Daphne Ledward, Garden Planner, Gardener, Author and Broadcaster



So, another Chelsea week has come and nearly gone. By all accounts itís been a tricky one for the exhibitors, with the abnormally cold spring playing havoc with displays. But we lesser mortals who open our gardens for charity have experienced much the same frustration, though maybe not on such a grand scale.

You choose the end of March for a bulb weekend, and your garden still looks like it did in November, so you postpone it for three weeks, the weather warms up and the daffodils are nearly over when the great days arrive.

Early June in recent years has been an ideal time to open up, with the roses in full bloom and containers in their first flush of colour. But this year we shall be lucky to see more than a handful of roses, and those of us who rely heavily on hanging baskets for impact have been faced with multiple dilemmas Ė the spring baskets are still flowering furiously so it seems a pity to replace them, so do we go ahead and plant up the summer ones and keep them growing on till their predecessors start to look tatty, and will we have problems finding somewhere to keep them all in the meantime?

Most of us canít (and donít want to) resort to hair dryers or fridges to get everything perfect on the day. And visitors with a serious interest in gardening will understand that however green fingered you are, you canít fight Nature.

In any case, itís swings and roundabouts; the roses may not be out but the early perennials and late spring bulbs the visitors would normally have missed will be in full bloom instead. At least we havenít enlarged our carbon footprint in trying to combat the inevitable.


Why are the new shoots on my roses not producing flower buds?

These are known as Ďblindí shoots and are often attributed to a period of very cold weather during the previous winter, although rose experts tend to disagree as to the cause. Feeding the bushes with a specific rose fertiliser will encourage these shoots to start growing again, although some growers recommend pruning the blind shoots back to encourage new, normal flowering growth. Either way, you should get a good display, although it will be later than normal.

Daphne Ledward

This piece originally appeared in the Spalding Guardian