Well, I am sure everyone is delighted that, after a very cold and dry spring, the weather has turned so that we finally no longer have below-zero nights. This of course means that we can start putting out all the plants from the greenhouse.

Photo 1 shows some outdoor cordon tomatoes, which are already 3 feet high. One point about tomatoes is blight (tomato and potato blight are the same thing). If you go to Blightwatch on the internet, you can register (absolutely free) with your postcode. You will then get email updates as to when blight is likely in your area. Blight is an airborne disease, usually coming from the west, so just close your greenhouse, or cover your tomatoes/potatoes with fleece.

Next out of the greenhouse were the lettuce, rocket etc, shown in photo 2.

Now with the flowers in the many tubs and flowerbeds, there is a slight problem. Because of the cold weather, some tulips and even daffodils have been holding on to their blooms. Normally by now they would all have died down, and you could be taking off the foliage, leaving the bulbs in the ground for next year. However, I am having to take off the foliage before all the goodness has gone back into the bulb, to make way for all the new summer annuals and perennials. I therefore suspect that next spring’s showings of the daffodils and tulips wont be as spectacular, so I will need to put in more spring bulbs this autumn.

Today is the first day of the latest relaxation of COVID restrictions, where up to 6 people can meet indoors, but please do take things carefully and slowly. However, outdoor activities are much safer, so last week Paula and I took a trip to Exbury Gardens, near Beaulieu. Exbury is noted for its rhododendrons, azaleas, acers and camelias (it has very acid soil), and they are looking spectacular at the moment, as seen in photo 3. They will remain spectacular for the next 3 weeks or so, and if you are looking for a nice garden to visit, now is the best time to visit Exbury.

Linda Withrington and Rita Gibson won the gardening prize last year during lockdown, for the maximum flowers and shrubs seen on their daily walks. Would you both like to claim your prize with a trip to Exbury? I am free after this week.

Happy gardening, it is a busy time trying to catch up.