As we finally say goodbye to winter, it’s time to enjoy one of the most exciting times of the year in the gardening calendar. Spring is in the air, bulbs are flowering, the trees and shrubs are in bud and the anticipation is growing for those early-sown vegetable seedlings.
It’s a busy time for gardeners everywhere, as the days are getting longer and warmer. There are various jobs that must be done in the garden to get the season off to a flying start – prepare for the explosion of colour that the spring garden brings!
With a little work, your garden can look beautiful, as long as you stick to a plan. As thrilled as we all are about getting ready for summer, however, don’t be caught out by those late frosts. Keep an eye on the weather and be ready to protect your young seedlings if necessary.
If you’ve already planted your garden out, have some straw or horticultural fleece at the ready to cover the plants if you’re unsure whether they’ll survive a cold snap.
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Get your grass off to a good start by adding a high nitrogen fertiliser to your lawn. The spring is also a good time to plant fresh seeds over any dead patches of grass.
If you failed to divide your herbaceous perennials last autumn, it’s not too late to do so now. You’re best doing this on a dry day. Once they’ve been divided, plant them in their final position and give them plenty of water.
The blossoming of trees and flowers will make your garden a beautiful place for relaxation in spring. In particular, look out for the magnolia, azalea, rhododendron and camelia. The blooming of the magnolia trees historically charts the emergence of spring and the end of the British winter.
Azaleas require well-drained, acidic soil because they have shallow roots. In areas with poor drainage, they should be placed in raised beds. Fertilising these shrubs should ideally take place in late spring.
Rhododendrons have long been a mainstay of the spring, thanks to their spectacular clusters of showy blooms and their large green leaves, which will often stay green throughout winter. Most of the plants flower in the spring, but there are also summer-blooming varieties that add colour to your garden later on.
Camelia are evergreen shrubs that have simple, glossy leaves and clustered flowers that bloom early in the spring. They need to be positioned on a site sheltered from the wind and early morning sunshine, as cold winds and late frosts can damage the buds and flowers.
Spring is a time for deadheading, even though it’s a job that you probably hate! It must be done to make sure your bulbs continue to flower, year after year.
Once the tulips or daffodils have flowered, remove the bloom just as the seed pod begins to develop. This means the plant will put all of its energy back into the bulb, rather than into producing seed.
Carry out some pest control while working on your borders or propagating in the greenhouse. Look out for slugs, snails or aphids, while vine weevil larvae may be in the compost of the winter pots. Get any pests under control as soon as possible.
Feed your trees, shrubs, roses, hedges and established beds and borders with a general purpose organic fertiliser. Do some weeding, tidy the borders, mulch with compost or manure and plant any new trees, roses, shrubs and perennials.
Feed the birds
If you’ve been encouraging wild birds to come and feed in your garden over the winter months, there’s no reason you should stop now spring is here.
Birds will thrive on high protein foods at this time of year, especially when they start moulting. It’s probably best to avoid leaving out peanuts, fat or bread in spring since this can be harmful if fed to nestlings by the adult birds.
Some ideal bird foods for spring include black sunflower seeds, soaked sultanas, mild grated cheese, pinhead oatmeal, mealworms, raisins and currants, waxworms and good seed mixtures without loose peanuts. Good fresh foods include bananas, soft apples and pears cut in half and grapes.
As the temperature begins to rise, it’s wonderful to enjoy the views of your garden as it comes into full bloom, and there is not better way to take it all in than from the comfort of your armchair.
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You can watch your garden grow and enjoy seeing the spring birds feeding with amazing clarity – pretty as a picture. With more than 30 years’ experience, Slide or Fold specialises in top of the range fenestration products, including bifold doors.
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