HAVE you noticed the impact of the flowering hawthorn along the road and countryside? It’s prolific in bloom this year and is really a bright beacon. Enjoy it while it lasts, as the same mild weather that has produced such a show will also make it a short-lived one!

I have talked over the last few weeks how the spring-flowering blossom trees have really bloomed well this year, and I recall, enjoy the cherry trees blossoms, even though their blooms were so short lived. It’s not just the ornamental hedgerow and woodland trees which have bloomed really well – most, if not all, of my fruit trees have, and with the mild winter and spring weather there has also been plenty of pollinating insects around to help set fruit so I should be on target for a bountiful crop later this year.

The last of my tulip displays have now gone over, along with my bedding polyanthus and primulas which are now setting seed and putting on quite a bit of leaf growth. However, the myosotis, wallflowers and in particular the pansies are still going strong – well, at least for another couple of weeks or so when I will be replacing them with my summer bedding displays.

The polyanthus and primulas can be recycled and do make better plants when they’re a couple of seasons old. They can be lifted where the plants have become clumps, and then divided into smaller individual plants for lining out in a vacant part of the garden which you then grow on over the summer and up to the autumn, when they are again lifted and planted out in your winter and spring displays.

Rather than lining them out in the garden, you can lift and pot them up, but do put the pots in a shady part of the garden, and keep an eye on the watering as they can dry out more quickly than plants which have been planted directly in the ground. If this sounds like too much work, they can be added to the compost along with other spring bedding plants.

This week’s photograph is of my vegetable garden, where my potatoes are now well on. Despite the dry weather they are doing fine, and I can just about see the potatoes’ flower buds forming, so I should be getting a crop of new potatoes around mid to late June. You may also notice that I have my runner bean framework in place – the seedlings are now well germinated and beginning to produce tendrils which are starting to climb up the frame. I have also applied a mulch as beans do like moist ground, using good old farmyard manure.

Next to the runner beans? My windmills! I have used these along with netting to protect my brassicas. I am having real problems with wood pigeons devouring them (although they seem to be leaving all my other veg). I have also hung up some reflective ‘bird scaring’ tape, which reflects the sunlight and is noisy when it flutters in the wind. I’m not sure which is the best method, but for the time being the combination of bird deterrents seem to be working and my brassicas are beginning to grow again.

It would be remiss of me not to mention the RHS Chelsea Flower Show taking place this week. The BBC have been giving the event plenty of TV coverage and it’s a great opportunity for the many exhibitors to express themselves via the many landscaped and garden designs. Also, it’s good to see many growers who are showing a range of new plants that will be available to the gardener in the coming months.

The show is also a timely reminder to give the garden its Chelsea ‘Chop.’ This is where you can cut back some of your herbaceous border plants by half, allowing for an extended flowering display as the part you cut back regrows and flowers later. Be careful – it doesn’t work on all herbaceous plants, mainly those fast and lush-growing ones.