It’s March – so it really must be Spring

How nice it is when a client thanks you properly for your work. I have only been working for Mrs W for a few weeks, and this morning she went out of her way to thank me for doing ‘such a careful and thorough job’. Lovely.

I do sometimes wonder that I am too slow and painstaking when it comes to jobs like weeding. But then I think, what is the point of weeding half-heartedly? The whole point of weeding, especially at this time of year, when weeds are striving to steal a march on other plants, is to get right on top of them. That way, there’s far more chance of staying on top of them through the growing season.

Pruning too. Mrs W has a fairly large Choisya ternata in the garden which has clearly been set about (I suspect by my predecessor) with shears in the recent past: leaving the top and sides full of ‘sticks’. A few minutes with the trusty Felcos and all that tatty growth was removed to behind the green growth, and the shrub looked leafy and healthy again. It will still need a proper prune when the weather turns a bit warmer, but for now it looks fine.

And a variegated Euonymus benefitted enormously from a few careful minutes spent removing yellowed stems and snipping the growing tips from plain green ones. Cutting the ‘plain’ growth out completely tends simply to stimulate it to grow – but stopping it in its tracks, then later coming back and cutting it right out, seems to do the trick.

It’s been feeding time too. I have been nowhere this week without my Vitax Q4, feeding shrubs and trees as well as turning it in on empty beds ready for planting. My RHS tutor swore by Q4, and I stick with it.

Summer bulbs have started to go in wherever there is space. I have loads in stock, and would rather they got a chance to grow this year than not. So I have been ‘guerrilla planting’ Alliums all over the place – my own garden, clients’ gardens and wherever. We will see what comes up…

I took delivery of an interesting apple tree this week. It’s not gone it at the allotment, as I have not been up there, but it will go next time I visit – probably over the weekend. It is a ‘Family’ apple tree (from Thompson and Morgan), with Cox’s Orange Pippin, James Grieve and Discovery all grafted onto a single rootstock. Maybe it is just a bit of a novelty, but the idea of having sensible quantities of different apples in due course is an appealing one. I have had enough of gluts of apples of one variety, without the means to store them properly or to make apple juice, let alone cider.

Finally, I am putting together ideas for an ‘Inclusion Garden’ at a local school. Intended to support children in developing their numeracy and literacy skills. It’s only 25ft square, but it does get the sun, so I am  keen to make the most of the space. First on my list was a ‘Herb Hopscotch’, as Dawn Isaac describes in her wonderful ‘Garden Crafts for Children’ – planted with low-growing, but sweet-smelling, Thymus.

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