Gardens Archive - APRIL / MAY 2005
So another growing season is upon us. Hopefully winter is behind us and we can look forward to a good summer.
As we have had a relatively wet winter this year I have noticed we have lost a few of our herb plants, particularly the ones which favor drier ground conditions. Noticeable amongst these has been Thyme, although our Thyme bed is well raised and has good drainage, it has suffered from the wet winter. Thyme is easy to propagate from cuttings in the autumn and relatively quick from seed, though if you only need a few plants it is probably easier to just buy new every few years!
Thyme, like Rosemary and Lavender is one of those plants which will not re-grow if cut back too hard, if you need to trim them wait until new growth buds appear in the spring and cut back to the lower ones. Lavender in particular will over time become very woody with little flower, but if trimmed back when you can see new growth buds, it will stay fresh and healthy for many years and flower well.
We have started planting out some of hardier salad crops like corn salad, rocket, Greek cress, wrinkle crinkle cress and mizuna. All have been raised in plug trays in the cold greenhouse. As long as the soil temperature keeps up I shall continue sowing hardier salad crops directly into the soil outside.
Now is a good time to think about your lawn if it is not looking healthy. If you have a problem with moss it is either caused by bad drainage or being too shady. You can help this situation by going over the lawn with a fork and pushing it in deeply to create holes, and then brush in sharp sand which will also help produce a finer lawn. If you have a lot of moss it is better to rake it out now or hire a moss raker for a day. You can then give your lawn a good feed and weed mixture, and look forward to a green healthy weed free lawn all summer.
At Northcote I have just finished planting a new rose garden with old fashioned scented roses, including my favourite 'compte de chambord', very full flowers, pink and highly scented. Alongside these I have put weeping standards of 'pink perpetur'. At the moment I am planning a 34 metre long arched tunnel which I am hoping to cover with a mixture of fruit and climbing roses.
As our vine produced a good crop of grapes this year I shall also add a few vines giving the garden a Mediterranean feel, as we seem to be having milder winters. When we have wedding parties at the Manor this summer, I am hoping they will be able to use this feature to enhance their wedding photographs.
I hope that my simplified suggestions are helpful to you in your own garden and if you do have any gardening queries particularly on edible crops, why don't you drop in at Northcote for lunch, as I am usually available in the garden to answer any questions.
Good luck with your own garden for the summer season.
Head Gardener Northcote Manor