The irritations of Spring

It’s been a stunning week weather wise.  The temperatures here in Malvern have been around 18/19C the last couple of days.  The garden has visibly filled out in front of my eyes to the extent that my peonies are obviously taller when I get home than when I went to work that morning.

I stopped off on the way home to pick up some vegetable seeds for the allotment which I hadn’t bought before since I didn’t think we would clear the whole plot this year.  However, my enthusiastic parents have cleared the whole plot so now I have more space to fill with veg.  Having found the packets of Squash, Cabbage and Parsnips I wanted I noticed that there were a lot of bedding plants available.  In this case they were plug plants for people to pot up but I know that many of the big DIY stores are already stocking bedding plants to plant out.  This makes me so cross.  My local garden centre has their plug plants clearly labelled as needing to be potted up and hardened off but the big stores aren’t so helpful.  I am sure there will be people this weekend who fooled by the unseasonably warm weather will go and buy bedding plants only to lose them in a couple of weeks when the weather returns to its usual cooler temperatures. My cynical side says that they do this deliberately to get more sales!!

Rant over, it is interesting that some of the plants in the garden are a good couple of weeks ahead of last year when we had a very late start to Spring.  I have already had species Tulipa biflora in flower and now I have some red tulips about the open.  I don’t know what variety this is.  Over recent years I buy bulbs of one or two varieties of tulip which I plant up in pots to cheer up the front door and patio.  Then the following year I plant out the bulbs in the borders as I can’t bear to throw them away.  I know people say they don’t do well in the second year but I don’t agree.  I do get the odd blind one but generally they flower quite well and they all add to the spring display.  These red tulips have been in the ground for at least 3 years and seem to be actually improving year on year.

Vandalised Primulas

Vandalised Primulas

Finally I would like to express despair at the way the finches in my garden have a penchant for primrose flowers.  They sit by the plants, peck  off the flowers and throw them on the ground.  I can only assume they are after the nectar but it would be nice if I could enjoy the Primulas instead of waiting for the buds to open and then coming home to vandalism.  Maybe I should issue the birds with ASBOs!!

The weather is meant to be getting cooler over the weekend and returning to temperatures more normal for this time of year.  I hope it doesn’t get too much cooler as this weather has made me feel quite positive and cheery.

11 Comments on “The irritations of Spring

  1. Definitely serve them with an ASBO ( Anti-social Bird Order), little vandals.

    Like you the sunny weather has certainly lifted my spirits, and I feel much more content, than I have done in weeks.

    Suspect you are probably right about the plants being put out for the unsuspecting, good sales tactic. (not)

  2. I leave tulips in and I am sure I read somewhere that they don’t do very well the second year, but after that they normally come back ok. I certainly have ones that have come up year after year – but just in case I keep planting a few new ones each year.

  3. Hi Helen,

    My Tulips have always done well too, I’ve got a lot which I’ve had for at least 3 years or longer.

    Funny you should mention the finches eating your primroses, my nan had the same problem yet I’ve never had them attack mine… Strange. I have hordes of Sparrows and a good few Green/Goldfinches and none seem even slightly interested.
    Those pesky birds vandalising your garden!

  4. I am totally with you on the plug plants! Year after year I made the mistake of buying bedding/hanging basket plants this early with nowhere to put them and too cold to go out. One year I bought some from Wisley and was so incensed that they all died I took them back and got a refund! Garden centres take advantage of the fact that everyone is in ‘happy buying mood’ at the first sign of Spring but they should hold back on selling stuff that is clearly much too early to do anything with!

  5. They do that here, too, Helen~and they love to sell plants that make absolutely no sense for our growing conditions. I suspect that very few people keep/have the bill of sale in order to return the plants! gail

  6. PS I find the species tulips return most years~If the rodents don’t eat them! Have you tried them? gail

  7. We’ve been having nice weather and sun here too. It sure does change my outlook on things too.
    I’ve been noticing Petunias and other annuals out at the stores here too and it drives me crazy because I know that people who are not experienced gardeners will be buying them and then wondering why they died. We have the chance for frost for about another month still and even then it’s so cool til May that most annuals don’t do well.

  8. Ooooh, I can’t wait for some warmer weather here! I so enjoyed visiting and can feel your cheer! Lovely tulips. I have never heard of finches eating flowers! Hmmm, maybe you could put something out for them that might be more appetizing so you can save the blooms for yourself. Stores here are always selling plants that aren’t really hardy in our area – that makes me mad, too. Can’t wait to see your vegetables grow.

  9. I have the same rant going through my head sometimes. The garden centers walk that fine line: they want you to succeed enough that you’re encouraged to come back for more plants, but they also want you to fail enough that you feel obligated to return for more plants when the first plants fail…

  10. More sales indeed but I think it inadvertent on the part of the big stores. You never know though. Those finches-my goodness. What destruction they do. Good thing the foliage is really pretty too though. I hope your warm weather lasts a bit. It’s so nice after a long winter. Have a super good weekend.

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