The prolonged winter has meant that things in the garden are moving slower than normal, it’s probably put everything back by about three to four weeks.

For many, the recent cold snap has resulted in the loss of plants and shrubs. At the hospice we have been relatively lucky in terms of the damage caused by the cold weather; the snow actually insulated the plants that had started to grow so they were protected from the frost. We have lost a couple of yew trees in Bicton which bent and snapped under the weight of the snow and have lost a few of cotinus shrubs which should hopefully grow back next year.

Now the snow has gone and the ground has thawed we can start preparing the flower beds and borders. Over in Apley we have top dressed and cultivated the boarders ready for planting.

We have been very busy in the greenhouse sewing a wide variety of fruit and vegetable seeds including leeks, cabbage, broccoli, sweet peas and lettuce. Following a request from the ladies that work hard in our kitchens over in Apley we have also planted lots of herbs which we hope to turn into a small herb garden. When the seedlings are strong enough we will be planting them out in our kitchen gardens in Shrewsbury and Telford. These gardens form part of a bigger plan to reduce the impact the hospice has on the environment by reducing our food miles. We have also been entered into the Britain in Bloom ‘Incredible Edibles’ community scheme so we are starting to plan ahead ready for judging later in the year.

As spring seems to have finally arrived there are a wide variety of bulbs flowering across both sites adding a splash of colour. The daffodils and tulips are in full bloom and we are starting to see more shoots appearing every day.

At our hospice in Shrewsbury we are currently undertaking a spot of building work to upgrade patient facilities on our Breidden ward. As a result we’ve had to move a number of shrubs and trees so the builders can get to where the work is being carried out.

For gardens as large as the ones at the hospice mowing can often seem like painting the Forth Bridge, once you’ve finished one end it’s time to start all over again. Now the weather has improved we have been able to start mowing the lawns in Apley but as the ground is much wetter in Bicton we’ll have to wait a little while longer.

 

This week’s handy hints and tips….

Daffodils are beautiful this time of year but once they have finished flowering resist the temptation to remove the leaves and to tie them back. It is best to just dead head daffodils once they have finished flowering and leave the leaves as they help to provide food and sustenance for the bulbs that will become next year’s flowers.

This time of year is also a good time to start ventilating your greenhouse to allow fresh air to circulate so your plants can use the carbon dioxide to photosynthesize.

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