GINA PARKINSON admires the white-flowering cherry having its moment of fleeting beauty in the garden now.

OUR beautiful large white-flowering cherry has been magnificent this year, with blossom seeming to last a little longer than usual. The branches grow above the lawned path which leads to the veg patch, so we can see the tree every time we go past.

The branches grow over to form a natural arch, mingling on the other side of the path with our neighbour’s smaller-flowered pink cherry and the dark, dramatic foliage of Portuguese laurel. In April and May this is a lovely feature in the middle of our garden.

Spring blossom is so fleeting and before we know it April has passed by and we are into the next stage of the gardening calendar. So it is important to enjoy the spectacle before it disappears.

Blooms begin fairly early in the gardens around us, with wild plum and viburnum followed by ornamental cherries and alemanchier. Then magnolias and camellias mustn’t be forgotten and soon this month there will be displays of rhododendrons and azaleas.

Weekend catch-up

WE have a rambling rose that drapes itself over a metal arch and finds its way onto other nearby structures. It is a large creature which during an especially stormy night our first winter here brought down the three arches it was then attached to.

Since then the rambler has been tamed to a certain degree, although its wayward tendencies will never be completely conquered. So last weekend we got a couple of step ladders out to do battle with the long stems that needed to be captured and tied down to stop them catching passers-by.

Climbing and rambling roses need to be constantly tied in during their growing season, the stems fixed while they are still green and pliable. It can be a tricky job as the side-shoots along the length of the stems are delicate and easily knocked off.

Since these will carry this year’s flowers, it is annoying to lose any. At the same time the plants have to be treated firmly, so strong gloves and a supply of ready-cut twine or thin wire need to be available to quickly secure the stems once they are in place.

In the veg garden

SEEDS sown in April will be germinating and growing quickly. Fast-growing varieties such as courgette need to be potted on as soon as their first true leaves have formed.

Pot the seedlings into individual pots and grow them on a sunny windowsill. They will appreciate the warmth, but are very thirsty so keep an eye on the compost and water regularly.

Towards the end of the month, they can be hardened off before being planted out into their fruiting position. By then the house will be full of monster plants and it will be relief to get the windowsills back to normal.

Spring plant fair

FLOWER Power Fairs will hold a spring plant fair on Monday at Sutton Park in Sutton-on-the-Forest. Northern specialist plant growers will offer a range of herbaceous perennials, shrubs, climbers, herbs, shade loving plants and ferns as well as garden sundries from Alfresco Trading and Gardening With Wildlife.

Light snacks and drinks will be available from the café and new this year will be additional catering from a vintage van. Sandwiches, homemade cakes and cold and hot drinks including Yorkshire tea will be available.

The fair is open from 11am-4pm. Tickets are £3.50 and include admission to the fair and lovely gardens and grounds of Sutton Park. There is plenty of free parking nearby.

Open gardens


In aid of the National Gardens Scheme
Linden Lodge, Newbridge Lane, Wilberfoss, YO41 5RB. One-acre garden with a range of unusual plants and trees, lavender and box-edged gravel paths, mixed borders, pond, kitchen garden, woodland and formal garden. A further five acres of developing meadow has pathways and Shetland sheep. Craft and plant stalls. Open 1pm to 5pm, admission £4. Also open on Monday.

Rewela Cottage, Skewsby, YO61 4SG. Ornamental garden with unusual trees, shrubs and architectural plants, natural stone sunken garden, breeze house, vegetable garden and pond. The owner is a specialist grower of heuchera, hosta and penstemon and many varieties will be for sale. Open 11am to 5pm, admission £3.50.

Whixley Gardens, Whixley, YO26 8AR. Four gardens open in this lovely village.
Ash Tree House, High Street, has an extensive rock garden and borders filled with herbaceous plants, roses and shrubs creating a cottage garden feel. Cobble Cottage is the garden of a plantsman and flower arranger and is filled with unusual plants and interesting design ideas and views to the Hambleton Hills. Lydiate House is new to the NGS and has been recently redesigned with sloping rockeries, borders, foliage plants and unusual perennials. The Old Vicarage has a walled garden overlooking the old deer park. Walls and structures are festooned with climbers and winding gravel and brick paths lead through extensive planting to hidden seats. Homemade teas will be available at the Old Vicarage. Open noon to 5pm, combined admission £6. Also open on Monday.

Gardening TV and Radio

8am, Vale Radio, William Jenkyns. William continues his quest to visit as many gardening clubs in the Vale of York as possible. Can Vale Radio visit your gardening club? E-mail to register an interest.
9am, BBC Radio York, Julia Lewis. Gardening news and features from around North Yorkshire.
9am, BBC Radio Leeds, Tim Crowther and Joe Maiden.
2pm, BBC R4, Gardeners’ Question Time,  in Devon.

3pm, BBC R4, Gardeners’ Question Time. Panellists Matt Biggs, Pippa Greenwood and Christine Walkden together with chairman Eric Robson advise gardeners from Lewes in East Sussex.
8.30pm, BBC2, Gardeners’ World. Monty Don and co visit the RHS Malvern Spring Festival which celebrates its 30th anniversary this year.