We await spring with great yearning after the recent long winters. The crocus spikes and golden heads of daffodils brighten our morning walks. If lucky enough we may smell the amazing fragrance from some of the scented daffodils such as Bridal Crown and Cheerfulness or spring flowering shrubs such as Viburnum bodnantense or the Daphnes
An instant pick-me up is to get into the garden for 15 minutes or so. Little and often is the key to keeping on top of ‘jobs’. It’s a great de-stressor and relieves mental fatigue.
For a positive start, first deal with a front entrance or views from windows – we are naturally attracted to what looks ‘bad’. Remove any dead leaves on or around plants and cut back dead stems from herbaceous plants to make everything instantly tidy and fresh.
Weeds – To prevent weeding jobs later, hoe over annual weeds in drier weather leaving them on the surface to breakdown and put back nutrients into the soil. Remove perennial weeds, ie dandelions which are easier to remove whilst the ground is still moist.
Lawn weeds can be persistent without chemical control. Maybe consider living with these ‘wildflowers’ and attract wildlife to the garden. Sprinkle some grass seed onto bare patches to re-grow and discourage further weeds. A trim of the edges will soon smarten up the lawn and set off the borders.
Pruning – After a harsh winter evergreen shrubs may have suffered some damage. Although it may be tempting to prune out damaged growth, wait until later into spring so that new growth will not be further damaged – no need to feel guilty, you will be protecting your plants.
Prune winter flowering shrubs if required to shape or rejuvenate them giving them a chance to make new growth for flowering next year. Buddleia can be pruned hard and these will make new growth to flower this summer.
Compost – Start a new compost bin and you will thank yourself later in the season. Last year’s compost can be placed straight onto borders with no need to dig in (the worms will do that for you). Sifted compost will provide a wonderful ingredient to use on containers.
Some general fertiliser can be sprinkled around the borders to provide nutrients for your plants. Finish off with a mulch of garden compost around plants which will help smother weed seedlings, enrich your soil and create a fresher look to your whole garden.
Plan ahead – look for summer and later flowering bulbs such as Dahlias, Crocosmia and Nerines to plant. Cheaper than buying them in the summer as a ready grown plant.
Towards the end of spring is a good time to plant up hanging baskets and containers but watch out for any frosts before leaving outside as the plants are tender.