April 23


Now we are officially in 'British Summer Time'. We can see spring bursting forth.

The Daffodils are late but are now opening fast, as are the early Tulips. Isn't nature wonderful, we emerge from the gloom of winter, and colour bounces back into our lives again. No matter what happens in our lives, nature keeps on going. All the 'winter bedding' plants are beginning to become their own. The Pansies, Violas, Wallflowers, Bellis, Polyanthus and Primroses are all so colourful and cheerful. They brighten our days. Forsythia, Camelia, Ribes, Skimmias, Daphnes, Cornus Mas, Mahonias and some Pieres, to name but a few, are all in full flower and really let you know spring is here. Their colours and scents are amazing and attract birds and bees.

Wildflowers, people keep saying, they want wildflowers in their gardens. Why, I ask? To attract wildlife, more insects, more birds. It's better for the environment, they say, well that is certainly true, but, yes, there's a but, to have 'wild flower' gardens is different to letting the gardens go 'wild'. Putting down 'wild flower' seeds will/should result in a colourful display. However, they can take a while to germinate and don't look good when they go to seed. So from around late June to September, you have lots of flowers and, the rest of the time, withered stems and blank areas.

You, of course, can try and get your lawn to become a 'wildflower meadow'. This isn't easy. You see some beautiful pictures of Flower meadows, but these tend to be in the south of England, a totally different climate from here in Fife. You can stop cutting grass and let it grow and throw down some flower seeds, but you will gain little reward from that approach. Instead, you need to get plugs for certain perennial plants, dig out some grass tufts, and plant the plugs in place. This approach can work but takes a long time to establish. Also, in the autumn, you should plant bulbs throw the grass for spring colour.

However, every garden can be a haven for birds and insects if planted with many 'flowering 'plants, trees and shrubs. Mentioned above is a range of shrubs that flower in early spring, and even as I was working near a Camelia today, several Bees were feasting on the flowers, enjoying a sunny spring day. In my view 'Cottage' garden style of planting with a real mix of flowering perennial plants, some annual plants, roses, shrubs, trees and herbs with colours and scents that will attract many birds and insects throughout the year. Even 'ever green' shrubs and trees can attract wildlife and produce berries to feed the birds in the winter months.

Going down this route of planting the garden with lots of varieties will do the trick and ensure you add in various types of bulbs you can have a garden looking good throughout the year. So taking this approach, you can achieve that haven for wildlife and still have a 'Tidy Garden'.

Just remember we are here if you need help or advice…Tidy Gardens all your garden needs.


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