By Nick Condron
It’s May, and after a cooler and wetter spring than we’ve been used to of late, our garden is finally getting into the swing of another hectic growing season. In the polytunnels, we’re busy juggling trays and pots of seedlings and young plants to make space for those fast coming along behind. A steady stream of tomato plants, various herbs and other perennial bits and bobs have happily found new homes with visitors we’ve welcomed to the garden. With the birds in full song, the apple blossom at its best and the sun shining, it’s a wonderful time to be gardening.
In our vegetable beds, the asparagus spears are pushing through their seaweed mulch right on cue, with the first of the season already making it into the kitchen. The early potato tops are forming orderly, fresh green lines that will soon be ready for mounding up.
The sweet potato slips have arrived in the post and been rehydrated by standing them in a beaker of water, before being planted out in the polytunnel. Our new bed of fava beans are growing nicely and beginning to bud up for a plentiful crop. Soon, tomatoes, courgettes, lettuce and sweet corn will all be planted and we will look forward to a steady supply of produce once more.
One flower that’s particularly caught our eye over the past couple of weeks has been Ranunculus asiaticus, otherwise known as the Persian buttercup. We planted the bulbs last autumn for a spring bloom, but they can also be planted in spring to flower in the summer.
They produce large, showy flowers in shades of pink, red, yellow, orange and white, with a distinctively ruffled appearance. The flowers have numerous petals arranged in a rosette, giving them a full and lush appearance. Equally beautiful as cut flowers, our containers of them have made a perfect show in the polytunnel ahead of the summer flowers to come.
If you’re able to visit us at the moment, we’re open weekdays from 10 am until 3 pm, you may well catch the first substantial blooming of the Wisteria sinensis that we planted a couple of years ago to climb the railings around our old weather station. It’s really come on this year and the imminent lavender-coloured, fragrant, pea-like flowers will be a further boost to our ever interesting and stimulating garden. We look forward to seeing you soon but in the meantime, happy gardening!