Jacqui Brocklehurst - Spring gardening tips

PUBLISHED: 00:38 21 March 2012 | UPDATED: 21:12 20 February 2013

Jacqui gets to grips with her garden

Jacqui gets to grips with her garden PHOTO BY KIRSTY THOMPSON

Top tips for Spring from professional gardener Jacqui Brocklehurst from Sale, in the first of a regular column for Cheshire Life

April in the garden is a time for jubilation. Longer days and warmer temperatures entice the garden into throwing off the last remnants of its winter slumber to embrace the new season.

As the sap rises tightly-packed buds burst open to reveal an array of colourful blooms. Scent begins to linger in the air enticing the first hungry insects, and ourselves, into the garden. The tantalising fragrance of viburnum juddii never fails to stop me in my tracks. Clusters of perfectly formed, white flowers are borne on branches that form a compact shrub. Like most viburnums, this cultivar will thrive in sun or partial shade.

Tulips, buried for so long under the cold ground, now stand straight and tall like regimented soldiers. Planted, in autumn, among a sea of wallflowers these glorious flowers are now in their element.

If you didnt get around to planting bulbs in autumn, its not too late to create a summer display. Lilies look stunning when grown in a terracotta pot and now is the time to plant.

In the kitchen garden April marks the start of a period of frenzied activity. As the soil warms up seeds such as salad leaves, beetroot and radishes can be sown direct.

In a few weeks the first of the British grown asparagus will be arriving in the shops. British asparagus is a luxury vegetable, its short season keeps costs high. Whenever I experience the first crunch of these irresistible stems I vow to start growing my own. But by then it is too late because the time to plant asparagus is now.

Choose a spot in an open sunny site. Dig over the area removing weeds and any stones while incorporating lots of well-rotted horse manure. Plant 1-2 year old crowns 20cms deeps and space between 30-45cms apart.

Asparagus takes up to three years to establish and therefore requires a little patience. Each spring, feed the plants with organic fertiliser such as fish, blood and bone. Once established, you will be rewarded with the most succulent tender spears proving that good things really do come to those who wait!

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