Flower experts start to harden off show plants

The keenest gardeners are currently reaching an exciting stage of the year as they start to harden off early plants grown in greenhouse conditions, coldframes and the like, ready for the Chelsea flower show.

So claims Jekka McVicar on the Gardeners World blog.

She reports that stock is currently being transferred from her covered area to be hardened off in the spring air in anticpation of their public viewing in May.

One of the first out has been borage which, as a hardy annual, has since seen a wide variety of conditions.

"Within a few days of being outside our plants have experienced wind, rain, hail and sunshine," Jekka states.

She adds that weather forecast viewing is the order of the day as the final to six weeks to the flower show roll by.

Plants are in no small need of hardening off, in particular to restore colour to red and golden varieties, she adds.

Jekka and her husband run a specialist herb farm that benefits from more than 23 years of gardening experience.