Great Haseley and District Horticultural Society - May 2018


What a difference a few days make; we have gone from winter to late spring with yesterday being the warmest April day since 1949.

This has had unexpected consequences and resulted in the wilting of plants which would not normally do so.  In my garden the most dramatic example being something I have never seen before, some Ballerina tulips which are in the ground which is still damp; I found them limp with their petals inside out and I can only assume this was a result of transpiration from the leaves being faster than the plants can take up water from the soil.  I find that some Salvias go limp in the midday sun only to recover as the sun goes off them.

The greenhouse became very hot and I had not bargained on the extra heat on the top shelf which resulted in a lot of damage to some beautiful pale blue tender Plectranthus plants.  Nothing to do, but cut them back, put them under the potting bench and hope for the best.

Now is a good time to get on with sowing seed and planting out now that the soil is warming up.  While it is tempting to do things early, warmer soil and air temperatures mean that germination and development is faster and everything seems to happen at about the right time.  A good example of that is Morning Glory, a floriferous annual, which, if sown in early June grows rapidly to make strong plants, whereas earlier sowings languish rather sadly.  Therefore, don’t think you have left everything too late.

The winter has been cold and long and I have lost a number of plants which survived the snows only to succumb to the long period of wet and cold.  Never mind, death in the garden means a planting opportunity; perhaps I will try something new!

A further result of the warm weather and wet soil is the rapid growth of weeds which I am currently not keeping up with.  Annual weeds are threatening to swamp other wanted plants so they are next on my list while they are not completely swamping the wanted plants; at least they pull out easily when they are strong and healthy!  Dandelions are also a problem and I have usually resorted to spraying with glyphosate as it is impossible to get all the root out by hand and they grow back.  Tamsin, my occasional gardener tells me she never sprays with weedkiller and simply removes what she can every time the weed appears and eventually she wins because, without green leaves the plant cannot photosynthesise and will die.  This is my second year of doing this and I’m pleased with the result so far.

Gardens are looking at their very best now as, after weeks of cold, wet weather, spring has come very late and everything kaleidoscopes into a shorter period.  The result is a spectacular display of bright green foliage and spring colour so don’t forget to look.  At the same time identify gaps which can be filled with either colour for now., or plants for later summer enjoyment.  Perhaps we will not have any more frosts?

Liz Moyses

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