Professional Gardener - Publicity, paths and ponds

Make better use of publicity to drive garden visits, Sally Drury suggests.

Are you getting the publicity you deserve?

If you are open to the public, you need to maximise the number of visitors within the limits presented by the garden in terms of capacity and health and safety issues.

Leaflets, posters and advertisements in the local press will go a long way to making sure that you feature on the public's radar, but are you missing some free publicity?

Whenever an event is planned, be it a charity function or a tree-planting ceremony, you should contact the local newspapers, county magazines and even local radio and regional TV news. A simple press release will do. Depending on the event, you might even invite journalists to attend.

And whatever you do, do not forget your biggest asset - your team. If a member of the team has earned a certificate, won an award or achieved success in some other way, then why not celebrate it?

Take a photograph of the person and tell the local press about your colleague's news. It can do wonders for team morale and also keeps your garden in the public eye.

Greenhouses and conservatories

As warm spring days become hotter and sunnier, more attention should to be paid to ventilation, and now is the perfect time to think about shading.

Reflect on the success of last year's shading before opting to use the same again. Keep a watch for sciarid fly.

Weather forecasting

This time of year is notorious for lulling us into a false sense of it being summer, but do not be fooled.

Be ready to rush any potted shrubs back under cover if you have already brought them out and keep fleeces ready to protect other tender plants. Frosts can still strike unexpectedly.

Lawns and grassed paths

If not already done, consider spiking any hard areas of lawn and walkways. Not only will the operation ensure that air gets to the roots to give healthy growth, but it will break up any compaction to aid infiltration of water when it does rain.

Consider treating Fusarium, especially if the infestation is bad following the winter's snowfall.

Kitchen garden

Continue sowing and planting beetroot, cabbage, lettuce, peas, broad beans and radishes. Direct sow runner beans, French beans and sweetcorn. Consider trying Swiss chard and endive.


Keep a watch for signs of variegated shrubs reverting to green and weeping specimens reverting to upright. Prune suspect branches.

Water gardens, ponds and lakes

Complete the removal of dead stems, leaves and weeds around water features and continue dividing and replanting aquatics and bog plants.

Be ready to control algae in new pools, those that have been refilled and in static bodies of water. The bright sunlight and high temperatures over Easter have already started the stirring of blooms in some south-western gardens.

Diary dates

In addition to work programmes, events in your garden and staff holidays, include the dates of local garden shows and nursery open days in your diary. You never know what inspiration you may gain.

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