Now is the time I usually begin to plant out all the annuals.

This year, it is going to be a bit different. One of the main reasons for redesigning the garden last autumn was to reduce the workload for me to maintain it. Lots of containers with many summer annuals are demanding to keep at their best and more importantly to water. The creation of the sunken garden and the use of drought tolerant plants has gone some way to reduce the summer workload. Nonetheless, I shall be visiting a local nursery next week to collect the 100 plus geraniums I have ordered to help transform the garden for the summer. Some might say it’s still a little early, as there is still possible risk of frost but I need to plant now to get it all looking good for 1st June, when we open the garden gate!

Today, Saturday 7th, the National Garden Scheme has a fascinating and brand-new garden open near Lewes. Telscombe Manor, in Telscombe will open from 2pm to 5pm and refreshments will be served in the Village Hall. It is a Grade 2 listed manor house and separately listed 18th century barn set in a 2-acre garden in the South Downs National Park. A series of garden rooms have been created structured by hedges and flint walls. Stunning views can be had too, and you can take your four-legged friend too. Entry is £7 with full details at

Pruning less hardy shrubs is a job you might want to do this week in your garden. The main aim is to channel growth into the younger, more vigorous buds, to prevent shrubs and bushes getting too big, while trying to encourage flowering. You can cut back twiggy, dense shrubs by half after flowering to maintain compact growth and prevent the plant becoming too leggy and bare at the base. Always cut close to the place where buds grow from the stem, the node!

Don’t forget, next week is the RHS National Gardening week! Post images of your plot on social media that capture your love of gardening and tag #nationalgardeningweek

READ MORE: Geoff Stonebanks Driftwood column April 23 2022 on propagating

I’ve already been finding quite a lot of greenfly, especially on the few roses I have. They always seem to be a prime target for sap sucking greenfly which hatch in the early spring. They feast on the tender shoots and buds, robbing the plants of nutrients and exuding honeydew, which in turn attracts sooty moulds. If left the overall vigour of the rose will be affected and weakened flower buds may not open. Check plants often and either pick them off or use an insecticidal spray to remove them.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at