Barlow Nurseries

Growers of trees, shrubs and hardy herbaceous perennial garden plants near Newport, Shropshire



Nova News editorial spring 2010

We write editorial to accompany our regular advertisements in our local free advertising magazine Nova News.   The print deadline is about a month before publication date, so writing topically about gardening is a bit of a challenge, if not a gamble, especially this year.

Anyway, here’s the editorial from the current issue, which publishes this week….

There doesn’t seem to be much agreement on when Spring actually begins.  According to the Met Office it’s March 1st;  sun watchers will tell you it didn’t start this year until 17.32 on March 20th (the vernal equinox);  Gardener’s World viewers are never quite sure when it’ll start (or if after it has, if it’ll be cancelled because of the snooker).     Others might tell you Spring hasn’t arrived until they’ve heard the first cuckoo, or the roar of the first lawn mower, but whichever definition you follow, you should have a spring in your step by now, so enjoy!   It’s the best season of the year!

Poised for action....

Poised for action....

After the winter we’ve just endured we’re surprised and delighted to find sun or our backs at last, and have been marvelling at the resilience of the plant world – our picture shows a rhododendron bud poised to deliver a burst of colour to the garden, and apparently entirely unphased at the arctic temperatures it’s just endured.

And we’re looking forward to a wonderful summer;  it seems only reasonable to expect that after a “proper” winter we should get a proper summer, and  we’re gardening like crazy so we’re ready.   We’ve been frantically sowing, taking cuttings, potting up and potting on for some weeks now, and the nursery is at last shaking off winter, and waking up!

We’ve been busy in the tree department too, and have added new aisles so we have an even bigger selection to choose from (450 trees at our spring stock check!).    And we continue to extend our range of shrubs and herbaceous plants, trying always to include species that you won’t find in many other places, so if you’re looking for something a little out of the ordinary, call in!

If some of the plants in your garden haven’t made it through the winter, don’t be too despondent.   It’s an opportunity to ring the changes!   And if you some of your plants look as if they only made it through winter by the skin of their teeth, listen to what they’re telling you – they’d like to be somewhere warmer, or perhaps freer draining , so give them what they want.  Uprooting a plant and shifting it to a new site in the garden isn’t actually as daunting as it sounds, and the plant will likely thank you for it and perform much better in future years, so get the spade out, and do a bit of re-styling!

And if some of your plants need a bit of a post-winter tidy – be bold!   Most people are worried about pruning and tend to be overly cautious; don’t be – cut dead shoots and branches right out, and if that leaves the plant unbalanced, prune what remains back to buds that look as if they will grow in the right way to re-balance the plant.   Be decisive, and let the plant know who’s boss;  make it do what you want, and it will thank you in the end.

And finally, If you enjoy garden visiting, the National Trust property Dunham Massey in Cheshire ought to be looking good right now.    A new 7 acre winter garden was installed last year, and it includes 200,000 spring bulbs, many of which should be doing their glorious thing just about now!

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