Gardening Times -with Rick Heyse-






Spring is a wonderful time of year, when almost everyday in the garden seems to bring something different back into life. The mild and unseasonal February seems to have seen an early flourish of plants you would not expect to see producing buds at this time of year, and I know at one of the gardens I maintain, if we do not get a cold snap there will be Nelly Moser variety of Clematis in bloom at least a month early. Now is also the time to start adding a little fertiliser around the garden to prepare it for the growing season ahead, and I’ll be sprinkling handfuls of Fish, Blood & Bone around the beds and borders as well as on the allotment. But don’t neglect your daffodils, as a sprinkling of Bonemeal contains phospahtes which the bulbs will store to repay you with wonderful blooms for next year.

Some Timely Gardening Tasks

Flower Bed & Borders

  • Divide Primroses when they have finished flowering to increase stock. Pot them on or replant in a shady area of the garden for the warmer months.
  • Dead head Daffodils.
  • Bulbs such as Daffodils and Hyacinths that have provided colour in pots in the house can be planted outside.
  • Now is the time to prune Penstemons. In some areas people leave them for another month, but here in Torbay we are safe to cut them back a few weeks earlier. If there is new growth emerging from the bottom, cut down the old stems to the base. If there is no new growth emerging reduce the old growth by around a half.
  • Get on top of the weeds before they become established. Following this apply a light dressing of Fish, Blood & Bone fertiliser to the sol.
  • With Roses beginning to burst into life, begin the spraying programme to reduce the risk of blackspot.

Containers & Baskets

  • If you are growing winter or early spring bedding such as Pansies, Primroses and Polyanthus, keep dead heading to encourage flowering for as long as possible. Apply a high potash liquid feed will also encourage late blooming. 

Kitchen Gardens & Allotments

  • Apply a liberal sprinkling of Fish, Blood and Bone around Raspberry canes.
  • Tackle any emerging weeds, removing perennial weeds such as Dandelions. Following this try and hoe on a regular basis.
  • Early sowings of Radish, Cabbage, Parsnip, Beetroot and Carrots can be made. Depending on your location and aspect, the latter two may require some cloche protection to encourage growth.
  • Continue planting seed Potatoes.


  • There is just enough time left to sow Tomatoes, Chillies, Aubergines and Peppers. If sowing late March and into April I tend to give them a boost with a liquid seaweed feed to encourage growth.


  • An excellent time to prepare a new lawn either from seed or turf, or even to repair those damaged patches.
  • Lawns will soon begin to grow at a faster rate and will require more regular cutting. 


  • Many people clean their ponds at this time of year by draining them and removing silt from the bottom. If your pond is stocked with fish and you intend to add clean tap water once you’ve removed the silt, try and gauge a similar temperature before returning the fish and always use a dechlorinator to prevent harm to the fish from chlorinated tap water. 


  • Keep an eye open for infestations of whitefly on houseplants which can cause serious damage, and take action to deal with them.  Soapy water is often used, and I have been told milk is another non-chemical solution.


  • Keeping feeders and birdbaths topped up to keep our feathered friends satisfied.

Good Gardening and until next time, Bye for now

Rick  Heyse