12 April, 2021

April 2011

Peter’s advice

Now, you don’t need me to tell you that this is the busiest time of year in the garden, what with tidying up after the winter and getting all the new vegetables and flowers in for pretty well the whole of the the coming year.

On top of that, though, is all the things that happened in the garden during the Arctic weather that we had in November and December. A large number of trees and shrubs, almost all evergreens, took a real bashing during last year’s Ice Age and, even now, some may well not make it.

Bay Tree

Peter and Bay

Peter inspects his winter-ravaged bay tree (AGW 2011)

Anyone walking from Beech Crescent to Main Street will see a 20ft. tall brown bay tree facing them in our garden on the left. Some years ago, this took a bashing in a cold spell. It came back well from that, though, and has been looking great for some years. However, it’s on the road of no return this time; the branches are brown when you cut into them; not a good sign.

My rule is never to get rid of possibly dead trees and shrubs until we’re well into June. It sounds late but I’ve known things revive more than once. Mind you, that’s not to say that everything is worth saving.

For example, if a tall shrub, like our baytree, is more dead than alive, it’s better to get rid of it and plant something else; if you want to. By the time you’ve cut out the dead material, there’ll be precious little left. Get rid.

What I’m saying is that, when a plant whose fate you are considering has been that badly damaged, what’s it going to look like if you keep it and just cut out the dead bits? It’s going to look awful and is better off out of it. If it has a special place in your life, get rid of it but replace it with another. You might even propagate from the remains.

Times without number, I’ve seen these poor, mutilated things standing there, shadows of their former selves, longing to be laid to rest! Learn when to say ‘no’ and have the strength to follow it up. A replacement will always look better and much sooner, than some old horror clinging to life.

Good luck!

Peter Blackburne-Maze 2011

 Jonathan’s Tips

Plant 1st & 2nd early potatoes, onion sets, first early peas and broad beans.

Don’t sow anything in the garden that can suffer from spring frost damage, ie French Beans. Frosts are still possible up to the end of May.

Some shrubs which have suffered winter damage may require pruning.

However, frost damaged plants take a long time to recover.

Spring garden (AGW 2011)


Dahlia tubers can be potted in cold frames and bedding plants can be sown in the greenhouse.

Spring flowering bulbs can be dead headed as the flowers die, but don’t cut away any green foliage.

Also a top dressing of bonemeal on them will encourage good flowers in 2012.

Jonathan Piercy 2011

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