The Grizzly Gardener – Gap fillers, grubs and furry mounds!

Mike Gardening Leave a Comment

P1240840-1600By mid-May, most of us will have seen the end of frosts and so it’s time to start to think about summer stuff and more trips to the garden centre!

Re-read Ste’s excellent advice on border planting from his blogs last year and don’t forget to vary textures, sizes and colours or tones – even within a theme and have some feature plants too like miscanthus or hostas, just to create impact.

colour wheelI never bother really with colour schemes for summer bedding, I think it all just needs to be a riot of colour but for those of you who like a bit more co-ordination, remember the colour wheel. Opposites compliment, adjacent colours conflict apparently – but that doesn’t really matter in my book.

It’s a good time as well to give the borders a feed. I use Westland Growmore but anything will do. I’d avoid chicken pellets if you have a dog or can’t put up with the garden smelling like a chicken shed for a few days. Best to put it out onto the borders before rain is forecast.

Garden centres – When you get to the garden centre, simply scan over what is there and buy what you like and in the summer, go for loads of variation. Classics like geraniums, begonias, petunias and lobelia never fail to come up with the goods if you are prepared to feed and deadhead regularly but things like nemesias look great dotted around the borders in all the small gaps. If you have space at the back of borders, a cheap easy and effective fill is to buy a packet of nasturtium seeds from the supermarket and dot them in. They’ll fill any gaps easily and flower like mad until they get eaten by marauding caterpillars at the end of the season. “Buying with your eyes” at garden centres is a great tactic if you visit each month, especially for hardy perennials. Doing it this way means you’ll get something of interest right through the year. There are loads of great plant centres out there too! My favourites locally are Vertigro and Breezy Knees around York, Dove Cottage in Shibden and of course, if you are happy to have a good rummage around, Reighton Nurseries near Brid. There is always something different at these places than in the run of the mill garden centres. One other thing you can do which is a great day out if you like gardening is to check out the National Garden Scheme for open gardens in your area.

signYou will most likely have seen the signs on the roadside before. More than 3,500 private gardens across the country open for Joe public. Always good for advice and a neb at what others are doing and it’s real people (like most of us…ahem!) doing it. Many of them have plant sales as well! It’s a great source of ideas and inspiration.

grubsPlanting tubs and pots – When you are planting in pots or tubs, DO NOT use the same compost that you had last year. Firstly it will be spent of all its nutrition, and secondly, most likely, it will contain those dastardly vine weevil grubs.

If it does, chuck all the compost into the recycling bin and NOT out into the garden. If you have overwintered plants like fuchsias and geraniums will need fresh soil too.   Get them out of the pots, remove as much compost as possible and replant in fresh compost. Line terracotta pots with a plastic carrier bag or bin bag to help retain moisture for much longer but don’t forget it DOES need a drainage hole making in the bottom.

Don’t forget to deadhead all your daffs as the fade, it looks better and will help the plant bulk up for next year. DON’T be tempted to tie the leaves in knots or chop them off before they have gone yellow.

4For the next blog, this plant and a lot of others will be getting chucked out into the garden for the summer. That’s when we can all really start to enjoy our efforts! In the meantime, enjoy what is already out there flowering in the Spring sunshine!

Plant of the Blog:

This is an easy one for me at this time of year. It’s the Pasque flower. A fantastic and understated little plant that is actually a British native albeit very rare in the wild now. They don’t flower for long, but always around Easter time with the downy purple flowers emerging above a mound of soft, silver-grey and hairy leaves (this is starting to sound like someone’s Growlr profile…). There’s a white form and a cracking red form too. They are tough as old boots and reliably come up every year if planted in a sunny spot where the can be left to their own devices.

That’s about it for now. We are still really in preparation mode for the great weeks to come so don’t be in too much of a hurry to get it all planted in the first week of May – chill a bit. That’s what gardening is all about.

About Me:


Geoff did ask me to write a few words about myself after the last blog. I’m not one to say much about myself but here goes. I’m 50 and I’ve lived in East Yorkshire now for the last 25 years, having moved across from Cheshire where I grew up. Neil, the bf, lives up near Dumfries. I work for a fertiliser manufacturer and have been lucky enough to travel worldwide with them. My inspiration for gardening comes from my grandfather and father. Their passion was for veggie growing – that’s a whole other world to me – and blog for a willing allotment bear! I’ve always enjoyed growing exotic stuff. Travelling around the world has fuelled that interest.

I’ve had my latest garden since 2009, it has changed a bit since then. It kind of looks like nothing in the Spring but really comes into its own in the summer as I hope you will see. If you track me down on FB, you can see some of the work I did at my previous house in my photo albums.

I still have the first plant ever given to me and I now need a sack barrow to move it around. In the 46 years I’ve had it, it has only flowered twice but I figure it was worth the wait considering the flowers were a good 8 inches across.

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