Sod it – where are those seeds?

Outside the garden is still being battered by the return of ‘the beast’ but the days are lengthening and we can all indulge ourselves in a bit of remedial therapy by getting some new plants on the go. Seeds of many northern hemisphere plants are best sown in autumn so the winter rain and cold can trigger a natural breaking of dormancy when longer days and warmth arrives, but annuals and plants from warmer climes should generally be sown in spring. So in my case it’s time to track down all those packets of seeds I’ve been hoarding over the

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Cardamine quinquefolia

This rhizomatous perennial (closely related to our own native cuckooflower) always takes me by surprise when its fresh bright foliage appears in February. The attractive leaves are five lobed and toothed, and they set off to perfection the mass of pinky purple flowers which can appear at any time during March. These are always a hugely welcome sight as most other perennials are still well below ground and the garden is a little low on colour at this time of the year. It grows happily in part or full shade, damp or dry, and is best in an informal, wild

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Gardening Jobs for early March

It’s time to dandy up the dogwoods OK, you’ve enjoyed those lovely bright stems of Salix (Willow)  and Cornus (Dogwood) cultivars all winter, cheering up the garden through the dull months, but if you want the same again next year, you must be very stern with them (being a schoolteacher, I’m quite good at that).   Sharpen your secateurs and cut their stems back to the base.  The fancy word for this task is the slightly unfortunate term ‘stooling’, but don’t let that put you off. New coloured and leafy stems will quickly replace them.  If you don’t do this pruning, your plant will gradually become

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