This is a great time of year to really take a good look at your beds and boarders and delve into what’s growing. May saw the temperatures picking up, and after a mild and wet winter plants will be poised to shoot up with extra vigour. It’s important to keep on top of the weeding as late spring will see the most activity from these pesky intruders. Be sure to take the time to carefully fork through your herbaceous beds, tilthing over the top of the soil as you go. This will keep your beds workable throughout the summer and allow an all important airflow to the root-zone of your plants.
Now is when most of us will be able to plant out our summer bedding. When you do plant out be sure to keep on top of watering your bedding as it establishes. The trick here is to allow your plants enough moisture to survive and grow, whilst not overdoing it and preventing them from reaching out those roots in search of water and nutrients. I usually allow a fortnight before I liquid feed my bedding. Whilst here at Luton Hoo we’ve managed to grow a large amount of our bedding from seed, many nurseries and garden centres are now opening to enable you to get on top of your bedding during the lockdown.
We have been busy planting our Dahlias. Apprentice Gardener Eve is carefully extracting the tubers from their store and separating them into their individual areas. We have around 250 plants to get in the ground so Eve certainly has her work cut out! All our Dahlias have been stored in a loose tray of straw in a frost-free room to preserve them over winter. Each Dahlia has been labelled so we know where to plant them again this spring. Eve will be planting them around 6 inches deep and giving each plant a bamboo cane. Not only does this let us know where we planted them, allowing us to take extra care when weeding, it also provides a support to tie the plant onto when it reaches flowering height. Many Dahlia varieties have wonderfully large blooms but these can often weigh too much for the stem which will flop to the ground.
After a lovely spring display from your daffodils, they have now died back. It’s important in order to produce an impressive display next spring, let the foliage completely die back before cutting it away. You can tie up your foliage with twine or indeed the plants own leaves to neaten them up whilst they die back naturally. Now is also a good time to lift and divide any clumps that have become too big.
This is such a majestic time to spend in the garden as the trees leaf out, plants soot up and the lawns turn a lustrous emerald green. So most importantly as the weather improves and we begin to feel the warmth of the sun, enjoy your garden.
Doug Francis, Head Gardener