Mind your peas and enjoy your heathers

Flowering heathers are pleasing at this time of year.
Flowering heathers are pleasing at this time of year.
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Now that we have had a rest from the garden, there are a few things we can do in the greenhouse – have a good clear-out, pick over dead leaves and sweep up.

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

I remembered to do this last year but didn’t have time to do it during the autumn. I am going to do this over the next few days.

Well, it will be during the evening with a lantern in the greenhouse at the allotment. I am going back to

the variety called Feltham First.

Half fill insert cells with universal potting compost and put just three pea seeds in each of the cells.

Cover the seeds with the compost and give the trays a shake – this will settle the compost.

Water the compost and the seedlings will emerge in about three weeks.

Protect them from mice which love pea seeds. Put a plank between two upturned buckets, place the trays on the plank and the mice can’t climb up the sides of the buckets.

Allow the seedling roots to fill the cells and then they can be planted into the garden or allotment.

Why bother? Well the seedlings can be planted out when there is time available, they will be okay in the cells for weeks. If you act on this advice you will be picking peas at the end of May.

Can’t be bothered? Okay, get frozen ones!

I had a walk around the garden this morning. The snowdrops are emerging, the camellia buds are going to split open in about three weeks but the Daphne odora is filling the garden with perfume.

The polyanthus looked as if they were drowning. Just a quick fork around with a garden fork and they perked up really well.

It was good to see the birds were happy on the feeders, especially the woodpecker. I always say to Pam: ‘The woodpecker says I must 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 flooded (they were literally under water for about a week) they are in full flower.

Add to this a background of beautiful golden leaves of Elaeagnus Maculata Aurea and the bold red bottle shapes on the berries of Aucuba and the garden looks great.

And remember, it’s only three weeks before the snowdrops are in bloom, and it will be light at 5pm on the last day of this month!