Hooray for the old fashioned, the fondly remembered April of my childhood. A delightful mish mash of sharp showers, blustery days and chilly nights, dusted with the blossom of cherry trees and heralded by the splendid trumpets of Magnolias. The blossom has been very special, indeed there has been a gallery of ideas for anyone considering a new tree in their garden. I have cascades of cherry blossom of every colour, in my own garden Prunus Ukon, bulging with creamy globes whilst just along the road Prunus Shogetsu has delivered a pure white avalanche and Prunus Amanogawa a towering colour of pink. The winter has left gaps and these joyous plants are a real fillip. Across the days ahead I will be making spaces, as I set about acknowledging that the winter was as destructive as suspected.
Thankfully May is a busy month and there are plenty of distractions. There are some wonderful pots of herbaceous plants around and at sensible prices and of course the bedding plant season is upon us. Garden Centres and nurseries have plenty on offer and with the days of massive bedding schemes left behind I must encourage you to be selective and play. I do delight at the wizardry of plant breeders who continue to bring new plants to the table and this year there is much to look out for. The Verbena and Petunia market continues to expand and modern forms of each are both prolific and weather tolerant. The Showboat Verbena that I saw trialled last year were fantastic and the new ‘Petchoa’ ( a cross between a traditional petunia and a Callibrachoa) are the next big thing for me, I loved them. Look out too for Sparkle Impatiens. Anyway, bedding plant time is here, shop around.
If that hasn’t got you started, then the vegetable opportunities will. Across the month we can be planting the lot, so all of the greens can go in including the first of our winter rotation, so summer and winter cabbage, kale, sprouts et al. We can continue to put out salad crops and plan in repeat sowing of these to keep a succession. Salads all tend to germinate quite quickly, so modest regular sowing is sensible.
And finally. Leave the planting out of the more tender vegetables (Marrow, courgette, cucumber, tomatoes and beans) until later in the month, unless you can offer protection.