Maintaining Your Garden Throughout Spring
At the first instance of sunny day following a notoriously grey and dreary winter, most of us Brits are quick to dust off our BBQs and wipe down the long-forgotten patio furniture, ready to soak up the sun as soon as we can.
What we might not anticipate, however, is the state of the garden that the colder months have destroyed. Weeds have overtaken the gorgeous perennials that you swear you only planted just last month, and you daren’t wade through the overgrown lawn for fear of who knows what has made it’s home in there.
Spring is the ideal time to give your garden a face- lift, as newer plants stand a better chance in the seasonally wet weather, making for ideal conditions for you to prepare your green thumb and get digging. But before you dive right in, steady that trowel – taking a moment to consider your plan can help you either by replenishing your current set up or running down to your nearest garden centre to buy the brightest blooms you can get your hands on.
Here’s our handy guide to giving your garden a spring clean;
Removing any dead plants
Unfortunately, throughout the colder months, lots of bacteria and other nasties will burrow their way into your plants’ soil, and cutting the life of the ones you do want to keep prematurely.
While you may not be able to get those plants back to full health and blooming again, it is important that you remove any debris left behind by them – the last thing you want is for the remnants of a plant that is unlikely to revive stealing vital nutrients and water away from those that do stand a chance.
Prune trees and shrubs
Similarly, to removing dead plants, by pruning trees and shrubs you get rid of the chance for the diseased parts of the plant to inhibit the growth of newer branches in the spring.
Pruning also means that you sort of get to dictate the way that the plant grows. By cutting away unwanted branches, you encourage the tree or shrub to grow in a different direction (this is a particularly important step when it comes to younger trees, whose branches are suppler).
Tidy up those evergreens
Evergreens are so named for their ability to endure harsher weather conditions, and as such, come spring they’re still as green and lively looking as they were the year before. However, that’s not to say that you should neglect them.
As with most of the other plants in your garden, they will have suffered whether you can see the damage or not. Removing any tired foliage encourages new growth – and spring is actually a great time to fertilise evergreen plants, as this is when they do the most growing.
Weeding and composting
It’s no secret that weeds are the bane of any green-thumbed individual, whether experienced or beginner. It can be incredibly frustrating spending time cultivating a healthy flower bed, only to have it ravaged by unsightly weeds that are sucking up the goodness of the compost that you had laid down just a year ago.
Over the course of winter, weeds WILL have made themselves firmly at home and they will stop any new plants you’ve got from your local gardening centre from settling in. So it’s best that before you do carefully place your pretty new blooms, that any weeds are pulled out from the ground and the compost is fresh. And be careful not to mix in any part of the weeds you have removed with the fresh layer of compost, or you will be seeing them again within days.
Mulching and edging
After laying down some fresh compost and planting your new perennials, you might consider placing some mulch to better protect the soil, by keeping the soil cool and retaining any moisture that might otherwise be lost as the weather gets warmer. Plus, some organic mulches improve the quality of soil as they decompose!
If that wasn’t enough, mulch can look very appealing, especially once your border has been tidied up – a process known as edging. By taking these two small, and inexpensive steps, your garden quickly has a tidy and cared for look, which will be a pleasure to look at whilst you are relaxing in your garden.
Sometimes after a tidy up, your lawn can look a little bare. After you’ve gotten rid of any moss or weeds that have made themselves at home on your lawn, you may quickly notice a few horrors that those uninvited visitors were hiding – namely, huge sparse patches of grass.
The good news is that this is a relatively easy fix, by a process known as over-seeding. While traditionally this is an autumn job, most gardening experts agree that this can be done in mid-spring, so you haven’t missed the boat just yet!
To do this, the grass needs to be raked thoroughly to give the new seeds a chance to germinate where they are safe and undisturbed underground (netting may be required to cover the grass for a while if you typically get a lot of feathery visitors who might steal the seeds). Sow seeds according to instructions on the packaging (it can differ based on brand and grass type), and then gently water for a couple of days afterwards. You should start seeing new sprouts of fresh grass after just over a week!