Head Gardener's May Notes
Spring is always such a busy time of year, with so much to do! It is so wonderful to watch everything ‘spring’ into life again after the long winter months, and we have been very busy with our usual spring cleaning.
Benches have been power washed, rubbed down and treated with several coats of Danish Oil which brings them back to a lovely finish…
The glasshouse gets its major clean through, to ensure we start afresh with a clean slate for sowing all the seeds, and taking of all our cuttings for creating our summer displays. The early pelargonium glasshouse displays didn’t disappoint either.
Veggies will be next to be sown in the glasshouse to give them an encouraged start and give us some early cropping, and of course my favourites, the sweet peas are coming along nicely and have been started into growth since February. Some growing tips for sweet peas in the footnotes. Dahlias also, have been brought down from the loft, and into the frames, to allow them a protected start into growth. When we plant these out by the end of May, they will have put on a good 18” of growth and this means we will enjoy a longer flowering period from them later in the season.
Of course, with spring, brings the profusion of colour from the bulbs around the estate, and this year has been no exception. Nature has given us another fine display, and now we are enjoying the masses of blooms on the rhododendrons also.
I just love the fresh green that the tree populations supply us with whilst bursting into life, and the smells of freshly mown grass after a spring shower, well, you just cant beat it.
My Top Tips for growing sweet peas: Sow around February, when they reach beyond four leaf nodes, pinch out the leader. When the secondary shoot grows beyond 4 leaf nodes, then pinch that out also, and plant out from mid-May. Plant into deep, rich soil,(well-rotted dung is perfect) where there is a good supply of water(sweet peas like damp cool roots) and if growing in plastic pots, remember not to disturb the root ball when planting.
After that, cut the sweet peas as much as possible and don’t allow to go to seed heads. The more you cut, the more they will reward you! Thereafter enjoy them grow and grow!