This article was written for Annabel & Grace, which is now part of Rest Less.
Spring usually arrives by mid-March and the frequent sunny days provide the opportunity for an increasing range of gardening tasks. It’s time to get busy preparing seed beds, sowing seed, cutting back winter shrubs and generally tidying up around the garden. The RHS is a terrific resource for help and advice.
There’s plenty of jobs to do, but keep an eye on the weather forecast as one day can feel as warm as early summer and the next can be icy cold. There’s no need to rush as jobs can wait until conditions improve.
This job can be continued during March. I am a bit of a rose-lover and I have over 50 roses in my garden so this is not a one day job! I also feed my roses now as this is when they will need all the help they can get. Remember if any of your roses are in a sheltered position and do not get much moisture from rain they may need to be watered. The wind is just as dehydrating as the sun.
Plant summer-flowering bulbs:
Bulbs make a fine display planted in containers or borders, especially daffodils, snowdrops and tulips in Spring. They are one of the easiest and most rewarding garden plants to grow.
Bulbs are useful for adding colour to spring borders. Tulips come in all shades, from dark purple to white, and bloom at a time of year when many plants offer muted colours. Other bulbs, such as snowdrops and scillas, are some of the earliest flowering plants in the garden, brightening up the short days of very early spring.
Planting summer-flowering bulbs such as lilies and gladioli can provide dramatic, tall blooms that are scented. Autumn-flowering bulbs, such as nerines, can brighten up the late season with unexpectedly colourful displays.
Dividing perennials regularly will ensure healthy, vigorous plants that will continue to perform year after year. It also offers the opportunity to multiply your plants.
Most Perennials are any plant living for at least three years. The term is also commonly used for herbaceous perennials which grow for many years (To compare: annual = one year, biennial = two years). Perennials benefit from division every two to three years to maintain health and vigour. If you want to increase the number of plants you have by dividing them, the task can be done more regularly.
For more info on how divide perennials, click HERE for advice from the RHS.
Growing plants in containers is a great way to bring life and colour into otherwise dull spots in your garden. Patios, balconies and window boxes are all places where plants can be easily introduced in containers. Plants in containers do require more care than those in gardens.
Plant in early spring so that plants quickly grow roots and become established. Autumn planting may lead to losses from waterlogging and evergreens may deteriorate over winter from dryness at the roots or wind-burn of the foliage.
Watering is one of the most important jobs when growing plants in containers. Roots need a balance of air and water to grow well which is easy to provide if you have a good quality compost or soil.
Plants don’t grow well if their roots are in very wet compost (not enough air) and plants will often benefit if the compost is allowed to dry a little between waterings.
The mowing regime is an important part of maintaining a healthy lawn. The cutting height and mowing frequency will depend on the purpose and look you want to achieve, whether it be a close-cut ‘classic’ lawn or longer-grassed wildlife lawn.
- Prepare new areas of ground for sowing grass seed in April. Dig perennial weeds out making sure you remove the roots. The site should be dug to a depth of 23cm (9″) and raked to obtain a level surface.
- Make the first cut of the season on established lawns, just removing the leaf tips.
- Where moss is a problem, apply lawn sand or use a moss killer.
- Sow self-repairing lawn seed in worn areas of lawn or to cover bald patches.
- Restore tidy lawn edges by using a sharp half-moon edging tool.
Weeds: non-chemical control
Weeds can be controlled without resorting to weedkillers. Cultural or organic control measures rely on killing or restricting the weeds by physical action, from manual removal to smothering, burning and using weed barriers.
Now that spring has arrived, the temperature should be starting to creep upwards. But the lush new growth that this encourages is irresistible to slugs and snails, so be sure to take some controls now. We found that organic slug pellets based on ferric phosphate are just as effective as ones based on methaldehyde. We’ve also had success with biological controls, though these don’t control snails. Biological controls use microscopic nematodes which are natural predators of slugs. You can either buy empty packets with a voucher inside at the garden centre or buy them from specialist companies via mail order. They need a minimum soil temperature of 5C so the company will only send them out when conditions are suitable.
Gardening is brilliant for one’s wellbeing – see our other wellbeing articles here