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Spring has sprung in the garden with daffodils appearing through rain-soaked soil

Spring in the Garden of England….don’t you love it?

You can feel everyone’s spirits lifting even after only a small dose of sunshine. The daffodils are in full bloom, perhaps a bit early for growers who want them around for Mother's Day, but we are enjoying them now anyway.

Daffodils in the sun
Daffodils in the sun

Every year there is something that is out early or late, no two years seem to be the same!

The hedgerows have started bursting into life with Blackthorn (Prunus spinosa) in blossom.

Blackthorn blossom
Blackthorn blossom

This deciduous thorny shrub produces sloe fruits in the autumn and is easily mistaken for the Hawthorn (Crataegus monogyna). The way to differentiate the two is the flowers of the blackthorn emerge before the leaves whereas the Hawthorn’s leaves come before the flowers which don’t appear until May/June then later producing red berry fruits called haws.

Hard Peas

Unfortunately after my advice on the benefits of sowing your sweet peas in November (which helps them establish a good root system) the seeds I sowed did not germinate.

Well these things can happen, but I can’t be without these scented beauties in my garden so I’ve had another go.

Soaking sweet pea seeds
Soaking sweet pea seeds

The information for sowing sweet peas can be quite varied, they have tough coats so the advice used to be that you should chip them with a knife or sand them to allow the water to penetrate but now just soaking the seeds in a glass of water overnight is enough to give them a start, hopefully it will for mine.

Mulch Away

After all the rain we have had slugs and snails will be in their element, in an attempt to protect your precious plants from these munching menaces you can try any or all of the following defences:

Slug pellets – applying a thin layer around the base of plants; collecting them up by torchlight at night; laying traps laced with beer; applying copper rings around your young plants. Or add another physical barrier such as applying a good bark mulch to your borders which will also keep in moisture and so providing an extra benefit to your plants.

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