Two weeks ago heavy icy showers were a regular occurance. Not until April 22nd was there any real sign of spring warmth, then overnight leaf, bud and shoot really started growing . . .
It's April – all systems go! . . .
The wall-trained greengages, red and black currants and gooseberries are all in flower. It's easy to look at the abundance of blossom and think of baskets laden with fruit. Never count your fruit before it's picked! We need sunny warm days for pollintation and netting to protect the crops from birds (blackbirds love unripe redcurrants!). Sadly the red gooseberry Whinhams Industry is just a twiggy skeleton – was last year too damp, was it the late frosts, or some sort of fungal attack?
Plants in the vegetable beds are growing fast. These are the Crimson Flowered broad beans, in the background are chicory and red mustard which overwintered outside and the large grey feathery artichoke leaves. You can see a detailed list of what has been planted in the vegetable garden and green house here.
The young tomato plants in the greenhouse have been potted up and will soon be ready to plant into large tubs for outside and growbags for the greenhouse.
Fresh green leaves and shoots are filling the borders with neat hummocks of foliage. Here are four favourites which are signs that spring is really on its way . . . thalictrum glaucum – a giant blue-green leaved, yellow flowered rue; my favourite herb - lovage; crambe cordifolia – which will become a real show stopper in a few months time; and beautiful fat shoots of Solomon's Seal, polygonatum biflorum.
Already there are some splashes of intense colour in the garden, both these plants remind me of where I bought them . . .
This Fuchsia-flowered Gooseberry, ribes speciosum was from East Ruston Old Vicarage where you can see it growing in the Sunk Garden.
And this fabulous coloured spring pea, lathyrus vernum was from Hidcote.
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