Enjoy spring in the garden, summer can wait for now

Crab apple blossom

Crab apple blossom

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We recently had torrential pulses of rain, then the next day a chilly, blustery wind from the North-West. In truth, this is not unusual, indeed you might say it is “normal” April weather.

The spring months can be very contrary weather wise, having periods of warm sunny days suddenly changing to times of chilly weather, with heavy rains, hailstones and chilly winds, even frost, only to switch back abruptly to warm sunny days for a while.

Most garden plants seem to take the contrary nature of the weather in their stride. Just look around and daffodils seem to abound everywhere, providing welcome early colour to lift our spirits. The yellow forsythias and pink flowering currants have been in bloom for a while and now they are being joined by the gorgeous shell-pink tulip-cupped flowers of the Magnolia soulangeana, and the massed rose-like flowers of the Camellias, usually in candy-pink but sometimes red or white.

Less dramatic, but still impressive are the Pieris group. They are presently bowed-down with massive and abundant sprays of white lily-of-the-valley flowers. For them, however, this is just the starter. The main event comes around now when the young shoots are produced in shades of bright red. The variety Pieris ‘Forest Flame’ is especially attractive.

Early blossom trees are already in bloom around town. Especially pretty are those just above the town hall at the traffic lights. The rich pink ‘Japanese’ cherry blossoms will be a couple of weeks yet. Yes, spring is a lovely time.

But gardeners cannot help wishing away the prettiest season of the year in their eagerness to get planting for summer. Already I am being bombarded with inquiries for lobelia and begonias and indeed fully furnished hanging baskets but it is still early and grandma warned us ‘not to cast a clout till May is out’, as the weather can change and there is always the chance of a touch of overnight frost.

This is where a greenhouse comes into its own. Wifey has been busy sowing vegetable seeds and growing seedlings and the time for planting tomatoes under glass draws near. There is plenty of time yet but the keenest gardeners are already starting to plant their tomatoes out in the greenhouse. I will probably join them next week if time permits and I can fight my way through the trays of Wifey’s seedlings in the greenhouse but if not there is no panic. I am still focusing on enjoying spring, and summer can wait for now.

Mind you it would be nice to make a start and get some toms growing. Perhaps I will after all. It seems I am just as bad as everyone else. What a lovely problem to have.