© Owen Howells Photography
As spring approaches, it’s a great time to start thinking about your garden again.
We asked Jacqui Read, Assistant Head Gardener at Grove of Narberth, to provide some top tips for a vibrant and prosperous patch:
Which plants are good for attracting butterflies?
There are many different types of butterfly that prefer a variety of plants. The key is to plant your garden with seasonal nectar and rich blooms to provide food throughout their lifespan. Butterfly larvae have their own sources of food, once hatched, too. Plants that spring to mind are Aster, Buddleia, Borage, Brassicas, Cosmos, Echinacea, Marigold, Nasturtiums, Oregano, Phlox, Primrose, Sedum, Valerian, Verbena and Zinnia. Also, Lupin, Fennel and Dill for their larvae and, later in the year, Holly and Ivy are great too.
Which herbs and salad leaves are the easiest to grow and when should I plant them?
The easiest herbs to grow are Chives, Oregano, Fennel, Mint (though keep it contained as it spreads), Parsley, Bay or Sage. Salad leaves can be harvested throughout the year but without a tunnel, the best time to sow is spring. If you have a well-lit windowsill you can get leaves started early, ready to be planted outside when the soil warms and is free from the risk of frost. With cut and come again salad, it is best sown regularly, ideally every 2-3 weeks from spring onwards, if you want a constant supply until the Autumn. This can be extended if you have access to a greenhouse or tunnel.
Do you have any suggestions on thickening up a patchy lawn in preparation for spring/summer?
To rejuvenate a sparse lawn, you mow it a little shorter than normal and remove clippings. Then use a rake to loosen the soil, aerate and remove moss and debris. Evenly scatter lawn seed and water daily if necessary, until the seeds chit. This is done in the spring when the seeds can germinate. If it’s too cold, they will just sit and rot.
Can you recommend three perennial plants which provide a splash of colour in spring?
Each to their own, but my favourites are Amelanchiers, Azaleas and Helleborus. It’s hard to pick just three though, as there are so many beautiful early flowers, from Iris and Kerria to Forsythia and Tulips.