. Planting needs to continue at a pace now and most hardy vegetables can be in the ground. Runner bean seed can be sown outside directly or in to pots and Marrows, Tomatoes and Cucumbers can be all be on standby for planting in the third week of the month, so look out for plants or start a few seeds on the window sill or underglass. If you have already managed any tomatoes under glass, they will need to get support and do pinch side shoots whilst they are young. If the plan is to pop some outside once again hold off for a couple of weeks. Then pick a light sheltered spot to get the best of them.
Of course May traditionally is the month for bedding plants and everyday more will appear on garden centre shelves. Many can be planted in the early days of the month, but take great care before rushing with Begonias and Impatiens which will melt away on a cold night. You can make up baskets and planters now but settle them in a sheltered spot. Do spend some time shopping around too, there are some delightful modern varieties to see in all categories, with Petunias once being showcased by many, with some of the mini flowering varieties being very special.
And finally, I have been amused by the interest this year in Flower Sprout, offered as a new? Vegetable. It’s basically a sprout that has refused to turn in. The stalks normally festooned with tight green balls supports mini open cabbages and these you pick and cook. I recall the grumbles of many gardener over the years reporting that their sprouts weren’t blowing. Now it’s in vogue.