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Gardening During Covid-19
By Katherine Crouch

Those of us with gardens have been rather lucky to be stuck at home in the sun all April. We have been messing about in the garden as much as circumstances will allow. Unfortunately, the garden centres have closed so supplies are not easy to come by. They are considered non- essential requirements, which is incomprehensible to a gardener in spring.

Surely a garden centre is perfectly suited to outdoor, one-way route, COVID-compliant, one rake- length-apart shopping?  I would feel safer there than going to a supermarket. Billions of pounds-worth of seasonal perishable goods will be binned if this policy continues much longer.

Many plant wholesalers, nurseries and seed companies are still despatching orders, but their Covid protocol slows down the order processing, so you must be patient and expect delivery to take much longer than usual. I have turned to other sources of garden products. The small independent nurseries are operating behind closed gates, as they are still watering and propagating plants. Many are doing mail order and local deliveries.

CB Nursery near Crewkerne is delivering herbs and pollinating perennials in South Somerset and Combe Dingle Nursery near Combe St Nicholas is taking orders of perennials, bedding, alpines and vegetable plant plugs for collection. Ilminster Hardware has a good selection of bedding and vegetable plants. Consult and call your nearest small nursery to see what their situation is.

I found a source of compost in our village and after a phone call, a dozen sacks of good quality compost appeared at my gate. I had kept many pots from supplying plants last year, so I have been happily potting on my seedlings. The Law of Pots states that however big your stash is, you will not have enough of a certain size when you need it. Now I am running out of labels. I had the bright idea of cutting up plastic milk bottles, after roughening the surface. Now I find that neither pencil nor biro will write on that kind of plastic, but if that is the worst problem I have right now, compared to many people I am lucky. I have just ordered 1000 lolly sticks online for £11. A 2B pencil mark stays on all season.

You may be growing vegetables as I suggested last month, but if you have room, consider growing a few dahlias. There are still many available online and it is the perfect time to plant them as they are just coming into growth and the new shoots will emerge after all danger of frost has gone. I have had good results with mixed cactus dahlias from Plant them in a sunny position in good soil, with about 4 inches of soil over the crown. I leave mine in the ground all winter and they come up every year.

I hope that once they start flowering in the last week in July, and carry on right until the first frost of autumn, I will be in a position to visit my friends once more bearing a bunch of cheerful cut flowers. I am also going to grow lots of Calendula, the pot marigold, sown directly in the ground where they are to flower, and the seedlings are just starting to show.  With nigella in my front garden, I hope they will cheer up the passers-by this summer as well.

With many thanks to Katherine Crouch

Katherine Crouch Garden Design


+44 (0)1935 881752


+44 (0)7594 574150

Posted by Siobhan on May 4th 2020

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