From planting flowers, investing in new garden furniture and revamping your old furniture sets, there's plenty to get on with to prepare your garden for spring. Here are five ways to give the spring garden the helping hand that it needs.
Get Your Garden Spring Ready
With the first buds signalling the start of spring, these five ideas will help you wake your garden from its winter slumber. Brush off winter cobwebs by taking steps to get your garden ready for warmer months.
1) Clean Up
Even the most organised of gardeners will have run out of time to get their garden in ship-shape before the cold and grey of winter started to bite. And this means spending the first few weeks of spring tidying the garden.
As well as being a pleasing activity with obvious results, it is also a chance to assess your garden for any damage sustained over the winter. It is also an opportunity to remove old, damaged or dead shrubs too.
Spring is also the ideal time to give your trees a little tender, loving care too. However, before climbing a ladder and sawing off branches, consider if it is worth investing in the professional services of a tree surgeon. You may also find that if there are birds nests in your trees that you will need to leave until the autumn.
2) Give the Soil a Helping Hand
The cold and wet of winter is hard on soil. It drains it of the goodness and nutrients that plants need to grow and thrive. With the warmth of spring starting to warm the soil, you will notice the spring bulbs beginning to poke through and the small buds of shrubs also spring back into life.
When plants are in the infancy of growth, they are hungry for nutrients. This doesn’t mean spending money on shop-bought fertilisers, however…
- Your own compost. If you have a compost heap, the bottom layers should be rotted well enough for use as a top dressing for soil. It means choosing a dry day and rolling up your sleeves! Grab your garden fork and spade, dig away the top layers until you reach the good stuff at the bottom. Spread this across flower beds and dressing around the base of evergreens and other shrubs. Water it in if the spring has been dry or let nature do the work.
- Leaf Mulch. Last autumns leaf mulch should now be well-rotted and ripe for use on key areas of the garden. Like well-rotted compost, dig leaf mulch through vegetable and fruit beds in open ground and in polytunnel beds.
- Well-rotted organic matter. Stables are more than happy to make a few pence from selling a bag or two of horse manure. Make sure it is well rotted (leave it a few weeks if you are unsure); if not, it can burn the stems of plants. Roses will welcome a covering of horse manure at their bases.
3) Get sowing!
Spring is the time that gardeners kick back into action with sowing and planting top of their list. Your clean pots are just begging to be filled with compost and seeds.
Protect from frost – consider a cold frame if you don’t have a polytunnel or greenhouse – and harden off as the spring unfurls into early summer.
Some plants will prefer being planted directly into the soil. Make sure that it has compost or manure dug through it and that the danger of snap frosts has truly passed.
4) Dust off the garden furniture
Softwood, hardwood and metal garden furniture are best kept under cover through the worst of the winter. If not, invest in a well-fitting protective cover. This ensures the furniture is protected from the worst of the winter weather.
However, now that the worst has passed the time has come to fling off the covers and clean off benches and dining sets ready for summer.
- Check for damage and repair, if you can
- Wash outdoor covers and throws, following individual washing instructions
- Brush off cobwebs and other debris
- Wash benches and furniture using warm water and a mild, non-abrasive detergent. Allow them to dry in the breeze rather than direct sun
- For hardwood items, such as teak, consider applying a good quality teak protector to not only protect but bring out the grain of the wood
5) Buy new garden furniture
Why not make this the year that you invest in long-lasting, durable garden furniture that really works for you?
Ditch the plastic, wobbly garden chairs, investing instead in hardwood garden furniture items. Couple benches, for example, are ideal for any garden. Enjoy a glass of wine or a cup of tea with your significant other as you admire the setting summer sun.