Brian Kidd finds a gentle way to work off the festive flab

Why not have a go at growing peas?

Why not have a go at growing peas?

Polyanthus: dig them up when they finish blooming.

BRIAN KIDD: on how to save polyanthus and potted roses

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Now that we have had a bit of a rest from the garden we need to lose a bit of weight, but also ease our way into the new gardening year.

There are a few things we can do in the greenhouse: have a good clear-out, pick over dead leaves and have a good sweep-up.

... the rewards are great.

... the rewards are great.

Did you remember to sow some early pea seeds in cells?

I remembered and sowed six trays in the greenhouse at the allotment. They are now five inches tall and I am going to plant them out as soon as the wind drops and protect them with sprays of hazel branches.

Have you ever grown peas? Good, then have a go at this.

Half-fill insert cells with universal potting compost and put just two pea seeds in each cell. Cover the seeds with the compost and give the trays a shake which will settle it.

Water the compost and seedlings will emerge in about three weeks. Protect them from mice because they love pea seeds.

I put a plank supported by two upturned plastic buckets on the bench in my greenhouse at the allotment because rats and mice can’t climb the sides of plastic buckets.

Allow the seedling roots to fill the cells and then they can be planted into the garden or allotment and you’ll be picking peas at the end of May.

Can’t be bothered? OK, buy the frozen variety.

I had a walk around the garden this morning. The snowdrops are blooming in a couple of places; the camellias, both double white and single pink, are looking beautifuland are incredibly early this year, while daphne Jaquiline Postill is filling the garden with perfume.

The polyanthus looked as if they were drowning, but just a quick fork around them with a garden fork was all they needed and and they perked up well.

It was good to see birds happy on the feeders, especially the woodpecker. I always say to Pam: ‘The woodpecker says nip round to Pam’s for a good feed.’

Some of the most pleasing plants at this time of year are the winter-flowering heathers. They are so hardy, even after being almost flooded. They were literally under water for about a week and then covered with frost last week. Now they are in full flower and when the sun is out, you would think it was mid-summer.

Add to this a background of the beautiful golden leaves of elaeagnus maculata aurea and the bold red bottle shapes of the berries on aucuba, and the garden looks great.

The trouble is the grass is too wet to gather the remaining leaves.

Never mind, only three weeks and the snowdrops will be in full bloom in wonderful white drifts and it will be light at 5pm by the last day of this month!

Keep smiling, Easter eggs are in the shops...

TIP OF THE WEEK

The yellow botanical crocus are coming into bloom in sheltered places.

To prevent them being damaged by sparrows in the early morning, cut out the shape of a cat lying down.

Paint it black with a white patch on the front to make it look realistic and thrust two marbles into where the eyes should be and place it nearby.

The sparrows will keep off the blooms.

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