One man & his organic plot - May 2018

  • Last updated: 28 November 2022
This is probably the quickest spring I can remember, at least visually. The trees outside my residence went from naked winter to fully clothed summer in a matter of weeks. It reminds me that all plants are both resilient and opportunists. They will come to life when the time is right and not when people think it should fit in with their schedule.
Chris Collins in his winter garden
I see an example of this with my own eyes on my balcony this month. I have two pots of Cannas, which were very kindly donated by Emma the head gardener at Ryton, shortly after she revamped the tropical glasshouse. Last year they performed brilliantly but this year all the way up until the end of April, there was no sign of these beauties. Thinking the frost, snow and cold weather had got into their pots, I concluded the roots had probably perished thus no appearance of the plants. If a gardener knows one thing, it's the power of patience and a week later, all the way into the second week of May, my Cannas have made an appearance. Clever, the soil temperature was not right, the plan bided its time and waited. What a good lesson in gardening, the plants will play the conditions and sometimes it’s wise to step back.
I only have one dilemma on the balcony now and that's the lateness of my usual swap over from the spring seasonal plants to the summer. I have heritage tomatoes (Porter & Old German pink) sitting in pots in the office, along with cucumber ‘Izjatsnoi’ and pea ‘Blue Prussian’. They look desperate to get out now but with Viola still in full flower and some Allium bulbs still not quite done yet plus I’m still not sure if we may have another cold night in May, they will just have to wait another week or so.
The allotment is now getting into the swing of things. It’s tricky for me as the work load overtakes my time schedule and takes me out of North London. The potatoes & onions are growing away and my favourite crops of Lettuce (heritage black seeded Samara, Bronze Arrow), spinach (Virginia) & various radish and salad crops are all sown in a whirl of activity last week. I love being able to eat good, fresh organic salad throughout the summer. These plants are quite tough, can stand on their own feet once up and running and are worth every effort, even if time is tight.
It’s all go for my Garden Organic role in the next few weeks and after both Harrogate & Malvern its onto combining my time with other roles to promote plants and gardening at the Chelsea flower show. A big project that comes with its own pressure. It’s important though that we seek to be represented at these two shows and I go on afterwards with the GO staff to Gardeners World Live.
So, until the next time, happy gardening
Chris Collins