ANOTHER week and another snow shower that resembled a scene from a Christmas card – just nature’s way of reminding us gardeners that it’s still winter and to remind us that early sowings still need protecting.

However, despite the snow, rain and hail, the garden is becoming very active and if you are still looking to lift and move a few plants around the garden you need to get this type of work completed in the next week or so.

I was hoping to lift a few of my aquilegias, but they have put on such a lot of growth that they are really too large to lift, so will now wait until next year. The same could not be said for my border geraniums, which I’ve split and replanted around the garden. I also potted a few of the clumps which will make container plants for growing on and I will be using these in patio containers.

If like me you have purchased some bare-rooted plants, you will need to get them planted as soon as you receive them. Most growers place bare-rooted plant material into cold storage, which keeps them in the dormant stage, basically telling the plant that it is still winter. However, once out of cold storage they quickly wake up and put on active growth to catch up with the season.

When planting new or lifting and splitting existing plants, if they are going to be in the garden or larger containers for more than one season do add Mycorrhizal fungi to the root system. This is often supplied as a powder which you dust over the plant’s root system. It is also supplied as a root dip which is mixed with a water retention gel – you dip the plant roots system into a bucket containing the mixture. Either way, you need to get as much of the mycorrhizal fungi on the root system as you can at the time of planting, along with adding a slow-release fertiliser into the planting hole.

It helps with establishing and promoting better plant growth, and one application at planting lasts for the whole life of the plant.

While the weather has been unkind, it did allow me to focus indoor and to undertake more sowings. It is time to sow the seeds of chillies and aubergines as both these need a long growing season. They are generally grown in pots so they can be taken under cover towards the end of summer as they fruit, but can still be grown in the garden or allotment.

It is also time to think about sowing tomatoes, and you have hundreds of varieties to choose from. The common tomatoes grown are those which are grown as a cordon, upright supported by a cane and normally in a cold greenhouse, though some cordon varieties can be grown outdoors in the same way. However, cherry varieties have become very popular, and these are normally bush type varieties, with a sprawling habit producing masses of flowers with small cherry size fruit. These are also good for growing in hanging baskets and are sometimes called tumbling tomatoes.

My photograph this week is of a ‘Purple leaf plum’ tree which this week came into full bloom. Prunus cerasifera is one of the earliest prunus trees to bloom and is such a welcome sight. Most people will know of the prunus tree as cherry blossom trees, and many of these will be blooming in the next few weeks. However, the purple leaf plum tree also produces – well, purple leaves as the blossom fades, providing good garden colour interest. It’s a good choice for a small garden, and its size can also be kept further under control by pruning. However, its pretty blooms also confirm my point that the garden is waking up.