Ask the Expert: BBC Gardening Guru Jean Griffin’s Spring Tips
We’re on the countdown to National Gardening Week and our special Open House and Gardeners’ Question and Answer on May 2nd in aid of Perennial the Gardener’s Royal Benevolent Society.
Hosting our panel of esteemed gardening experts is Jean Griffin. Jean, who trained at Studley College and Royal Botanic Gardens, Kew, has a fascinating background in both amenity and commercial horticulture, followed by a career in further education, specialising in gardening for people with special educational needs. She’s currently a presenter on BBC Surrey, Sussex and Kent radio.
With spring in our sights, Jean shares a few of her top gardening tips as we await the change in seasons, in preparation for acclimatising our gardens.
3 Gardeners’ Peeves & How to Solve Them in time for Spring
Slugs & Snail
Following the wet weather recently, and the slightly warmer temperatures, there’s likely to be an abundance of snails and slugs. Here’s what to do:
- Avoid the dreaded blue pellets, but if you HAVE to…then only one or two sprinkled around will do the trick. Think of the wildlife!
- A better option is SLUG GONE (a pelleted product using sheep wool); following instructions on the packet.
- For persistent slug damage, especially those horrible little black keel slugs which attack potatoes, use NEMASLUG a biological control, use when the weather gets a little warmer.
- Hosta la Vista – hostas are particularly susceptible to attack by slugs and snails, so I recommend a natural repellent ‘Garlic Water’.
- Put two whole garlic bulbs (not cloves) into two pints of water and simmer until soft. Top back up to two pints and store in a lidded jar. Add two tablespoons of the garlic liquid to two gallons of water and, using a rose on the can, sprinkle the liquid over the hostas. Repeat every two to three weeks. Not guaranteed as a full cure but it is helpful!
A good saying to remember is: “grass grows by inches but is killed by feet”.
If your lawn is soggy, wet or icy, keep clear. Avoid walking on it if you’re hoping for a luscious looking lawn come spring and summer.
- The trick is not to sow too early unless you have heated facilities and plenty of light.
- When the seedlings are ready to prick out, hold the seed leaf, NOT the stem, and drop it into the compost so that the leaflets are level with the surface of the compost. This avoids getting a long floppy plant.
- Always read the label! The depth to which seeds should be sown (larger seeds need deeper sowing) is written on the packet.
- If the soil is particularly heavy, a deeper drill can be drawn out and the base covered with sieved garden compost or potting compost. Sow the seed directly into this and then cover as before.
- When watering seedlings always use a rose on a watering can to ensure an even, gentle supply of water.
Open House & Gardeners’ Question & Answer – May 2nd, 2018
You can hear more from Jean and the panel of other professional gardeners, on Wednesday 2nd May 2018.
Fetcham Park house and gardens will be open to the public from 5:30 pm – 9 pm (donations on the door).
The Gardeners’ Question & Answer is from 7 pm – 9 pm. Tickets are £25 and include a glass of wine. To book a ticket visit: www.perennial.org.uk/events/open-house-gardeners-question-time