Spring gardening tips - Bluebells

It's bluebell season but there's even more to get excited about this month, says gardening <br/>expert Sue Beesley

According to the RHS, the long, cold winter means we are going to have a fabulous spring, with everything bursting into flower simultaneously in a brilliant display of colour.  I can’t wait!

There’s so much to look forward to, but I’m especially going to enjoy seeing our Pulsatillas in flower again. These gorgeous alpine perennials like to grow in really well drained, gravelly soil in full sun. They produce neat mounds of purple, red or white flowers throughout April above delicate ferny foliage.  In summer the silvery seed heads are attractive in their own right, making a wonderful setting for brighter summer flowers.

April is a wonderful month for our woodland wildflowers too and the bluebell season is a great excuse to explore Cheshire’s lovely ancient woodlands.  Our English bluebells are at their best in the last week of April and first week of May, spreading a gently scented blue carpet under the slowly unfolding tree canopy above. It is absolutely magical.

For active gardeners, April just brims with opportunities to get outside.  Beetroot and pea seeds can be sown outside under fleece, while tomatoes, peppers, sweetcorn and beans can be sown in the greenhouse. 

April is also the ideal month for taking cuttings of shrubs and perennials as they’ll have the whole summer to root and grow before winter.  Just snip off a firm, green shoot about four inches long, remove the lower leaves and push into a pot of gritty compost. Cover with a polythene bag ‘tent’ and put somewhere warm but out of direct sunshine. It’s a great way to get more of your favourite plants for free.   Sue Beesley was runner up in the BBC’s Gardener of the Decade and is the owner of Lodge Lane nursery and Bluebell Cottage Gardens in Dutton, Cheshire. She will be holding two half day propagation workshops on April 28th and 29th. Check out her website www.lodgelanenursery.co.uk

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