My early peas have come up on the allotment and I have a good row, which will need to be staked soon! Last year, mice were a problem eating my Broad Bean seeds, so I have planted them further away from the hedge, hoping that the thieves will be put off by the lack of cover. I am watching anxiously; as yet no plants have emerged, but I can see no holes where mice may have been. Hopefully the rain that we have had of late will bring the plants up unharmed!
Because the nights have gone colder, I have decided to delay any more planting until the weather settles again – which gives me a chance to get back into the garden!
Now that we have had some rain, I have emptied another compost bin and spread more mulch around my shrubs and herbaceous crowns. This really is one of the best ways of conserving moisture in the soil and the borders look very smart when they are finished! Slugs are becoming a problem on some of my young herbaceous plants, so I have purchased more pellets. I like to use the organic ones based on ferrous sulphate which will kill slugs and snails, but are not harmful to other wildlife. Once the plants are growing away strongly, the need for slug pellets seems to decrease but I still have to keep an eye on my Hostas which I have resorted to growing in large pots to keep the slugs away! One of the Hostas has outgrown its massive container, but it is such a good shape that I have purchased an even larger one to plant it into, rather than divide the clump! Loam based compost with some long term fertilizer pellets should do the trick – the difficult part will be getting the plant out of the original container as it is very root bound and I would rather not break the pot! Having had problems getting plants out of pots before, I no longer buy those that curve in at the top – this makes the task even more difficult!
Many of the Daffodils have finished flowering now and the leaves have begun to die back. I like to leave these alone until they pull away easily, so that the bulb is built up for the following year. The Tulips that were planted last autumn are just beginning to flower. Their green buds are taking on colour each day and they will soon add another dimension to the garden, contrasting nicely with Heucheras and my early Border Cranesbills (Geranium). My Lenten Roses (Helleborus) have made huge clumps and have been in flower since January! They are still going strong and hopefully when they drop their seed, we will have plants with the same robust genes! I have cut away all of the tatty leaves from last year, but handsome new leaves are making fresh green carpets – I cannot think of better plants for dry shade!