Peter’s Gardening Tips for April 2016

What a contrast this Spring is to last year. We were desperate for the rain and it was warm!

Spring appears to be delayed or on hold, I am still pruning wisterias, apple trees and roses. The ground is cold and very wet;  Storm Katie left a trail of destruction here in Southern England. You can’t fight the weather, you just have to work with it, as all the growers across the country have to.

This cool wet Spring means the daffodils or narcissus are looking absolutely fabulous and lasting. This month I want to celebrate these stunning bulbs which really light up a garden, hedgerow, grassland or woodland putting a smile on your face.

Last week I was lucky enough to be at the RHS London Spring Plant extravaganza and the display put on by the Scamp family from Falmouth, Cornwall was breathtakingly gorgeous. Ron Scamp started collecting Daffodils as a hobby 40 years ago, the whole collection extends to over 2,500 varieties and species,


The family continue to collect and rescue old historical varieties which are being bulked up in numbers. I personally love a lot of the old varieties, they tend to be more simple and far less complicated. Ron continues to breed and introduce new varieties of daffodils and narcissus especially trying for more compact, shorter varieties with a scent, – especially trying to find a successor to Tete a Tete, which I personally dislike, but it sells in its millions! The flowers don’t last long and there is no scent!

Here are some of my favourites and they all smell fabulous! Don’t take my word for it – order for this Autumn!

Actaea, Avalanche, Cantabile, Chat, Curlew, Eland, Flycatcher, Intrigue, Odoratus, Pacific Coast, Pipit, Pueblo, Quail, Sailboat, Silver Chimes, Sir Winston Churchill, Sweet Blanche, Trellisk, Tresamble, Verdin, Yellow Cheerfulness, – just a few!

So make an effort to bend down and have a sniff, take a closer look too – they just make you feel happy! These photos I took lying on my tummy!


If you are near Cardiff visit the RHS Show at Bute Park 15-17thApril and see Ron Scamps Daffodils and Narcissus. Enjoy!

Gardening Quotes

No occupation is so delightful to me as the culture of the earth,
No culture comparable to that of the garden – Thomas Jefferson.

The love of gardening is a seed,
Once sown that never dies! – Gertrude Jekyll.

In the spring, at the end of the day
You should smell like dirt! – Margret Attwood.

When you hear a Cuckoo shout,‘Tis time to plant your tatties out!


Frost forecast this week end early Saturday and Sunday mornings 16th– 17th April !!

Fleece, cover or bring indoors tender plants, seedlings. Sadly this will not be good for Magnolias and Camellias.

As the soil is still cold and wet refrain from seed sowing and planting, apart from the toughest vegetables until it warms up – you will only waste your time energy, money! Wait.

Please leave your gardening questions for me to answer this weekend. I was kept very busy last Monday at RHS Wisley answering gardening questions on the Gardening Advice desk!

Happy Gardening and visit lots of gardens open and plant shows.

Kind regards


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Peter has spent his life gardening, working in garden centres and advising in all aspects of gardening, wildlife, and bio-diversity in horticulture.He managed Clandon Park Garden Centre in Surrey at the age of 23 and was a gardening radio presenter with the BBC. This continued for 15 years, running live broadcasts from Chelsea & Hampton Court Flower shows, South of England & Surrey County shows.Now self-employed, Peter works on a wide variety of gardens from private to large estates and also concentrating on consultancy and advisory work to fellow gardeners. He works with the RHS Gardening Advice team at Chelsea, Hampton Court, Wisley Flower shows and is an RHS External Gardening Advisor

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