Around the Garden

One of the joys of spring is the sudden appearance of the single or double blooms of the lilacs. 

Their delicate fragrance enhances the flowers that come in colours of white, pink, purple and blue shades.

While lilacs are flowering it’s a good time to select one of these popular cool climate shrubs to plant in the garden.

One male kiwi fruit plant can fertilise several female plants if the male is no more than five metres away from the furthest female plant.

Caring for Clivias

Clivias are very fashionable today especially when planted in containers.

They will also grow happily in a partly shaded area of the open garden especially under rhododendrons and camellias. 

Water well in early summer. 

Celery-savvy

Celery must have deeply dug, very rich, well drained soil that has had lime added and a sunny position to produce crunchy, green stalks. 

And, it must be grown quickly otherwise the stalks tend to be poor quality so apply a liquid fertiliser every fortnight. 

Frequent, light watering is best.

Plant seedlings at 30cms spacings. Tie stems together to keep them growing upright. 

Pick the stems from the outside of the crown, snapping off with a sideways twist. 

Plant with cabbages as the white cabbage moth detests the smell of this vegetable. 

Keep your horseradish happy

Horseradish has large, dark green ribbed leaves and long, white tapered roots which are peeled and grated to make a piquant sauce to accompany meats.

If you grate more than you need the remaining can be packed in a jar and moistened with vinegar. 

For best results treat horseradish as an annual and plant new cuttings each year as the roots tend to loose flavour and become fibrous after that. 

Choose straight, thin rootlets, about 20cm long, found growing at the end of the main root.

Plant 30cm apart in full sun or partial shade and they should be ready to harvest next autumn.

This plant can become a rampant grower so choose the position carefully and discard old roots. 

The art of growing Artichokes

Globe artichokes, not to be confused with Jerusalem artichokes, should be producing plenty of edible flower heads now. 

Pick with 2.5cm of stem at the tight bud stage and just as the lower scales begin to open.

If left too long they tend to become tough and unpalatable.

Artichokes demand a deep, rich loam in an open, sunny position. 

After the crop has finished cut the plant down to within a few centimeters of the ground.