With the long Easter weekend ahead, the time is ripe for tackling some major projects in the garden. At Longmeadow, Monty Don breaks ground for his new pond, and Carol Klein pays Geoff and Sally Davis another visit in their Somerset garden.
Their overgrown shrubs are in need of a jolly good haircut, but they haven’t a clue where to begin.
Projects in the garden :
1. Plant potatoes
It’s traditional to plant potatoes at Easter. If you have raised beds, you can plant them in a grid 15cm (6in) deep, 30-45cm (12-18in) apart. But if you have an area of open ground, you’ll first need to dig a V-shaped trench, adding plenty of well-rotted organic matter as you go. Place the tubers along the bottom, spacing them 30-45cm (12-18in) apart, then backfill with soil to create a mound over them.
2. Plant lilies in pots
Lilies hate wet soil and poor drainage so it’s worth growing them in pots if you can. Plant the bulbs in a free-draining compost – John Innes No.3, ideally with extra grit mixed in. Plant the bulbs about 15cm (6in) deep, ensuring that they are not touching each other, cover with compost and water. Place somewhere sheltered to grow and guard against slugs and snails. Just before they flower, move them to a prime location in your garden where the blooms and their scent can be fully appreciated.
3. Give lawns their first cut
As the weather warms up, it’s time to give your lawn its first cut of the season. Don’t forget to raise the blades of your mower to their highest setting as you only want give your grass a light trim. This tidies the lawn and removes winter debris, but still leaves it long if the weather goes cold again.
4. Growing Chard
Leaf beet, or chard, is becoming more popular thanks to the cultivars with brightly coloured leaf stalks and the revival of interest in growing ornamental vegetables, as well as its suitability to provide mini-leaves. It is similar to, but easier to grow, than spinach as it is less likely to go to seed in dry weather and one sowing produces a crop that lasts many months.