Looking forward to the flowers.
Spring is just about to merge into summer and what a splendid spring of blossom and scent it has been.
As the last of the spring-flowering bulbs die back, the first of the herbaceous perennials are coming into flower, with lupins and delphiniums making good growth, and the first to flower, the Doronicums, in full bloom.
These, like large yellow daisies, apparently get their name from their colour, but whether they would scare off any leopards which stray into your garden I cannot say. They are the only spring-flowering perennials. If dead flowers are removed they often put on a second show in autumn. Sometimes their leaves get powdery mildew and they are susceptible to slugs.
They are very easy to propagate by splitting the clumps in either late spring or autumn.
Slugs are a problem this spring after a mild winter and some damp days. Some new Slug Clear pellets with less chemicals than some have just been put on the market as "advanced pellets" and are claimed to contain proven pest repellent. Nonetheless they carry a warning about danger to pets.
Make up your own mind about using pellets, but do read and follow the directions. They are available in a handy sprinkle-flow pack.
To be published on June 1 is yet another splendid book from the prolific pen of Expert books, Dr David Hessayon. The Garden Revival Expert (pounds 6.99) follows the format of all the millions of Expert books from Dr Hessayon and is a "must" for anyone discontented with their garden now or moving to a new house with a bare garden.
The colour pictures and designs are superb as always and from worn-out roses and tired old lawns to leaking ponds and shattered fences it contains all the remedies with the easiest possible labour. And there is a very good gardening DIY section.
Renovating a garden after years of neglect is a task just completed by David Barker, head gardener at Middlethorpe Hall, York, with 20 acres of a largely nettle-filled area which has been transformed into a manicured parkland with a walled kitchen garden, a central double herbaceous border, roses, scented shrubs, fruit trees, a mellow brick dovecote and walls sheltering peaches, pears, apples and plums, a blue ceanothus, a wisteria, a lake and retained cedar, a red oak and a Turkey oak. Some trees are over 150 years old.
The warmer sunnier summers of recent years have persuaded many gardeners to invest in more garden furniture so as to be able to enjoy pleasant out-of-doors occasions.
Focus DIY stores have a wide range (see picture) which don't diminish the garden.
Keeping garden furniture clean is just another chore which manufacturers have now recognised. Cuprinol have produced packs of garden furniture wipes, contaning wax and orange oil, which I have found to be very effective in taking away the inevitable grime which accumulates on wooden surfaces left outside.
As I noted earlier, we are moving towards summer. Tulips will need lifting as flowers die. Often just a few planted among vegetation stand up well in wind and rain from which they gain protection.
My picture shows a few Queen of the Night tulips which stood up well to the elements in an exposed Wensleydale garden.