JACK FROST IS BECOMING A BORE
Don’t get me wrong, I do genuinely like a nice crisp, frosty morning – but not in May.
Blooming bedding plants
Last year I got caught out due to the pandemic and missed out on buying all my bedding plants for hanging baskets, urns and containers. It seems the good house-bound people of Staffordshire were all going into container gardening in a big way. I shopped around and got most – at a price – but missed out on some.
Each year I keep the plastic name cards of the plants and try to get the same each season. So, in mid-April, I got the whole lot in one giant shopping trip. I buy six of each plant, just over sixty in total. Mrs GG is very precise about what she wants in the hanging baskets, she leaves the urns to me.
We’ve got tables and benches outside the greenhouse and my rather expensive purchase was laid out in splendour. Until the three minutes to six weather forecast – and that’s another grumble. The Midlands is a huge area and to try and wrap it all up in a general prediction is pointless.
Anyway, back to that mid-April weather forecast. It had been a lovely sunny day but there was a bit of cloud moving in and that usually spells a hold on cooler night-time temperatures.
No so. The cloud was expected to thin, allowing in clear skies that would result in frost in the early hours and around dawn. Sixty odd plants may not seem that many – plus a few trays of brassicas, sprouts and lettuce. Luckily, there is plenty of room inside the greenhouse which was still overwintering the geranium plants and the standard bay trees.
But to cart them in and cover them with horticultural fleece takes me about 35/40 minutes. Since that mid-April evening, I think I’m correct in saying that there have been less than six frost-free nights. So the whole exercise has to be repeated – putting them out in the morning, watering and then bringing them back in at night. I reckon that’s about 18 hours work and, on top of that, I’ve got all my broad beans to cover up with fleece in the veg cage and Mrs GG insists on me wrapping up the pear and plum trees that are in blossom. Little wonder I sleep well and all to keep that little rascal, Jack Frost, at bay.
Last week they reckoned it wouldn’t get any lower than 4 degrees but that’s still too risky. Even with that forecast when I got up to start my carting chore there was ice on the birdbath. Good job I took no notice.
So, roll on some more seasonal higher temperatures and let me leave my lovely little plants outside to harden off until I pot up the containers.