This Month

This Month April 2014 - Tuesday, 01 Apr 2014

I am so pleased that I did not let the warm weather early in March lull me into a false sense of security. I left the tender pots in the greenhouse and the protective sacking on the Gunnera and even, though I was sorely tempted, I did not start planting any vegetables. Mum started planting vegetable seeds in the greenhouse in the 3rd week of March but as always I do not plant any veg’s outside until April, nothing is gained by planting them earlier. The 1st vegetables to go in are the potatoes, parsnips and broad beans. One problem resulting from not having hard frosts this winter is that the soil is not so friable and thus takes a little harder work to get to a fine tilth for the veg seeds.

The Daffodils are looking wonderful this year and I feel more impressive than previous years. I now realise just how many bulbs and perennials I planted in the long grass last year and I do have more perennials to plant but have been waiting until I am sure where there are any gaps.

The spring flowering shrubs always look good and on a quick walk down through the Lower Garden this morning I noticed one of the new Rhododendrons with dainty little yellow flowers. It often amazes me the amount of people who do not like certain coloured flowers, mostly this seems to be yellow, it seems very sad to me especially at this time of year when there is so much yellow in the garden they are missing so many delightful plants. There are also other Rhododendrons of yellow, red and pink in flower. I was giving a guided tour to a garden visitor and as we came up from the Lower Garden we were hit by a fragrant wall of lemon which was the Corylopsis, and from then until we were up and over the bank we were continually assailed with this wonderful aroma.

I am pleased to have got the nursery in good order and one of the next jobs on the list as soon as it is dry enough is to put shredded prunings around some of the shrubs in the Lower Garden to help suppress weeds. I must also don my waders and tidy a few things in the lake, no its not just an excuse to enjoy the pond life at close quarters!

We recently saw a Yellow Wagtail in the garden which is the first time I have seen one here. We also seem to be seeing more Siskin and Goldfinches, at least they are coming to the feeders more often though they may have easily been in the garden but out of sight.

Please phone or email if you wish to visit the garden, we have yet again kept the entry price down at just £5. It is free to visit the nursery or to buy garden greeting cards (all proceeds to the hospice) but please still contact 1st.

Plant of the Month: Hepatica nobilis - Liverleaf

There are 10 species of Hepatica native to North America, Europe and temperate Asia and they are closely related to Anemone. Their common name of Liverleaf is due to the resemblance of the leaves and ‘herpar’ is Latin for liver. They have has been used medicinally for liver, respiratory and indigestion complaints.

Hepatica nobilis is poisonous but has been used as a herbal remedy for coughs and chest complaints. It is from the mountain woods of Europe and is a small evergreen perennial with single blue, pink or white flowers. It likes moist but well drained soil in dappled shade.

Propagate by seed or division.

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