AS FEATURED IN THE EAST ANGLIAN DAILY TIMES
Everybody knows to expect pandemonium at the shops in the third week of December, and that you had better not turn up at a restaurant on 14th February without having made a reservation, but the fact that the bank holiday weekends in May are the peak of the horticultural calendar is under most people’s radar.
A frenetic time for the nursery worker, as you juggle heading off to the growing area to see if the yellow Cosmos are big enough to sell because there’s a chap after some; noticing it would be prudent to water the tomatoes yet again (very thirsty plants, and if you don’t keep their watering on an even keel the fruit end up with tough skins); talking one couple through the climbers that will grow on north-facing walls, explaining that any climber should be planted at least a foot from the wall and will be grateful for any goodness that can be added to the soil; stopping to help a lady who’s wondering if you have: “that plant that looks like a foxglove, but with yellow flowers? You had it at the Suffolk Show last year.” “Umm … oh, Verbascum ‘Gainsborough’. Far end of the perennial A-Z, on the right there,” and thrusting a ‘Plants for Coastal Sites’ list in the hands of another couple, with the promise you’ll be back in a moment to properly talk them through their options.
It’s completely natural that we all get busy planting in May. Most plants have started to show themselves and the days can be nice enough for sitting out and drinking in the sights of your garden. Time enough to get inspired: some red flowers over there would make the border ‘pop’; a ground-covering shade lover underneath that shrub would really enhance the area; and it would be lovely to have some pots of herbs on the patio. You’ll be able to use them next time you have a barbecue (definitely).
And when you get to the garden centre you’re confronted with a smorgasbord of blooms to tempt.
Any perennials or annuals planted in summer should be watered every day or two for a few weeks, until they get their roots settled. If you forget, and the plant wilts apparently beyond help, the best course of action is often to cut it down to a few inches to let it recover: if in doubt, ask your friendly local nursery worker for advice!
Gardening advice by Catherine McMillan
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