Spring Marches forward this month, with longer days and warmer temperatures to encourage many spring flowering shrubs and trees to come into flower and add colour and interest after such a long winter.Paraic HorkanCampanula Porto also known as the blue bell flower is one such plant. This low growing perennial border flower blooms from March to early summer and is ideal to plant in groups along borders, in raised flower beds and perfect for spreading over small rocks and gravel in a rockery. Campanula Porto is easy to grow, flowers reliably each year and is perfect in all soil types. Plant the blue bellflower now for some instant colour in your garden.
- The taste of home grown new potatoes in early June is a highlight of the gardening year. Thin skinned balls of flour with that new potato flavour make them irresistible and yet new potatoes are so easy to grow. My favourite new potato variety is Orla – easy to grow, blight resistant and packed full of flavour, making this an outstanding Irish variety. Orla new potatoes can be grown in pots or raised beds for a bumper crop of early new potatoes.
- Plant a range of fruiting plants – remember that many fruiting plants will grow in borders, lawn areas and in tubs and patio planters. For fresh strawberries this summer plant up a Strawberry pot now. You’ll need about a dozen plants, some Growise Compost and a suitable strawberry pot or bag. Simply plant the plants around the sides and on top of the strawberry bag. Place out of doors on a patio in a sunny location and add water as required. It’s that simple!
- Nesting boxes for garden song birds can be erected in north east facing walls or trees in your garden. Garden song birds seek out nesting locations this month to rear their young.
- Plant some Rhubarb plants in your garden now – Rhubarb is easy to grow and will provide fresh red sticks for many years. The variety I recommend is Timberely Early which is ready for picking in late March and early April. When planting add some Growise Compost and a hand full of Osmo Pro 6 slow release fertiliser. You will need about six or eight plants for the average household.
- Pear and Plum trees grow well and fruit reliably here in Ireland – to get the best results plant the trees now on a sunny south facing wall or trellis and train them as a wall cover. The protection from the wall will help to ripen the fruit earlier and encourage stronger growth. The best Plum variety I grow is called Victoria – lovely plum coloured juicy fruit produced in abundance from mid July.
- Blueberries are fun to grow and not only produce a fantastic crop of juicy blue fruit full of flavour, they also are fantastic to add colour from both the flowers and foliage in any garden. You can also grow Blueberries in pots and patio tubs.
Remember to plant your Blueberries using Growise Ericaceous compost and feed the plants in spring and summer with Slow Release Fertiliser . Blueberries fruit over a long period and you should enjoy regular pickings from June to September.
- Suttons Scented Sweet Peas offer you a unique range of long stemmed scented blooms ideal for cutting as cut flowers in mid summer. Sow the seeds of Scented Sweet Peas indoors now and plant out to flower from June to early winter.
- Plant out a selection of vegetable plants now directly into your garden – Lettuce, Cabbage, Green Broccoli, Brussels Sprouts and Leek plants are all available now for planting into your borders or into grow bags. The variety of Cabbage I recommend is Hilton a beautiful Chinese type – it produces deep green cone shaped heads six weeks after planting. Plant Hilton Cabbage plants now and again every two weeks for regular pickings all summer long.
- For salad onions sow some Suttons White Lisbon Onion seed now directly out of doors. Sow the seed of White Lisbon lightly into well prepared ridges or borders. White Lisbon will produce bunches of rich green great tasting salad onions from June to late autumn with regular sowings.
- Sow a selection of Suttons French Bean seed now indoors in gentle heat. There are a wide range available for sowing. Safari is an excellent early dwarf variety – it produces long straight stringless pods from early summer. The flavour is excellent. Safari is an excellent variety for smaller gardens and works really well planted in containers.