Begonia boost for ‘kerb appeal’

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If there are some pleasant days for working outside in the garden there is much to be getting on with as everywhere new growth is bursting into life, and with the change to British Summer Time there will be the opportunity for the occasional spell outdoors in the early evening.

As well as impending work with plants, this is also a time for planning for that summer ‘kerb appeal’ and there is nothing to beat begonias to achieve this. A recent advertisement in the Hawick News was offering half-price begonia tubers and appeared a pretty good buy.

The types listed included a trailing variety for large containers, hanging baskets and window boxes; the now widely popular NonStop varieties with their large heads and compact sturdy habit; as well as doubles and fringed types. Growing begonias from seed is by no means easy. They can be purchased as young plants from national mail-order firms for growing on until planted out in early June. They can be grown easily and successfully from tubers.

Start them into growth from now, planting them 5cm/2” apart in trays or, better still individually in 7cm/3” pots. Using a multi-purpose compost, plant each tuber hollow side uppermost, so that the surface of the tuber is level with the compost, water and then place in either a heated greenhouse or propagator, even a kitchen windowsill, giving them good light but not strong sunlight (chances are there won’t be any of the latter just now). If on a windowsill, enclosed in a polythene bag will retain a moist atmosphere.

If in individual pots, when it comes to planting out there is no disturbance to the roots and they establish quickly. Begonias are ‘the’ bedding plant, guaranteed to give an eye-catching summer show with their bold colours.

On purchasing tubers it is not just one season that they will be enjoyed but, stored properly over the winter, can be potted up again each spring.

n Unless the grass was left exceptionally long at the end of the season there should be no reason - in fact it’s detrimental to its growth - to be bringing out the cutter just yet as early in the year. Already lawns have been cut - some even ‘scalped’ possibly to be cut less often - let the grass start growing before taking away all the early greenery.

Better to bring the machine out to check that it is still in working order, rather than leave it until the grass actually does need cut.

Work that should be done on the lawn, and certainly beneficial, at this time is scarifying, but more on that next time. If there are some pleasant days for working outside in the garden there is much to be getting on with as everywhere new growth is bursting into life, and with the change to British Summertime there will be the opportunity for the occasional spell outdoors in the early evening.

As well as impending work with plants, this is also a time for planning for that summer ‘kerb appeal’ and there is nothing to beat begonias to achieve this. A recent advertisement in the Hawick News was offering half-price begonia tubers and appeared a pretty good buy.

The types listed included a trailing variety for large containers, hanging baskets and window boxes; the now widely popular NonStop varieties with their large heads and compact sturdy habit; as well as doubles and fringed types. Growing begonias from seed is by no means easy. They can be purchased as young plants from national mail-order firms for growing on until planted out in early June. They can be grown easily and successfully from tubers.

Start them into growth from now, planting them 5cm/2” apart in trays or, better still individually in 7cm/3” pots. Using a multi-purpose compost, plant each tuber hollow side uppermost, so that the surface of the tuber is level with the compost, water and then place in either a heated greenhouse or propagator, even a kitchen windowsill, giving them good light but not strong sunlight (chances are there won’t be any of the latter just now). If on a windowsill, enclosed in a polythene bag will retain a moist atmosphere.

If in individual pots, when it comes to planting out there is no disturbance to the roots and they establish quickly. Begonias are ‘the’ bedding plant, guaranteed to give an eye-catching summer show with their bold colours.

On purchasing tubers it is not just one season that they will be enjoyed but, stored properly over the winter, can be potted up again each spring.

n Unless the grass was left exceptionally long at the end of the season there should be no reason - in fact it’s detrimental to its growth - to be bringing out the cutter just yet as early in the year. Already lawns have been cut - some even ‘scalped’ possibly to be cut less often - let the grass start growing before taking away all the early greenery.

Better to bring the machine out to check that it is still in working order, rather than leave it until the grass actually does need cut.

Work that should be done on the lawn, and certainly beneficial, at this time is scarifying, but more on that next time.