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.
Enthusiastic gardeners who are also pet owners may be surprised to learn that many of the plants they grow are toxic to cats and dogs. David Hall has been reading a recent report detailing the dangers.
The findings, by MORE TH>N the insurance company, show that 31% of gardeners have no idea if they are growing plants that are harmful to pets.
Over thirty plants can be dangerous if eaten, they don't need to be unusual or exotic. Hostas, delphiniums and dahlias in your flower bed; lobelia and marigolds in a window box; wisteria and clematis against the house, they are all problematic for pets.
Usually the only problem is an upset stomach but according to the research, 8% of British dogs and cats have eaten poisonous plants, nearly half have needed to have treatment, and sadly 15% have died.
The insurers have even created a garden to focus attention on the problem, planted only with toxic plants. For humans it might be a very beautiful and tranquil place to relax but for their pets it's a poisonous no-go zone.
Called the 'Pawtanical' Garden, many people might guess that foxgloves would feature, but there are also chrysanthemums, daisies, hydrangea, ivy and poppies. Even tomato plants pose a threat, and all of these are typical of the plants we grow in our gardens.
In addition to plants, there are other dangers that pets are subject to: acorns, pond algae and cocoa mulch plus various fertilizers and garden chemicals.
The garden is part of a Pet Safe Plant campaign that wants to raise awareness of the problem and is designed to persuade manufacturers to clearly label their products.
If you are also concerned, tweet your support @MORETHAN using #safeseeds
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.