In October, David Coton is getting the garden prepared for the onset of colder weather but, at the same time, the arrival of spring bulbs in the garden centre is a reminder that you should also now be planning ahead for next year.
David Hall recently had the pleasure of visiting Thailand an exciting, dynamic country full of contrast and colour. Being botanically minded he was particularly struck by the diversity of the beautiful Bamboo plants.
Often only thought of in our own country as a useful source of canes for supporting the runner beans this is certainly one of the most useful groups of plants known to man.
I could be sitting in my bamboo chair, eating bamboo shoots from by bamboo bowl with a pair of bamboo chopsticks.
My house could be constructed from bamboo and I could have a bamboo bicycle propped up outside ready to whisk me away.
But what would I be growing in the garden?
Bamboos are actually grasses. They range in size from tiny creeping plants to towering monsters, 30 or 40 metres in height. The shoots of the bamboo giants emerge from the soil and grow at an amazing rate, upto 45cm a day.
It is said that you can actually see the shoot growing in front of your eyes.
In the U.K. we are fortunate enough to have a climate ideally suited to growing a wide range of Bamboos. They can be used as single specimens, eventually forming thickets with delightful arching stems that sway gracefully in the breeze.
Some of the smaller varieties are also ideal for growing in pots or containers. They look particularly attractive when planted in one of the blue glazed pots that are all the rage at the moment.
Alternatively why not consider a Garden Feature made from bamboo! There are a range of gazebos and archways manufactured from robust bamboo poles.
You could consider simply 'planting' three or more different lengths of bamboo into the ground to make an interesting focal point. Or you could invest in some elegant patio furniture of a bamboo deck chair.
So why not make a bit of space for a bamboo? You won't be disappointed. It will reward you with its year round elegance and you will have brought a bit of the exotic East to your own back garden.
With warmer weather and an early Easter, the garden centre is busy at the moment with customers stocking up on summer bedding plants - snapdragons, cornflowers, cosmos, verbena, phlox, petunia, As well as filling planters, hanging baskets and borders with colour that will last all summer, there are always plenty of jobs to do in the garden during April and David Coton has these suggestions.
Every gardener must have noticed a decline in the bee population over recent years. Intensive farming that demands the use of toxic chemicals, climate change and parasite infestation have all been put forward as potential causes, it's a worrying trend but one that we can all help to reverse.
As an excellent alternative to conventional products, Trimetals' storage solutions blend top quality manufacture with contemporary style. Their range has now been extended to include two new maintenance free sheds and Robert Hall has all the details.
Zest 4 Leisure manufactures a large variety of timber garden furniture, fencing and leisure products, David Coton visited their brand new nine acre site near Chester last week to find out more about current development and future plans.