WITH the beautiful spell of sunshine, spring has definitely sprung in Devon.
Adrian Steele of Endsleigh Gardens Nursery shares some tips with Times readers ahead of a busy period for green-fingered gardeners.
Nature is now racing ahead and giving us a lovely spring. The daffodils have been very good and now the tulips are strutting their stuff. It is time to really throw yourself wholeheartedly into your garden and enjoy the spectacle of the spring flowers and the better weather (hopefully). This is an opportunity to set your garden up for many months to come.
Here at Endsleigh Gardens Nursery our plants are bursting into life. We have a whole range of herbaceous plants to give you colour for a considerable time.
In the spring geraniums, Symphytum and Pulmonaria start to bloom. Summer peaks with species like Coreopsis, Eryngium, Lobelia, Salvia, Achillea, Agapanthus, Thalictrum and Euphorbia. This is just to mention a few!
Then comes autumn with the asters and sedums. This long stretch of colour is not only a source of pleasure to us, but it provides the bees and other insects with a continuous source of food.
There is more to helping insects than just food for the adults. Food plants for larvae are an issue too, but we can all do our bit for the adult insects by providing flowers for them to feed on. It is always worth bearing in mind that insects pollinate many of our food plants. We really do need them.
Herbaceous plants are also useful in this part of the world where many of us have damp gardens. Astilbes, gunnera, hostas, rheums, Lobelia, Caltha, Lysimachia and some types of iris all appreciate the damp. Happy plants, in the conditions they need, thrive and reward us with a splendid display.
To add to the colour there is also seasonal bedding like Diascia, petunias, marigolds, Lobelia, Bacopa and a mass of others to choose from. These do need protection until you are sure that the frosts have completely gone.
Enhance your display by using good compost, controlled release fertiliser and liquid feed, all of which are available here at the nursery. Plants are like us, they do need their food and drink.
If you are prepared to keep an eye on the watering over the summer, it is still fine to plant trees and shrubs. The flowering cherries (Prunus) and crab apples (Malus) are looking beautiful with a mass of blossoms and leaf colours to suit all tastes. We have a good range of both aimed at the smaller garden. Most people do want a tree in even the most modest of gardens.
For those who garden to please their stomach as well as their aesthetic sensibilities, there are herbs and vegetable plants available.
We have many varieties of herbs like mint and thyme and old favourites like parsley and rosemary are for sale too. Each year the range of young vegetable plants available seems to increase, so do come in and see what we have got.
For both ornamentals and edible plants we have a wide range of composts and fertilisers. Talk to us about what you are doing and we will help you to make a decision.
Soil improver is needed if you are planting in the ground, whilst multipurpose compost is excellent for bedding and tomatoes, but long term planting of a shrub in a pot requires a more substantial medium.
Equally, you can talk to us about feeding your plants. We are keen to emphasise this as it is quite alarming how many people do not consider this. Poor hungry plants!
When giving advice we do also try to consider customers gardening budgets, so do come along and chat.
Finally, there is the exciting matter of Dicksonia antartica, the tree fern. We now have a good range of sizes available from dinky babies to four foot trunks, so everyone can treat themselves to one.
I am lucky enough to own one and it is a stately presence in my garden, whilst quite lovable at the same time with its furry ginger trunk. The emergence of the new fronds in the spring is very impressive and I have been rather amused by all the plants that have made their home in its trunk. A kind of eco-system in miniature.
This spring come along and see us, bring your dog, have a coffee, spend time with us and your fellow customers enjoying all the lovely things that spring brings. It is time to enjoy your garden.