Welcome to the Sunday Gardener
Spring is here, but it remains cold with some parts of the country still under threat of snow. The prolonged period of cold weather means that horticultural spring is delayed. Spring flowers are late and the garden is only growing very slowly.
Until the weather bucks up gardeners need to delay sowing, seeding, and planting. Whatever the magazines and seed packets say, common sense says to wait a while yet.
Pieris japonica 'Forest Flame' is easy to grow, evergreen and fully hardy. At this time of year in spring the new growth has bright red colour followed by white flowers. Pieris are small to medium shrubs and are very low maintenance requiring nothing except an acid soil.
Later in April with warmer weather is a good time to sow the more hardy of the summer annuals such as Nasturtium, Calendula and Sweet Peas. Wait for a mild spell to ensure germination grow on under glass until the worst of the weather has passed.
If you would like to grow Clematis but are put off by all the pruning requirements check out C. Alpina ( illustrated is 'Frankie') and C. macropetala. They are both early flowering varieties which require no pruning and blooms tend to be delicate soft pinks and blues.
Long flowering and sweet smelling are the brightly coloured flowers of Erysimum cheiri Cheiranthus, also known as the Wallflower. Available in April Erysimum look great planted with Tulips. You can also buy in the Autumn as bare rooted plants to grow on for the spring.
The Sunday Gardener is full of free practical gardening advice. There is advice on spring flowering plants and shrubs, and summer flowering plants and shrubs. Advise on climbing plants, scented plants, and plants for shade. Pages of detailed growing advise and images to help you select the best plants for your garden.
Check out also pages on growing vegetables and a month by month seasonal calendar.
More than ever gardening is about being greener and helping wildlife. Ideas about wildlife friendly plants and plants for bees and butterflies which are easy to grow and will ensure your garden has a buzz.
Struggling to identify a shrub or plant? Send an image to theSunday Gardener for help.