Gardening: Don’t let chill cool your enthusiasm

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The unseasonable weather this year will have escaped nobody’s attention. Garden centres have been feeling the brunt of the cold temperatures, with trade predicted to be down by up to 20 per cent in the important spring months.

But as the weather starts to get warmer, the Horticultural Trades Association (HTA) would like to reassure gardeners that they still have time to plant to achieve the perfect garden.

With the promise of improved weather just around the corner, gardeners can take advantage of a late spring. Plants have a remarkable ability to ‘catch up’ on growth so late spring planting, coinciding with early summer planting, will bring an explosion of colour to the nation’s gardens.

Although it may be cold outside, garden centres are still well stocked, looking good and ready for business. Plants that have been grown on nurseries under protection or in glass houses were distributed to retailers in February and are available for customers to buy now.

Spring is also the ideal time to plant salad favourites such as tomatoes, 
peppers, and cucumbers, although these will need to be sown in warm conditions such as a propagator, greenhouse or window sill.

Tomato seed can be sown now to produce plants ready for planting into cold glass houses at the beginning of May.

It is also worth thinking about the birds in your garden, too. Good quality, high energy feeds are what birds need at this time of year to meet garden birds’ energy requirements through the cold weather and helps to contribute towards the future of viable garden bird populations.

Carol Paris, director general of the HTA, said: “Easter is usually the time to kick-start the gardening season and this is still the case.

“Gardeners should not be caught out by the cold weather, now is the ideal time to start gardening preparations for when the warmer weather kicks in.

“Garden centres are fully stocked; looking good and ready for business.”

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