Water is the best tonic for our plants

Tulips in bloom. Picture by Tom Pattinson.
Tulips in bloom. Picture by Tom Pattinson.

New plantings of hardy perennials, be they fruiting or ornamental, trees, shrubs or herbaceous perennials, are currently more at risk from wind damage than frost.

Never underestimate its soil-drying effect. I always prefer to get water into the area around the roots before back-filling new plantings. After making them sound or adding supports, follow with water – all summer if necessary.

Two raised borders were recently cleared of ageing shrubs, fed and replanted with dwarf perennials.

Having missed nature’s planting time in autumn, the forfeit comes in nurturing everything through a potentially dry spell so the hose has been resuscitating flagging symphytum (blue comfrey), French lavender (stoechas) Primula Garryarde Guinevere and others. Thankfully, they’ve responded and are well on the road to becoming established.

Meanwhile, we face the annual problem of which plants to eject from the greenhouse to create more space for the flood of seedlings and plugs earlier transferred from compact trays to individual pots.

First up are the young chrysanthemums and the parent plants they came from. What or who follows is a mystery, and these plants know it. They’re all keeping their heads down!