Ever-changing conditions

March 2013

What a month we have had so far, a combination of about three sunny spring-like days followed by a weekend of snow showers, then biting winds and very cold nights – not really outdoor gardening weather.

Ever-changing conditions

Garden in snow 12th March

Ever-changing conditions

Hellebore in flower

Although it has been cold, signs of spring are popping up in the garden. The first daffodils are flowering, hellebores are blooming whatever the weather and many of the perennials like lupin and delphinium are popping through the soil. As soon as we get a dry period of weather the soil around these perennials will be given a sprinkle of general fertiliser like Fish, Blood and Bone and lightly worked into the soil – this will give the plants a boost and replace some of the nutrients to the soil washed out over the winter months.

Ever-changing conditions

February – gold daffodils

Ever-changing conditions

Lupin shooting

Under glass the shallots and garlic planted into cell trays earlier in the year are now shooting nicely and are ready to move into the cold frame to gradually harden off before planting in the plot once the weather improves. I have sown some pea Twinkle into trays so they will be ready to plant out in April for an early harvest after hardening off.

Ever-changing conditions

Fuchsia stool with nice cuttings available

Ever-changing conditions

Garlic & shallots shooting

Brassicas sown last month have germinated and have been pricked out (transplanted) into cell trays and these are growing on in the glasshouse shelving so they get maximum light and keep nice and short, until large enough to move into the cold frame next month.

Other sowings made of tomatoes, peppers and bedding plants are germinating and being pricked out as and when they are large enough to handle. Trailing petunia plug plants have arrived through the post and have a lovely root system, these have now been potted up into individual 7cm (3in) pots and they’ll now grow on until they are large enough for planting up some baskets.

Ever-changing conditions

Begonia tubers shooting

Ever-changing conditions


The begonia corms are now shooting nicely in the propagator and will soon be moved out and allowed to grow on at the normal greenhouse temperature. Chrysanthemum stools (old plants) from last year and fuchsias are now producing lots of new shoots; these will be rooted as cuttings for this year’s blooms.

Ever-changing conditions

Potatoes starting to chit

The seed potatoes are starting to chit (produce green shoots) and will be ready for planting outside as soon as the weather allows. It has got to change soon, when it does there will be lots to be done in the garden and on the vegetable plot. Fingers crossed, let’s hope Easter brings good gardening weather!

Happy gardening!

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  1. Freda says:

    20th April 2013 and the longest hottest day of the year so far and the whole garden is switched on to grow mode. There’s now so much tender stock overdue for planting out there’s a massive workload and, critically, still a risk of late frosts that having frost protection on standby is essential.

    • Andrew Tokely Andrew Tokely says:

      Hi Freda ,

      I agree we can still get late frosts up until the end of May . Some fleece and a coldframe is essential at this time of year to harden up plants.

  2. Andrew Tokely Andrew Tokely says:

    Richard , Plants are certainly flowering later now with the colder later winters we seem to be having these days. It is always fun growing plants that you have nurtured from a young age and seen mature .
    Happy Gardening

  3. Richard Barrett says:

    Many years ago as a student gardener I took home a small self-layer from a large rhododendron from the estate garden where I was working. Little by little it grew, and then in time flowered and was Identified as Rh.sutchuenense. The problem was that it could be relied upon to flower in February and then would usually be frosted! In recent years it has started to flower in March due to the cold winters and sometimes successfully without frost, the buds are beginning to expand now.

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