Time is marching on, and April is here, hopefully without all the 'showers.'

If you have heeded my previous advice and planted lots of different spring-flowering bulbs, you will be or are about to be enjoying an incredible display of colour in your garden over the next few weeks.

If you didn't put in bulbs, you can now acquire 'pot' grown ones and plant them out and enjoy them. ( I know someone who could supply Daffodils and Tulips)

Most bulbs look after themselves and will flourish and die back and return next year. Daffodils tend to get a bit untidy after the flowers die back. You can leave them alone or 'dead head' them, but do not cut them down. You want the leaves to keep going to help feed the bulbs. You can bunch and fold over the leaves and tie them with string or an elastic band. This method allows the leaves' goodness to get back to the bulb. You can cut them off once they have withered (usually mid-June) once they have withered. Tulips can be stunning with all the varieties, but these are the more challenging to keep and get them to flower each year. You can leave them in the ground. Most of the varieties will either rot or be eaten by mice. If they survive, they tend to produce many leaves but no flowers. You could lift them, dry them, and replant them if you have a few. This can work well, but they are never as good as the first year. I opt to buy new each year and ensure a good display.

My two ponds, which join one another, have had a leek for a few years. Try as hard as I did. I could not find where the problem was. Each time I topped them up, the level would fall back about 6" in the top one, slightly less in the bottom. Generally, finding the offending hole/cut is relatively easy, and you can repair it. Problem solved. However, I repeat myself, try as much as I did. It was all to no avail, and I kept topping it up, especially if we expected people to visit the garden. To take every stone and plant away from the edges is a significant and frustrating task, so I decided to bite the bullet and more or less start again.

The other pond trickles through from under the decking!


I first had to empty the pond, get in waring my waders, take out all the plants, and try to save the wildlife. The next task was to drain the water away and tackle the black, smelly and horrible sludge. The sludge (the build-up of decomposing materials over many years) was over a foot deep and had a powerful smell. After finally getting everything out (several heavy rain showers kept filling the pond up again), all the stones had to be removed. Then almost 2.5 tonnes of soil were removed from the central divider, resulting in the pond area becoming one much larger pond. Once done and brushed to remove the remaining bits and pieces, it was time to place them in the new liner.

Ewen in his waders in the pond
Ewen in his waders in the pond!


Using the old liner as the base, the new liner was added and 'shaped'. Next, the taps were turned on, and water began to fill the area over two days. Once the level was achieved, all stones were placed back around the edges. This helped to keep the liner in place and also hid the liner.

Next was the plant's turn, followed by some buckets of saved sludge and hey presto, a new pond came to life. 2 days later, the Frogs were back in and mating. The outer area of the pond had to be sorted too. It was a big job, but worth it. I am happy with the results.

The frogs were back in no time, this one looks particularly pleased!


Now it's time to start getting the lawns up to scratch. The coring was done, the lawn sand applied, next task is to scarify out the dead moss and thatch. The weather is excellent, warm and sunny, the Polyanthus, Daffodils, Crocuses and many other things are blooming, maybe, just maybe, I'll sit down and have a cup of tea and enjoy the garden.

Happy weeding

Here's a question for you, what shrub, which is in flower just now, could I make 'normal' tea with?


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