April 2020 will certainly be one we don’t forget. It started out with congratulations and success for our most experienced landscape supervisor and plantsman, Graham Robbins.
April marked Grahams 25th work Anniversary at Elmtree. We were unable to celebrate in the way we wanted with a bbq/meal so instead we dug out some old photos of Graham over the years and we thanked him on our social media pages. Don’t worry when it’s safe to do so we will be all getting together and marking the occasion ensuring that we can show Graham just how proud and privileged we are to have him on board with us at Elmtree.
There is a lot of uncertainly for everyone at the moment, however as a business we would like to assure you that surrounding the recent outbreak of Covid-19 our priority continues to be the well-being of our customers and employees, and we are committed to ensuring that our front line customer service operates in the safest way for us all. We would like to reassure customers that we are taking all necessary steps to follow the guidance given by the government and the world health organisation at this time.
We had a small number of staff returning to work. Life at work will be a lot different for the foreseeable future. Social distancing will of course be a priority and we will continue to update our procedures as more information becomes available from the government.
During this time we have also been working on our webcopy. Ensuring that our web content is up to date and having a slight redesign. This is a project we are continuing to work on over the coming months but new content will be uploaded as and when its ready so keep checking back to see what you think.
We have been thinking a lot about our social responsibility as a company and it really does stem from the top at Elmtree. Managing Director Paul Lynch has registered as a NHS volunteer during the pandemic, ensuring his neighbourhood had extra support especially for those who were venerable. He’s enjoyed doing jobs for people that need it, such as shopping and collecting medication
We have also been keen to support local charities. A fundraiser appeal has been launched supporting Bristol Zoo Gardens, Wild Place Project and their conservation projects across the world. As a charity they rely on the support and income from visitors to continue the valuable conservation works at home and overseas and now more than ever they need your support. Bristol Zoological Society are asking for donations to ensure they continue to thrive when they re-open. You can make donations to the Bristol Zoological Society Appeal by going to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fund/covid19appeal. As you may be aware from previous works, we have links with Bristol Zoo Gardens and Wild Place Project so it was important to us to support this appeal.
As for the month ahead: Typically, May’s warmer weather makes gardening a lot easier and gardens are starting to look their best full of bright spring flowers and trees in full leaf. Although as I type this and look out my window all I can currently see is rain clouds!! We have been lucky with lovely sunny weather during the last few weeks and it’s easy to forget that April showers are to be expected! At least for a few more days!
While the weather ‘should’ really be warming up now, the nights can still be cold so you still watch out for late frosts by protecting tender plants.
Over the next few weeks, you will want to ensure that you get the most out of your garden. Simple preparations such a mowing the lawn regularly and focusing on planting summer bedding pots/plants will really get the garden looking good.
- Now is the perfect time to plant new trees, shrubs, herbaceous plants, Dahlia tubers and Gladioli – so much choice!
- Sow seeds for summer bedding in the greenhouse or conservatory and pick out sowings made in March. Sow tomatoes in pots in the greenhouse or on a warm windowsill.
- Dead head bulbs but do not cut the foliage because the bulbs need this to produce food beneath the soil so that if flowers well next year.
- Scoop out pondweed, blanketweed and algae from ponds and water features
- Apply wood treatment to wooden garden furniture to condition it for summer
- Set up an extra compost bin or a worm bin, so you can recycle more green waste from your kitchen and garden
- Apply nitrogen-rich summer lawn feed to encourage leafy growth
- Hoe bare soil and hand-weed beds weekly, so weeds don’t have time to establish and set seed
- Sow grass seed or lay new turf by the end of this month, to create a new lawn or repair damaged patches
- Check shrubs for nests before you start any pruning, to avoid disturbing nesting birds
- Clean out and scrub bird feeders regularly to maintain hygiene
- Build sturdy supports for climbers such as runner beans, sweet peas and morning glory
- Plant tender vegetables such as Tomatoes, Cucumbers, Aubergines, Peppers and Melons in grow bags. Sow Marrows and Courgettes, Runner Beans and Sweet Corn.
- Prune spring shrubs, such as forsythia and Chaenomeles, after flowering to keep them compact
- Tie in the new shoots of climbing plants, including clematis, wisteria and honeysuckle, to their supports
- Continue sowing annuals, such as California poppies, into gaps in borders for colour from August into autumn
- Plant up hanging baskets, but keep in a greenhouse or porch for a few weeks to establish, before putting outside
- Apply liquid feed to tulips, daffodils and other spring bulbs to encourage a good display next year
- Plant out summer bedding and tender annuals, including sunflowers, cosmos and nasturtiums, after the last frost
- Remove faded spring bedding, such as wallflowers and forget-me-nots, once faded and add to your compost bin
- Harden off tender plants raised indoors, but bring them back in at night to protect from late frosts
- Pinch out the shoot tips of bedding plants and young annuals to encourage bushier growth
Whatever May brings we hope you all keep safe and well and can find time to enjoy the garden or open spaces. It’s a difficult time for all. Many people are finding that this situation has forced (or encouraged) them to slow down and do things in different ways and others are using the opportunity to get out for a walk and are finding pleasure connecting with nature. We have some fantastic photos that have been shared with us on social media, showcasing how people are spending their time in their gardens. We would like to thank everyone for these photos and keep them coming it! We will have sunshine again!