…. well not really but the flowers are coming that bloom in May. So far this month we have had two days of rain so the ground is getting quite dry. Having said that the temperatures and general weather conditions have improved so much that the growth and vigour of our plants have been quite remarkable. It never ceases to amaze me how mother nature can switch into overdrive and catch up so quickly, to look at the lush new growth you would never imagine that March saw negative night time temperatures for the whole of the month.
The narcissus are now beginning to go over but the tulips are providing a splendid display at present. Our other spring flowering plants are still showing some colour but are beginning to fade. Quite a bit of remedial attention has been required this year as we have lost a couple of our more tender shrubs and some have been damaged having succumbed to the biting easterly winds. Most of our beds are now tidy, fed and mulched and we are looking forward to the pulsatilla, aquilegia, and anemones etc. which will herald the onset of late spring.
As expected our fruit trees and shrubs are fully laden with flower buds this year all due to the extremely long cold winter we have experienced, keeping our fingers crossed that any late frosts will be of a short duration.
The greenhouses are now beginning to overflow but only in the short term as we are now able to start hardening off some of our tender plants. The garlic sown in November of last year is growing on. I have given the kitchen garden a bit of extra feed this year as I guess the soil has been leached of nutrients following our very wet winter. Shallot sets were planted out in early April and they are bulking up quite nicely now. The salad crops are now taking over the greenhouse, tomatoes, chillies, sweet pepper, are bursting to get out of their pots but all a little too early yet. I have potted up twelve bags of first early potatoes namely “Swift” and “Rocket”, we have very little room for potatoes but still like the first earlies.
This week will see the final seed sowings of our veg crops, runner beans, sweet corn and cucumbers. I try to leave these crops as late as possible as the seem to be very temperamental of the slightest temperature change.
On the wildlife front it is sad to report that I have only spotted one butterfly, several bumble bees but very little of anything else, let’s hope things will improve in the not too distant future. Our resident rather daft squirrel is still with us and provides a great deal of amusement with his acrobatic skills. I did not give him the biscuit by the way! The house sparrows are mustering as are the blackbirds looking for nesting sites, a somewhat noisy few weeks are ahead I think. In view of the serious situation concerning our bee population we have decided this year to concentrate more on plants that will attract bees even to the extent that I am having a go at a small wild flower patch some two metres square. Added to this several varieties of herbs are being planted out which I understand bees are very fond of.
One final note, if anyone can name this Magnolia for me I would be most grateful . Given to me some six years ago but have no idea of the name.