Easter came and went like an early summer’s breeze and close to three hundred little girls and boys were chasing after clues throughout the walled garden and beyond. At the end of the hunt they received a well deserved chocolate bunny. It was great to see the older siblings helping the younger ones with more tricky questions but they all made it in the end. I had to run after my children to keep up with their pace!
The weather was all what you could ask for; even so Easter was two weeks earlier then last year. The intense sunshine brought out the first of the many different types of tulips and Co.
The vegetable garden is getting very busy. Nearly every day crops are getting planted. The peas and mangetouts are going in today for example. Last week most of the kales and cabbages were planted and the last of the potatoes will go into the ridges next week probably. A careful record keeping of the varieties, planting times and amounts is important to keep track and also helps with next years plans.
I am always amazed how long crops can stay in the ground, our Beetroot still looks good and even tastes quite good. Just last week we took out last years leeks.
It seems to be a bumper year for Rhubarb. I saw it seldom so strong and healthy growing and it just tastes fantastic. The Benedictine Nuns like to make lovely desserts using the Rhubarb. People often forget that Rhubarb has only a short harvesting period, mainly from April till June. So now or never! And when harvested early the stalks don’t need to be peeled either, since they are not stringy yet.
The cuttings of the Blackcurrants I took last year are setting they first flowers already. It is wise to take them off until the plants establish a bit more and the root system is fully developed. Otherwise too much energy is used for the fruit production, which has still time until last year.
There is also a lot going on in our Herbaceous Border; dividing and replanting, top dressing using our own well rotted compost and a feed of Chicken manure. Also the Herbaceous Border leaflet needs updating after all the changes which takes a good bit of time. A few taller growing plants need to be staked before the main growths starts; we will use our own willows and also metal supports for this.
The ferns are enrolling their first fronds and for me it is one of the highlights each spring to see them doing it in such an elegant way.
The weather seems to be having it’s ups and downs at the moment; hot summer sun and snow on the mountain within three days! The gardener’s joy!
Your Head Gardener
Things you can do in your garden in April
To Sow / Propagate:
~ Continue sowing potatoes
~ Sow more Vegetables like carrots and parsnips later in month
~ Sow tomatoes & cucumbers indoors
~ Start to harden off summer bedding plants like Calendula or Lobelia
~ Plant out Kale, Cabbage, Lettuce, Peas & Mangetouts, Spinach
~ New perennials or ornamental grasses for borders
To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Feed and treat box hedges for blight (Try seaweed!)
~ Clean and prepare Hanging Baskets for May planting
~ Continue lawn care like aerating and sanding, feeding and weeding
~ Start to trim formal hedges
~ Prune early spring flowering shrubs after finishing flowering