Even if and when a nice day does arrive, remember that cold snaps and wet days are just as likely to return — though hopefully only for a brief spell. In truth, this season looks even trickier than last year. Be patient and do work as weather, temperatures and, more importantly, ground conditions permit.
Weeding Sharpen hoes and be sure to carry one with you whenever you walk the grounds and inspect the gardens. A few weeds cut off here and there will add up.
Kitchen garden Tomatoes, celery and celeriac can be sown indoors for planting out in June. Make successional sowings of lettuce, radish, beetroot, peas, broad beans, salad onion, spinach and kohlrabi outdoors if conditions are suitable. Dwarf French beans can be started under cloches and leeks in a nursery bed. Plant asparagus crowns. Inspect early potatoes regularly and protect as necessary. Maincrop potatoes and onions would normally need planting this month, but again check the weather. A nitrogen feed will be appreciated by blackcurrants and blackberries. Watch out for mildew on all fruit bushes. Fan-trained cherries and plums should be pruned. Tie in vine shoots.
Ornamental garden Finish dividing perennials. Prepare beds for planting. Stock up on mulching materials to help conserve soil moisture as well reduce weeds.
Publicity If you are open to the public, you need to maximise visits 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 — a charity function or tree-planting ceremony — contact the local papers, 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. Whatever you do, do not forget your biggest asset — your team. If a member of staff has earned a certificate, won an award or achieved success in some other way, why not celebrate it? Take a photograph 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.