My first garden opening of the season would have been in a couple of weeks. It has been very strange of late, not having to get the garden ready to open. All the vintage china is still in storage in the shed and will stay there now until next year. It has also been strange not to be baking cakes and filling up the freezer. If I’m being honest though, it’s quite a nice feeling, as all the pressure I create for myself in preparing to open, means I’ve got more time to myself and can probably enjoy the garden more. Coupled with that it has been a slow process recovering from the torn Achilles tendon, although I’m off crutches it’s still not recovered 100 per cent.

I’m not sure how our new rescue dog, Chester, would have coped with all the summer visitors either. At least now he has a more time to get prepared. One pet that will, I’m sure, miss them is our tortoise Hector. He loves attention and children especially loved to make a fuss of him. He enjoys being picked up and having his head and neck stroked. It always surprises me how many have never seen one and are totally beguiled by the creature.

Have you been out to a garden centre this week? I’m afraid I won’t be one of those rushing out, despite their recent reopening. I’m remaining here in lockdown for some while yet to secure my mother’s wellbeing. Anything I might need I’ll still be ordering online.

A timely job at the moment is to attend to your finished spring bulbs. Once they’ve gone over, try and resist the temptation to cut back the foliage. To be honest, I have this year but most years I haven’t because I needed to ensure everything was perfect for opening in June. Let the foliage die and break down on its own and add liquid fertiliser all around the clumps. This should give you an even better display next spring.

I’ve emptied my greenhouse out and instead of it becoming a small shop for the summer garden openings, it has now got tomatoes and peppers growing in it. It is important to remember to open greenhouse vents and doors on warm days and you can also damp them down on hot days, to increase humidity and deter red spider mites. I’ve actually grown both tomatoes and peppers from seeds this year, for the first time ever. I’ve not normally got the time, inclination or space but 2020 is so different. I’ve just got to remember to pinch out the side shoots now!

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