Posted: Monday 12 March 2012
by James Alexander-Sinclair
There are few things more dispiriting that a plant in full bloom falling over because of summer winds or rain.
Spring, eh? Tra-la. I know that, for the more pedantic among you, it does not really begin until the equinox on March 20th, the moment when day and night are of equal length (more or less, although there are various astronomical complications). Others contend that “it ain’t spring until you can put your foot on nine daisies”, but I have looked upon my garden and it is already very spring like. Charles Dickens put it well, in Great Expectations:
“It was one of those March days when the sun shines hot and the wind blows cold: when it is summer in the light, and winter in the shade.”
It felt exactly like that last weekend while I was weeding: in the shade icy, in the sun shirtsleeves.
Things are growing at a remarkable rate: little sprouts of allium; the slightly twisted leaves of tulips; daffodils virtually on the point of flowering and buds fattening nicely on trees and shrubs. All is still calm and manageable for a bit, but not for long.
From now on the speed of growth starts picking up and, before you know it, we will be tumbling uncontrollably towards summer. It would be a good idea to try and get a step ahead of the rush now. One of the most important jobs is to get any staking that may need doing out of the way. I know that I have bored you on this subject before, although not for a while, but it is very important. (Says he, bossily.)
There are few things more dispiriting that a plant in full bloom falling over during summer winds or rain, due to a lack of support. I use hazel to create my plant supports, but simple netting or string is fine, too. A couple of hours spent now putting out stakes and supports will save an awful lot of heartache in a couple of months time.