Just as with the pots by the front door the borders in the beer garden are planted to provide successive colour from spring to autumn. Bulbs are planted under and between the perennials, and there's the odd shrub and a few potted Japanese Maples to provide structure and height.
We've had the snowdrops now and the daffs are in their element. Daffodils don’t really sit with the colour scheme of the borders but I can't have a spring garden without daffs. They mean spring to me, are utterly cheerful and sunshiny, and I did live in Wales for 17 years…
I've also got tulips planted in the borders but will pull them up this year and replant new bulbs ready for next spring. I never want to believe Monty Don when he says to treat them as annuals but I've given in. They don't come back anything like as strong the second or third years, so new bulbs it is.
One of my favourite late spring/early summer flowers is Aquilegia. The little nodding bonnets of flowers are so pretty and I do like the way they spread themselves about without shame. My friend Maz, who helped me design and plant the garden before we opened the pub, digs them out of her garden and gives them to me. She considers them weeds! One persons trash is another persons treasure… at the moment they're just showing their promise with the foliage growing into soft mounds, helping the borders look less bare and suppressing weeds.
Finally I've got some seeds sown. I've waited and waited because I get ahead of myself every year. Peas have been sown for pea shoots, not pea plants - they're sprinkled thickly on top of compost and tend to germinate pretty fast. The pea shoots we grow are thicker and crunchier and are used, amongst other things, on our home made black pudding starter.
I've also planted chilli seeds, hoping to get a strong crop to contribute to our next batch of Standley Jerk Marinade. I don't use a propagator and chilli needs a steady warm temp to germinate so am just hoping a corner of our centrally heated house will do. Fingers crossed.
Lastly I've sown some summer broccoli. I've created seeds beds in deep plastic crates (actually unused recycling bins) and will sow successively in April and May. Should be able to plant out in this year's brassica bed in about 5 weeks and if I keep to the sowing plan, and things grow well, we’ll have fresh broccoli spears from July to October.