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Monday, 3 March 2014

Creating the perfect spring garden

The first signs of spring are a heartening sight for many of us after the bleakness of winter. November, December and January are relatively quiet times when it comes to outdoor work, but in order to achieve a perfect spring garden you need to have done a lot of the prep work in advance. Spring is also the time to get your garden in good order early to give you a head start on the busy period that is just around the corner. So, what are the key things you should be doing?

Plan ahead
For a vibrant spring time garden, you need to have planted your bulbs between October and December, ideally before the first frost. Tulips, hyacinths, crocus and daffodils are all spring flowering and provide welcome splashes of colour. Early spring is also the time to think about the plant bulbs you need to get in the ground now to make sure you get the look you want for summer. Grab a cup of tea and get yourself to a computer because this is the perfect task to do from the comfort of home on a rainy, windy day. Check out your local garden store online to browse and plan.


Clean and clear
Spring is the time to give your garden a general tidy up. You need to remove debris and leaves from borders, the lawn, and any water features. Give your greenhouse a good clear out too – before long it will be essential to bring on cuttings and seedlings. Give the floor a sweep and you could also do a spot of disinfecting to get rid of overwintering pests and disease. Wipe down any benches and the inside of the glass. It’s a good idea to give plant pots and trays a wash too; giving young plants the best chance of avoiding disease is a priority. Once your spring cleaning is done, ventilate the greenhouse well so it dries.

Cut back
To be as wildlife friendly as possible, wait until early spring to cut back old dead growth of deciduous grasses and herbaceous perennials. Tidy gardeners will be tempted to prune back earlier, but waiting provides food for insects and birds during some of the coldest months.


Make it surprising
Spring is all about nature and the amazing way the environment changes as the warmer weather approaches. When planning the perfect spring garden, bear this in mind and work with it rather than against it. One great way to do this is to brighten up the base of trees before they have all their leaves back. Something like crocus or scillas will grow well in the moist, light soil underneath a tree.

You could also try planting bulbs in your lawn; by the time they start to appear you will have forgotten where you planted them, making for a pleasant surprise. Plant bulbs like snowdrops and winter aconites, you’ll just need to let them die down after flowering before you mow over them (you can always go round them, of course). The key is to make it look natural, like the bulbs have just decided to grow there of their own accord. You could even throw bulbs into the air and plant them where they land.


 DG

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