1 April 2017 - 12:00am

Primroses, violets and cherries....

The violets and primroses have been wonderful this year. I guess it’s because they prefer damp conditions – and they have certainly had that in recent months! We brought some of the gorgeous, pale yellow native primroses to Charnwood when we moved up from the Isle of Wight in 1987. They have thrived; I can’t recall where I planted the original small clump, but they have happily and gently seeded themselves around and so pop up all over the garden. You can help them along a bit if you want more; they can be gently lifted and divided into smaller clumps after they have flowered. Bear in mind they are a woodland plant, so prefer a fairly cool spot, not a dry bed in full sun. If you plant some at the top of a grassy bank, they will seed themselves downwards and look fabulous in a few years. The violets are even better, white ones as well as the traditional violet/blue. If you get down on your knees and look at them close up, they are fabulous, showy little flowers with a lovely scent, hence their botanical name Viola odorata. The dwarf Japanese cherry is just fabulous. I know I write about this often but I’m making no apology. It has such a delicate, frothy beauty. This morning as I write I can see it is full of bees. ‘Dwarf’ is a relative term in gardening I find, this tree currently stands at about 10 feet after around 25 years. Although the pale, almond pink blossom is fleeting, it has lovely autumn leaf colour and the twisty branches look good all winter. Its grown up name is Prunus incisa ‘Kojo-no-mai’ and is easily available in garden centres. The gullible – or is it optimistic – gardener that I am, I have purchased some lilies that are sold as being resistant to the red lily beetles. These pesky little things have been a real problem here, decimating pretty much every lily they can find. Now is the time to be vigilant, if you do a regular beetle patrol and get rid now, the damage will be much less. Watch out for their larvae, it does a good impression of bird poo and hides under the leaves. I’d recommend wearing rubber gloves to remove that gooey nastiness. I’m told they will have a go at fritillaries too so watch out! The lilies I’ve ordered by the way are pale pink and are from Thompson and Morgan called ‘Corsage’. There is a rather soggy and windswept, but still very beautiful , group of daffodils outside the study window under the old apple trees. They are ‘Ice Follies’, as the name suggests they are a gentle creamy yellow. Several years ago they were looking a bit sad and some had given up flowering all together. So after they had flowered I deadheaded them, dug them up and replanted them with a bit more space and a handful of decent compost around them. They have rewarded my efforts by growing and increasing into a lovely show. This is such a wonderful time of year, but also a busy one for gardeners. if you’ve worked hard at getting your outside space looking good, make sure you take time out to enjoy it!