Polyanthus put on a colourful show.

polyanthus

polyanthus

Now's the time for pricking out those seedlings. Picture: peganum/Flickr

BRIAN KIDD: It’s full steam ahead as the new gardening year begins

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We have to try to get on with some gardening and if you are an allotment holder, you will have taken every opportunity to get on with the digging when the weather has been kind.

I still recommend keep ing off the soil when it’s very wet but just as a reminder, get on with digging, incorporating manure or compost where the potatoes, peas, beans and onions are to be planted.

That should be the priority because all root crops can be sown on soil which is dug a bit later on and cabbages can be planted in ground which has not been dug as long as weeds are removed.

Let’s go indoors now and at the same time answer a question from a group of ladies and gentlemen who live in a retirement home.

Liz and Ben wrote to me about a lovely conservatory, where they all enjoy games during the day.

Liz tells me they had house plants but they have gradually died off and there is nothing left. The reason may be that the heating is turned off at about 5pm when tea is served.

‘We would all love a spring display as a centrepiece. There is a large glass- topped table with lots of light, can you give us some ideas?’, she asked.

You will need three large plain dishes. Pour in two inches of potting sand in the base of each one and go to a garden centre or nursery, quite a treat on dull days.

Choose some red, yellow, orange, pink and light blue polyanthus or primroses in pots. Choose plants with just a couple of blooms but lots of flower buds.

You will need enough so that when they are placed on the sand in the containers, each pot will be an inch from the next one.

Use red ones with yellow or orange for a warm glow. Put pink with blue – this combination always works.

If you would like to give each arrangement a bit of height, a pot of white hyacinths will look great with the blue and pink.

The third bowl can be filled with baby daffodils.

If you would like an arrangement which will last longer, plant the other bowl with winter-flowering heathers. These will be in flower until the end of April, after which they can be planted outside.

Remember everything recommended is kept in its pot and the pots are pressed into the sand. This will ensure they won’t be overwatered and if someone forgets to water, there will be a reservoir in the sand.

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