Now April is here (and more daylight hours) hopefully spring is well on the way and the gardening year can really take off.
We are busy in our glasshouses potting and pricking out summer bedding and container plants - some stunning new additions this year along with the traditional favourites.
For perking up borders and containers now, primroses, pansies and viola provide cheerful splashes of colour and are able to withstand cool spring temperatures and night frosts. Our range of trailing pansies are just ready too and will provide a cascade of flowers for months.
Spring flowering Rhododendron, Camellia and Azalea (evergreen and the stunning deciduous varieties) are just beggining to burst into bloom in the garden centre. From dramatic reds and pinks to soft yellow and white we should have something for everyone.
Don't forget to get herbaceous supports in place now before the things warm up and plants really begin to grow. Whether it is simple willow twig supports or something a little more elaborate it is much easier and more effective to have something in place early in the season.
The first of the strawberry plants are ready now with reliable and fragrant varieties such as Cambridge Favourite and more recent introductions Hapil and Florence. Planting a mixture of varieties will ensure crops throughout the summer months. We also have a couple of varieties suited to growing in containers and hanging baskets which will be available towards the end of the month. These types are great if space is limited and also wonderful for children to grow.
We have a good selection of bush fruits too - blackcurrants, redcurrants, gooseberries and blueberries which are all easy to grow and involve very little effort. Thorn-less varieties of Blackberry make picking a much more pleasant task!
Why not try something a bit different? The Lingonberry is a popular fruit in Scandinavia with an intense flavour. Lingonberries are of the same family as cranberries and blueberries and have similar requirements. Honeyberries which are similar in appearance to blueberries are also available this year. Perhaps slightly easier to grow as they do not require acidic soil.
There are also plenty of apples, plums, cherries and pears with varieties offered particularly suited to the Scottish climate.
For the Stylish Gardener
Featuring the beautiful William Morris 'Strawberry Thief' pattern is a stunning collection of garden related items which would make a perfect gift.
The range comprises of really comfy kneelers, tools, tins, gloves and even a tin mug (ideal for taking a hot drink outside to warm you up)
In addition to our range of wellies and clogs we now have some stylish Chelsea boots available in claret or navy blue.
Not forgetting any 'little helpers' the new Briers collection in bright, cheerful colours should have children out assisting in no time. From gloves and wellie liners to watering cans and child size tools, at a very reasonable price, these are also great if you're looking for a little gift.
Give your lawn a little t.l.c.
It is amazing how much difference a neatly edged and well fed lawn make to the appearance of a garden. After such a prolonged wet spell this winter it is the lawn which really seems to have suffered.
A treatment of ;awn sand which will kill moss and an initial feed is a good place to start. once applied the lawn sand will turn moss black - this should then be raked out with a lawn rake. The grass will probably look a bit patchy and bare at this stage but it often recovers pretty quickly and any really bare bits can be over seeded. Don't attempt to put grass seed down until the soil temperature has risen as the seed will not germinate - wait until the middle of april at the earliest.
Feeding little and often over the growing season and not cutting lawns too short should ensure you have a lawn to be proud of this year.