“My lawn is totally destroyed by the snow and the fungus which takes hold under the snow. I just have big patches of bare earth left now. Most of the herbaceous beds are still fairly dormant and you think nothing is going to grow after the dreadful winter we’ve had. But look a bit further and you will find signs of life. Roses have great fresh bud growth and we have had the odd day of around 14 or 15 degrees C when you can hear the birds singing and see the spring bulbs and it gives you hope. Plants have a great ability to catch up with the season whatever the weather. I interviewed a gardener on Shetland several years ago and she said that as autumn comes very early and winter stays very late there, blooming is concentineered together into a very short spring and summer with the plants all in blossom together.”
Even though spring is still springing, Chris advices it’s best to get busy in the garden now. “You need to get on top of the weeds and tying in by Easter weekend, the garden will not wait for you,” he laughs. “I am always still amazed how quickly the borders fill up and then everything falls over. I hope to get a few good days to pull my own garden back in shape. It’s a family effort, my 3 daughters aged from 12 to 3 years old all help; wherever I am, they are too.”
“I’ll re-turf the lawn for speed; the ground is too cold to seed it and I want to use the lawn this summer as it’s an integral part of the garden and right outside the kitchen. Turf is still excellent value for money. Even the most expensive turf works out about £8 a sq meter whereas planting herbaceous plants by comparison would be nearer £25. Obviously paving and decking is more expensive too.”
As well as making plans for his own garden Chris is also preparing a Show Garden for Chelsea Flower Show, www.rhs.org.uk/Shows-Events/RHS-Chelsea-Flower-Show/2011. I’m still working with Bradstone and this year’s garden will be quite different from others we have done. It’s called ‘Strata’ and we take a really fresh look at concrete. There will be lot of special effects as we are trying to make concrete more romantic,” he laughs. “We’ve got concrete that glows in the dark, transparent concrete and even lightweight concrete and hopefully some marketable products will emerge from all the testing and creative efforts.”
The busy green fingered guru also has a hour long programme out on BBC4 later in the spring. He explains, “The working title is Pipped, so that may change but it is a real self indulgent look at British orchards and apples; it’s well worth watching, there are some real surprises.” he adds.
Find out more about Chris and all his green fingered plans at www.chrisbeardshaw.com.