Peonies pushing through hazel stakes You can just see the stakes if you look closely. Over there, by the Alliums. Baptisia australis in June: Stakes nearly gone! All the stakes have disappeared! Today is the Spring Equinox. Imagine for a moment that you have decided to go for a swim. In this situation are two sorts of person: those who run heartily along the beach and plunge, squealing with delight into the foaming surf. No hesitation. The other sort inch close to the edge and put out an enquiring toe to test the water. They then withdraw a bit, grumble and shiver before, eventually, immersing themselves. This latter is precisely how the British spring behaves. One minute it is full of gusto and there are green shoots all over the place, then it is all giggly and reticent as the cold weather returns. Still, we take what succour we can from the undeniable fact that, barring apocalypse or climatological meltdown, it will arrive in the next few weeks. In the meantime I have been fearfully busy making plant supports.I notice from other posts on this site that I am not alone. My chosen method is to venture off into the woods next door to my house and cut down some hazel branches. I then drag then back home and weave them into a sort of floating birds nest across all of my borders. It looks slightly deranged for a bit but the plants very soon grow up through the sticks and, like all the best support garments, they become invisible. The sticks are very robust and I don't have to do anything else until next winter when they all get taken down (they are brittle and useless by then) and turned into kindling. I realise that this is not for everybody - for a start you have to have access to a wood - but is by far the most attractive way to stake tall perennials that I have ever found. In clients gardens I have also stretched plastic netting on posts across borders but that, though effective, is pretty hideous until the plants grow and cover it up. The most important thing is to put your stakes out early, before perennials start sprouting. Once they have grown and are beginning to topple over it is too late to stake them: there is nothing worse than tying them to a couple of canes with string. So do it now. Meantime I am holding on for Spring. Related Articles A Gardener's Midsummer Checklist READER PHOTOS! Springtime at Chanticleer READER PHOTOS! Springtime at Longwood About the Spring Awakenings contest View the discussion thread.