Talk about blowing hot and cold! Spring 2023 has been so changeable, that it has made planning crops or splitting clumps of perennials very difficult to do successfully.

In spite of last Summer’s drought, rhododendrons and azaleas are performing well in my garden, apart from the victims of salty spray from the road during the snow.

There are still jobs that must be done in hope of kind weather continuing… here are some suggestions:

Ornamental garden

  • Gently remove spent flowers from Camellia and rhododendrons to make room for the leaf buds emerging behind. You can also trim back overgrown shoots to make the shrubs more compact, next year’s flower buds will form on the new growth of side shoots that this stimulates.
  • Divide bearded irises after flowering; plant with the rhizomes facing south.
  • Sow biennials like sweet William, viola and wallflowers
  • Divide spring-flowering bulbs.
  • Remove spent flower heads of Euphorbia by cutting flowered stems to ground level. Wear gloves for this, the sap causes skin irritation.


  • Mow regularly but, if it is hot and dry, raise the cutting height.
  • Apply a high-nitrogen lawn feed (again not when dry)
  • Add clippings to the compost heap in small amounts; mix them with dry material to stop it all going slimy.

Kitchen garden

  • Pinch out side-shoots of cordon tomatoes
  • Plant out pumpkins, squashes, courgettes and beans. You could direct sow both these and sweetcorn.
  • Because sweetcorn is wind pollinated, do not plant them in a row but in a block, so the pollen gets to the stigmas of neighbouring plants.
  • Harvest early potatoes when they begin flowering
  • Sow autumn carrots.
  • Net strawberries and brassicas against birds.
  • Sorry! But stop cutting asparagus and feed it so the crowns are ready for next year


  • Damp down the greenhouse floor to increase humidity and discourage red spider mite
  • Feed tomatoes with a high-potassium fertiliser

Open gardens

3rd and 4th June: Froyle gardens

3rd and 4th June: Ladybower, 47 Connaught Road, Fleet GU51 3LR

11h June: Crondall Open Gardens and Charity Plant sale

11th Tylney Hall Hotel, Rotherwick RG27 9AZ, Old Thatch and Millenium Barn RG278DD

10th-11th June: Headley Gardens

25th – 26th June Broadhatch House, Bentley GU10 5JJ

Refer to for details of open gardens.