Be prepared for self-contained scents of summer

TOWARDS the end of the month if the weather has turned really mild (this is, after all, Yorkshire), it’s time to plant up summer-flowering bulbs, corms and tubers such as dwarf gladioli, freesias, ixia and ranunculus.

Many gardeners who have heavy clay soil in their gardens find that growing them in pots is much more successful because containers allow them to be planted in the well-drained compost that they love.

To ensure good drainage, use a decent compost like Levington John Innes No 3 and add a layer of sharp sand immediately under the corms of gladioli as they need extra help to prevent rotting.

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And as with houseplants (see article above) crock the base of the container to prevent the drainage hole(s) from getting blocked.

It’s also time to feed shrubs, trees and roses growing in pots and containers so they can put on strong early growth.

What you use is down to personal taste, but trying to remember to feed every 10 to 14 days is always a bit difficult, so many people are now switching to slow-release plant foods that will gradually feed potted plants for up to six months from the initial spring application.

This will be fine for most plants, but one or two are always greedy and will require a bit extra throughout the growing season, so at the first signs that they are running out of nutrients, top them up with another feed. It needn’t be anything more than Phostrogen or some similar multi-purpose feed. suits some plants. Even tomato fertiliser suits some plants.