Are you spending more time in the garden now that spring has sprung? If so, here’s what you should be picking and planting this month.

What to Pick
After the wild freesias, Bermuda Easter lilies (lilium longiflorum) bloom in our fields and our gardens This year they have flowered with exquisite timing for the festive season. Cut stems of these large, white blossoms placed in large jugs or vases add Easter grace to our indoor decorations. They remind us that between 1890 and 1903 we exported thousands of their bulbs to North America and all over Europe. Their intense fragrance also reminds us thousands of flowers were often thrown out. Upset by the waste, engineer William Blackburn Smith decided to design machinery to make perfume and so the Perfume Factory in Hamilton Parish was founded.

Spring is the season for irises, including the Blue Flag (iris versicolor). The blade shaped leaves have significance for Christians since they are supposed to represent the Virgin Mary’s grief for her son, whose side was pierced by a sword.

Locally grown snapdragons (antirrhinum majus) are very popular at Easter, especially the spire-like varieties that, again, look great in large jugs or vases.

What to Plant
(citrillus lunatus) is a perfect fruit for refreshing summer soups, sorbets and snacks. Plant seeds directly into the ground. Depending on the variety, watermelons take between 70 and 90 days to mature. Sow now and the fruit should be ready once our hottest months arrive.

Dianthus (various)
There’s still time to plant dianthus seedlings and enjoy the fragrance of these flowers during the cooler months before they’re overwhelmed by the summer’s heat. Plant in moist but well-drained soil either in the ground or in containers. They’re often known as pinks, thanks not to the colour of their flowers, which may be pink, but to their fringed edges.

Marigolds (various)
Offering great colour to the gardenscape, these flowers are a boon to gardeners because they repel bugs attacking growing vegetables, such as aphids, whitefly, nematodes and tomato hornworm.