The April showers are slowly reducing, the days are getting longer and warmer and the trees are finally starting to come into leaf.  April was a busy month in the garden here at Painswick with the majority of the seeds now sown.  As the season has been delayed by about 5 weeks, we have been able to work on our development project around the plunge pool.  Why not come along and have a look at the fruits of our labour!? More details about our exciting project will follow over the coming weeks.  May is set to be another busy month in the garden, check out the list below of all the tasks to do this month; these tasks may be appropriate for your own garden too:


  • Continue mowing, strimming and edging the lawns.
  • Lift and divide over crowded clumps of daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs.
  • Start regular weeding and hoe small weeds where possible.
  • Towards the end of the month plant out Summer bedding.
  • Sow Spring flowering bedding for next year, such as pansies, bellis, wallflowers, these are all biennials. (These can be sown from May until July).
  • Divide Hosta as they come into leaf.
  • Divide herbaceous perennials that you would like to propagate from.
  • After Primroses have finished flowering they can be split and planted into a nursery bed until they are ready to be planted out in the Autumn for a display the following Spring.
  • Continue dead heading Tulips and Daffodils.
  • Lift clumps of Forget-me-nots before they seed everywhere.
  • Before strimming areas of Daffodils allow the leaves to go brown, so the nutrients return to the soil.  A liquid fertiliser can be applied to areas of Spring flowering bulbs.
  • Start putting out supports for herbaceous perennials as the growth starts.
  • Start tying in Sweetpeas to ensure an attractive display.
  • Remove faded Spring bedding such as wallflowers.
  • Pot on pot-bound plants.
  • Keep an eye out for pest and diseases around the garden and act on quickly.
  • Cut back Penstemon and hardy fuschia after the frost has passed.
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs such as BerberisChaenomelesChoisya and Ribes after flowering. Remove one stem in three from Kerria and Spiraea ‘Arguta’, and shorten the other flowered stems to a suitable side-shoot. Evergreens such as Viburnum tinus can also still be trimmed this month.
  • Prune frost damaged evergreen shrubs such as Aucuba and Prunus.
  • Tie in climbing and rambling Roses.
  • Take cuttings of deciduous shrubs.
  • Start spaying Roses against pest and diseases.
  • In the greenhouse, open vents to increase the air flow, use shade netting in extreme heat, increase humidity levels on hot days by damping down the floor.
  • Continue to prick out and pot on seedlings as they get bigger.
  • Selective lawn weed killers will kill the weeds but not the grass or any naturalised bulbs. However, be warned – they will kill wild flowers growing in the turf.
  • Apply a nitrogen fertiliser to lawns.
  • Thin aquatic plants.
  • Remove blanket weed and leaves, leaving the materials on the bank of the pond to allow creatures to return to the water before adding to the compost pile.
  • Repair and clean all outside structures including, buildings, paths, pergolas etc.


Kitchen Garden


A large amount of seed has been sown direct to the soil in the Kitchen Garden, with a number of plants grown in our polytunnel planted out as well; there are a large number of plants to be still planted this month.  Below is a list of tasks for the month of May in the Kitchen Garden:


  • Sow purple sprouting and cauliflower for harvesting next Winter.
  • Plants sown under cover such as tomato, cucumber, pumpkins, squash and courgette can all be planted out once the last frost has gone.
  • All young seedlings can be planted out once they have hardened off for 10-14 days.
  • Brussels sprouts sown in early Spring should now be ready to plant out for next Spring.
  • Early sowing varieties of leek can now be transplanted to the kitchen garden.
  • Broad bean supports can now be constructed.
  • Continue succession sowing of lettuce, rocket, beetroot, carrot, spring onion and radish.
  • Earth up potatoes.
  • Construct supports for peas.
  • Remove side shoots of tomatoes as they start to grow.
  • Protect carrot with a mesh against carrot root fly.
  • Protect young seedlings against slugs.
  • Protect brassicas and peas from pigeons.
  • Pick yellowing leaves off brassicas to reduce brassica downy mildew.
  • Protect fruit from birds.
  • Continue regular weeding between the crops.


Hope this month’s blog gives you an insight into what goes on in the garden here at the Rococo Garden.  I hope that this also gives you an idea of some of the tasks you can complete in your own garden.  Here at Rococo, we film small snippets of gardening advice through our gardening program ‘Ask Rococo’. If you have a gardening question you would like to have answered, please email us at rococogarden@yahoo.co.uk, or send us a tweet @rococogarden or via our Facebook page. Until the next time, happy gardening!


All the best,



Steve Quinton BSc(Hons), M.I.Hort

Head Gardener

Painswick Rococo Garden


If you are interested in becoming a volunteer within the garden here at Painswick please give me a call on 07803751022 or email me at rococogarden@yahoo.co.uk we are always looking for keen and enthusiastic volunteers!


The Snowdrops have all finished flowering and the weather is starting to get warmer now with a few April showers.  The grass is now growing and the daffodils and cyclamen are in full flower on the banks around the garden.  The kitchen garden is dug and ready for planting up. 

April is one of the busiest months within a garden and it is no different here at The Rococo Garden.  Here are some of the tasks the gardeners and volunteers will be undertaking throughout April:


  • Last chance to move snowdrops whilst they are still green.
  • Start regular mowing, leaving the orchard grass slightly longer to reduce the visibility of badger damage.
  • Construct wigwams ready for planting out sweet peas in May, we have already sown ours, but you can still sow them direct to their flowering position.
  • Sow half hardy annuals for summer bedding in module trays.
  • Plant summer flowering bulbs in well prepared soil.
  • Sow annual flower seed for cutting flowers.
  • Prune Penstemon and Lavendula and any other tender plants.
  • Divide clumps of over grown perennials to propagate from or that are poor flowering.
  • Start weeding around the garden, removing perennial weeds and hoeing bare soil.
  • Apply a general fertiliser to beds ensuring that the fertiliser doesn’t scorch the plants or damage any new green shoots.
  • Start putting in support structures for tall perennials.
  • Start watering any containers and pots placed around the garden.
  • Plant up pots with herbs around the Bothy.
  • Protect Delphinium and Hosta from slug damage.
  • Watch for pests and diseases around the garden.
  • Start to feed citrus fruit.
  • Feed the roses and start to spray against black spot, rusts and pests such as aphids.
  • Prune the fig tree.
  • Sow new lawns and repair old patches (there are a lot around the garden due to badger and tractor damage!)
  • Tie in climbing and rambling roses.
  • Protect fruit blossom from late frost.
  • Start to sow herb seed.



The Kitchen Garden


The kitchen garden is a full time job within itself and April is a time for sowing lots of seeds, planting potatoes, asparagus and preparing for future crops.  Below is a list of tasks for completion in April:


  • Chit and plant out 2nd early potatoes during the first half of April and main potatoes the latter part of the month.
  • Sow courgette, cucumber, tomato, aubergine, salads, pumpkins, and celeriac indoors in a heated greenhouse or heated propagator.  We have a heated propagator in a polytunnel here at Rococo.
  • Sow cauliflower and cabbage seed in a seed bed ready for transplanting in June.  We sow seed in module trays and pot up into larger pots until the plant is strong and plant out in late July.
  • Transplant broad beans grown in pots.
  • Sow seed outdoors: beetroot, carrots, Swiss chard, kohl rabi, lettuce, leeks, radish, turnip, spring onions, peas and perpetual spinach.
  • Plant Jerusalem artichoke and asparagus.
  • Pot up tomato and any other seed grown in a heated propagator.
  • Thin out rows of seedling as soon as they are big enough to handle it.
  • Protect early sowings with fleece or cloches
  • Prepare runner bean supports for sowing in May or planting out in June.


Have you checked out our ‘Ask Rococo’ gardening programme? You can watch the episodes on our main website rococogarden.org.uk.  If you have any questions that you would like answering on the programme send them into us at rococogarden@yahoo.co.uk or @rococogarden on twitter. 


Have a good month and see you back here for the gardening “to do” jobs for May.


All the best,




Steve Quinton BSc(Hons), M.I.Hort

Head Gardener

Painswick Rococo Garden


If you are interested in becoming a volunteer within the garden here at Painswick please give me a call on 07803751022 or email me at rococogarden@yahoo.co.uk we will then arrange for you to come in for an informal interview.  

The Rococo Garden welcomes Steve Quinton as its new Head Gardener.  He started in the garden on 2nd January 2013.  Steve studied at Pershore College in Worcestershire ending his studies with a BSc degree in horticulture.


Steve has worked at WWT Slimbridge and Peter Dowle Plants and Gardens where he had the chance to work on two Chelsea Flower Show gardens. Steve joins us from a private estate in Herefordshire, where he was Head Gardener.

Steve said “I am really looking forward to working in such a high profile garden and looking forward to getting to know my fellow gardeners and volunteers”

Steve will be adding to this blog as and when something interesting happens in the garden!

Heritage Apple Weekend

The heritage apple weekend took place over the weekend of 13-14 October 2012.  Despite the adverse weather in the spring which significantly reduced the apple harvest, we still managed to put on a display of over 40 varieties of heritage apples.  Many of these were kindly donated by local gardens and orchards, including a selection of apples from the Gloucestershire Orchard Group which demonstrated their valuable conservation work to preserve rare local varieties.

The event was supported by a display of Antique Garden Tools in the Orangery on both days, which was of great interest to our visitors. Some of the tools were clearly linked to our present day garden ones, but others needed an explanation and demonstration to highlight their historic value.  We also had a table of pot-pourri, made of herbs harvested in the Kitchen Garden.  On the Sunday a local fruit nurseryman provided a selection of apples for tasting, as well as fruit cultivation advice, and a choice of apples in containers for sale.

On Sunday we managed to fruit press a few of our Ashmead Kernel apples (a Gloucester heritage variety), and visitors enjoyed helping with the fruit pressing and sampling some of the delicious fresh apple juice.  We also had a ‘Guess the Weight’ of the Giant Pumpkin competition, and this will still be available for anyone to have a go at during the Harvest Festival Week of school half term.  The apple display will continue to be on show during this week in the Bothy.

The photographs below show some of the main features of our Heritage Apple Weekend.

Selection of heritage apples on display in the Bothy

Display of historic potatoes from the Kitchen Garden, including Vitelotte and Gloucester Black Kidney

Selection of Antique Garden Tools, including an apple collecting bucket

Apples on display for tasting in the Orangery

Antique Garden Tools

Over the weekend of 15/16 September 2012 there was a wonderful display of antique garden tools outside the Bothy.  This carefully restored exhibition of hand tools, many dating back to the 19th century or earlier, created a lot of interest amongst our visitors.  The display is due to return on 13/14 October for our Heritage Apple weekend, when it will be staged in the Orangery.

Here is a selection of some of the tools which were on display.

Selection of hand tools

Selection of tools including a Warwickshire drove (used for tilling the soil), a potato dibber, a corn dibber and a boy’s spade

19th century hedge shears

French Lawn Sprinkler

Craftsman made 19th century pair of secateurs

Autumn Events

  • On Saturday 15 September to Sunday 16 September, there will be a display of Antique Garden Tools in the Bothy, with a display of some of the heritage potatoes which were grown in the Kitchen Garden this summer
  • Our Heritage Fruit weekend (apples and pears) takes place on Saturday 13 October – Sunday 14 October.  The Antique Garden Tools show will return for this event (both days), and on Sunday 14 October there will be a specialist local apple nursery to provide advice and guidance on growing and training fruit trees.
  • We will also have displays of fruit, pumpkins, squashes and other heritage vegetables from the Kitchen Garden, as well as fruit pressing.

Normal entry charges apply, all welcome



This season we have allocated a border in the Kitchen Garden for heritage vegetables/salads.  It represents the diversity of vegetables which may have been grown in this Kitchen Garden, since it was established in the mid-18th century, including some regional varieties, which we have located.  Growing these heirloom plants has a conservation role, and offers an alternative to the uniformity of modern vegetables.  We sourced the seed from heritage seed suppliers, and where appropriate will save the seed for future use.

Heritage Vegetables Border (with dates where known)

  • Asparagus Pea (1596) – recorded by John Gerard as “square crimson-velvet pease”
  • Bath Cos Lettuce (pre 1880)
  • Beetroot Bulls Blood (1900)
  • Beetroot Cheltenham Green Top (1883)
  • Carlin Pea – drying pea which dates back to Elizabethan times
  • Carrot Long Red Surrey (1824) – also known as the Chertsey carrot
  • Celeriac Giant Prague (1870)
  • Lettuce Brune d’Hiver (1850s) – green leaves with bronzed edges
  • Lettuce Marvel of Four Seasons
  • Lettuce Webbs Wonderful (1890)
  • Lettuce White Paris Cos (pre 1841)
  • Salsify (Sandwich Island) (1900)
  • Turnip Veitch’s Red Globe (1860s)

Other heritage vegetables will be added during the season, to fill the gaps after harvesting, with some feedback on the varieties tasted.