by June Cynthia, 8th February 2023
The first signs of life are great inspiration for a growing gardener
For those of you old enough to remember Max Bygraves from bygone years, or just remember his recording of the song Tulips From Amsterdam, well we’re not quite enjoying our tulips yet - they’ll bloom a little later, even if Holland has already celebrated Tulip Day.
But here in the UK we are seeing the first harbingers of spring. And yes, for all you galanthophiles out there, one such is of course the gorgeous snowdrop (Galanthus nivalis). What a little ray of joy and hope this tiny flower is.
If anything does, the snowdrop signals the start of a new year, with the hope of the one constant found in our lives: gardening. The peace and tranquility this pastime brings really does help to keep us on a level playing field, especially given all the worries of the cost of living crisis, the war in Ukraine, the terrible earthquake in Turkey etc.
So let’s try to put aside the bad news for a moment and concentrate on the beauty of gardening. This can be enjoyed on a shoe string if needed by sowing a packet or two of seeds, which is the cheapest and most fulfilling method of bringing colour and beauty to our lives.
We can start to grow our own vegetables, too, to help with the housekeeping. What a joy this is when they taste much fresher than any vegetables that carry food miles with them.
Whatever you do, enjoy every moment of your time in your garden, on your balcony’s windowsills or in your greenhouses and cold frames. Life is for experiencing all that’s good - and in many cases - free.
And remember, if at first you’re not successful with your seeds, that time was never wasted. Try again and use the knowledge you’ve learned from your first efforts. It’s this that makes us all good gardeners.
Top planting tips
• Pay attention to the temperatures at which your seeds/plants need to be grown.
• Watch out for frosts. You’re only really in the clear from the end of May.
• Use agricultural fleece for protection. As an approximate simple rule: one layer of fleece protects one degree of frost. Fold double for two degrees, and so on.
• Keep seeds away from radiators and draughty windowsills. A constant temperature - usually mentioned on the seed packet - is a good guide.