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Reg’s Gardening Tips

How quick the seasons pass! Here we are again in Spring and now is a good time to get working in the garden – a time to restore and renew.

My first job is to get the lawn looking good again, as all the wet and snow during the last few months has weakened the grass and some TLC is needed. Where moss is rampant, on will go the combined treatment that will weed kill, feed and moss kill all in one go. A few days later on a fine dry day I will scarify the lawn and remove all the thatch and dead moss. After a month I will repeat the treatment and further scarification for good results.

The early spring is a good time to re-pot plants before growth starts with the longer days. Turn out the plant from the old pot, remove compost off the top and bottom and re-pot with new compost into a larger pot if needed. Always use new compost as any left over from last year will be low in nutrients, and make use of any old compost for top dressing shrub & flower beds. Water and feed all container plants, indoors and out, to give their new growth a boost, following the instructions on the feed label and never over-feeding.

Enjoy planting up new pots of summer flowering plants, for example gladioli with grasses; the colours and versatility of the grasses available in blues, greens and yellows will give a good display and are easy to look after. Use deep pots.

Add some colour with Iberis, Thyme, Lithodora diffusa ‘Heavenly Blue’ or Phlox subulata to pots and troughs or in the front of a border. Magnolia, Rhododendrons and Camellias all come into their own and make a great show. It is also a good time to add a few evergreen shrubs to a border to give strength and winter interest over the years to come. One key job as the season progresses is the pruning of spring flowering shrubs as soon as the flowers finish, thinning out old flowering wood and shaping the bush.

The camellia is beautiful for its flowers but one species also gives us our daily cuppa! We can grow our own green tea with Camellia sinensis; the plants make good conservatory/house plants and the young new leaves can be harvested regularly to make fresh green tea. This camellia has small flowers but if the young shoots are grown and harvested for tea the chances of flowers setting are slim.

The latest addition to my fruit collection is Vaccinium ‘Pink Lemonade’, a pink fruited blueberry that requires the same cultivation as the common one. For good crops of fruit from all blueberries top dress with acidic compost to establish good root growth, and feed in spring with sulphate of ammonia and bone meal. Keep the surface moist.

April is the month to start planting out vegetables, and it is so easy today to get the young plants in cells ready for planting out. Be careful to make sure the young plants you have raised or got from the garden centre are given some protection if there is a cold snap; covering with fleece or using a polythene cloche over them helps. Similarly when sowing seeds direct into the soil, giving cover with either polythene or fleece keeps the soil warmer and aids germination.