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Easter flowers in and out

Posted Apr 04 2010 1:53pm

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Easter Sunday has been a mixed bag of weather.I managed to get out and about to take stock of how plants are doing here on the South Coast. The wind was cold but on occasions the sun was very warm and bright in between some huge weather fronts.

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The spring flowers looked delightful, the daffodils are much later this year as a result of the UK’s freezing winter.The cold damaged the tips of some of the palms along the sea front. They are generally pretty hardy but the record low tempratures burnt the ends of many of the fronds.

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Easter is traditionally the start of the gardening year when garden centres all over the country start to tempt us with a range of seedlings and bedding plants  - all of which have been grown under glass and are just not ready for the unpredictable April weather and ongoing frosts. I am always amazed to see people buying and planting these delicate plants into the garden the first time we have some warm weather. Any plant grown under glass should not be brought out into the garden until the frosty nights are passed. And when you do bring them out acclimatise them in the garden in a bright sheltered spot and move them under cover each evening before you plant them into their final positions. If you have a cold frame, use this as a halfway house for a couple of weeks until the frosts have really passed. The best time for this is the end of May - as the famous saying goes - Ne’er cast a clout till May be out!

I am lucky enought to have a very warm south facing conservatory where at the moment my more delicate plants are enjoying the warm sunshine away from the cold winds and low night time temperatures. These include the most spectacular plant given to me by an elderly lady over 10 years ago because she could not look after it any more . Actually it requires very little attention - I don’t feed it and water it rarely and yet every spring it delivers the most amazing tropical looking bright orange flowers The bees have been coming all day to lounge around in these spectacular flowers. I would love to put a name to this wonderful plant If anyone can identify it from this photo of a sleepy bumble bee diving in for the next drink of nectar.

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