//Philippa’s Newsletter – May 2018

Philippa’s Newsletter – May 2018

My Garden by Philippa Thomas

A profusion of buds and flowers and gorgeous wafts of scent and then, maybe somewhere cool green, to sit in.  This is what we seem to want from our gardens, patios, balconies in Summer; ‘Seasonality in the garden’, – It’s our season for exotics which may have spent the rest of our gardening year crouching under some chair or the likes in our glass house waiting eagerly for its holiday out of doors…  We, likewise unwrap our tree ferns and suddenly, our garden looks like we are living abroad.  Stepping outside our door on a sunny Summer morning in order to pick a handful of berries can bring great joy.  Choose cultivars that will thrive in a patio container to provide a little fruit in even the smallest space.

a) Strawberry, Malling Opal, a perpetual is an excellent variety.

b) Blueberry: compact cultivars Bluegold, Bluetta and Blues Brothers suit container growing.

c) Blackberries, Reuben is a good patio variety.

d) Raspberries – , thornless patio raspberries have recently become available “So please bring me sunshine!”

A study by James Hutton Institute should put potatoes firmly back on the menu.  Many vitamins and minerals in potatoes, through processing and cooking, are retained.  Plus eating them has been linked to lower risk of heart attacks.

Herbs quite simply transform a meal into a feast.  Don’t they make a meal come alive and then they also stimulate digestion.  A Mediterranean herb that’s become increasingly known and incredibly useful is Savoury – , the most robust variety being ‘Winter Savoury’

Our hardy perennials often react most favourably to the Chelsea Chop, (having their stems cut back by half in May.)  If you do it now, you will have shorter stems and a delay in flowering.  Control release fertilizers are just as effective as liquid feeds but are far easier to use as they only need to be applied once per season.  …Our seedlings are still at particular risk, so maybe grow these under glass until they establish or cut off bases of clear plastic bottles to protect them.  So, with many pressing jobs to attend to, time is the key ingredient this month, “Time is the grit in the gardening oyster,” – The irritant that makes things happen!  …Is there ever enough time?  …Even on the most fleeting visit outside, I have promised myself, I will try to do one simple task and do the beginning, middle and the finish of that thing.  …This Summer, my aim is to try to make small but meaningful changes.  I am trying to make a conscious decision to limit the range of plants, – concentrating on my favourites.  My two absolute favourite plants this month being, Anemone Memorosa, ‘Frenzy’ and Coryeopsis Pauciflors, (Buttercup Winter hazel shrub).  Remember, mild weather is just so right for our slugs and snails as they are simply waiting to get munching  on all our best plants – , maybe use a torch at night to collect them and move them onwards.


Might Do Maybe May Jobs

  1. Containers provide the flexibility to satisfy some of us with our hunger for new plants in a limited space. A useful technique is sinking a container to ground level under a tree, then if a plant is invasive, its roots too, can be restricted.
  2. Clip evergreen hedges if required but check for nesting birds, first.
  3. Lavender needs three things: a) Full sun. b) Free-draining alkaline soil. c) Correct pruning.
  4. Many garden birds are incubating eggs or rearing chicks in May, take care not to disturb them.
  5. Late May is the ideal time to add bedding to borders and pots, many will bloom ‘til the first frosts.

Do You Know ???

  1. Do you know that many of our most heavenly scented flowers are white (with the exception of roses), many flowers such as Honeysuckle save their strongest scent until evening to attract moths which depend on pollination.
  2. Do you know that you can buy Ladybirds to release into your garden to control aphids. They’re available from biological-control suppliers such as ‘Gardening Naturally’.
  3. Do you know that French Beans are increasing in popularity due to stronger flavours and stringless pods.
  4. Do you know that centipedes always have an odd number of legs from 15 – 101 pairs. Centipedes do a super job in eating soil pests.
  5. Bee Facts: Summer born adult worker bees live for around six weeks and forage 3 miles, (4.8 km), from their hive.  Globally there are nearly 20,000 known species of bees.
  6. Wasps:  Wasps are generally only a problem in Autumn when The Queen stops producing eggs and there are no larvae to give the workers a sweet food.  Instead they look for other sources of sugar as fallen fruit or – land on our picnic feasts!
  7. A Derbyshire developer has been fined a record of over £10,000 for destroying a roost of brown long-eared bats in Matlock.
  8. Spearmint: Crushed leaves rubbed into skin deter mosquitoes.
  9. Some people find that a natural weedkiller based on vinegar and a 6% acetic acid works for weeds in cracks in paving but is less effective in roots in the ground.
  10. Only cut away daffodil foliage once it has turned yellow, naturally.
  11. Green flowers have a great leavening effect on bright colours, especially if you feel your colours are clashing. – Mayhem can become a magnificent tapestry.
  12. Remember that single flowers are better food sources for insects than double flowers

“Hope is the thing with feathers”

“Logic will get you from A to B, imagination will get you everywhere”

“Use your fingers, hands and your soul”

“Always, remember Mother Nature is in control”

Enjoy, every single May Day

2018-08-16T15:05:49+00:00May 1st, 2018|