Spring is knocking at the door! These are some of the things that Growbag Elaine is up to currently in her garden:
It’s time to ensure that your carpet of snowdrops is an even better carpet next year! Snowdrop bulbs can sometimes be a pain to get going if they are allowed to dry out completely (though frankly planting snowdrop bulbs that you buy in packets works jolly well too, so don’t get too uptight about this!). But if you can see where you’d like your snowdrops to spread to, while they are still visible, dig up the clumps as the flowers fade and split them up into smaller groups of 5-8 bulbs while they still have green leaves. This, in nurserymans’ jargon, is called ‘in the green’. Plant them in their new positions but nearby, at the same depth as they were. Water them if the ground is dry (fat chance, this winter!)
PLANT A HAPPY HEDGE
Late February can be a great time to plant a bare-root hedge (or indeed, roses) as long as the ground isn’t frozen. This is much the cheapest way to get a new hedge, and, in my opinion, bare-rooted plants will establish very quickly if ordered from a good nursery like trees & hedging (they’re lovely people there too!) and planted with a bit of care. Make sure your soil is free of weeds – in fact, pinning a horticultural membrane down and planted through crosses cut in it, is a fab way of making sure your plants aren’t bullied at the infant stage by opportunistic dandelions or worse. Then make a deeply dodgy-looking soup of mycorrhizal fungi granules and water, and dip the roots of each plant in it so that the granules stick to the roots, before you plant them. I expect you will be thrilled to learn that the term mycorrhiza comes from the Greek for ‘Fungus-root’ (what a pretty name!) and that describes it exactly : the fungus granules grow into a network of fungal strands (‘mycelium’ for the geeks amongst you) that form a symbiotic relationship with the roots of your plant, helping the flow of nutrients from the soil to form new and stronger roots. Our hedge nursery supplied it with the plants, but you can get them from any good garden supplier these days. Water them in and watch them grow!
* Do keep hanging up the fat-balls and filling the bird-feeders. It’s still blooming cold most days and nights, and you are going to need those birds to eat your insect-pests come summer. Don’t forget the fresh water, too.
* Check on all that pretty Virginia Creeper, Boston Ivy etc. growing on your house. Now is the time to give them a good haircut if you want to see out of your windows next summer……
* Sprinkle some fertiliser (e.g. Blood, Fish & Bone) on your veggie beds – Get them into Good heart for Gorgeous Greens this summer!