As the weather is slowly but surely improving, you’re much more likely to be heading back outside into your garden and getting it ready and raring to go for the summer. But where do you start?
Our guide to spring gardening should give you an idea of where you should be focusing your efforts, but we also thought we’d talk to a few big hitters in the gardening world to get their advice. Many of us don’t have a huge amount of time to spend out in our gardens doing every little job on the list, so we asked them if there was one (or two) specific thing we should be doing in our garden this spring, what should it be?
Here’s what they said:
‘When buying bulbs, everyone seems to think of daffodils, tulips, crocus, but forget there’s some great summer flowering bulbs too. Think gladioli, lilies, freesias, as well as unusual ones such as Sparaxis and Tigridia. They are super colourful and extra easy to grow! Summer flowering bulbs are ideal for dropping into any gap in the border, so if you’ve bought shrubs which haven’t filled out quite yet, fill that space in the meantime with some bulbs!’
‘Spring is an extremely busy time in the garden with everything sprouting and a list of things to do as long as your arm. Our top tip to a well-run garden is to stay on top of the weeding. By doing it little and often, it won’t take so long and won’t feel like a chore. Plus, use this time to keep an eye on your plants for pests and disease, condemning the odd slug as you go. This frees up time for the fun things like seed sowing, propagating plants and buying new plants for all those holes you’ve just made from all that weeding.’
Visit the Royal Horticultural Society website here.
‘Planting in containers is a great way to get a quick and beautiful injection of colour and interest into your spring garden. Here’s a couple of container gardening ideas that you can crack on with right now:
Sow pots of herbs such as parsley, coriander and basil – remember to keep your pots close to the house so the fresh flavours are easily accessible from the kitchen.’
Check out our amazing Herb Growing Cheat Sheet for everything you need to know on growing your own herbs.
‘Plant lily bulbs in a pot –perfect for transforming a dull or empty gap in your borders, or patio. Choose a large pot, as lily bulbs need to be planted deeply, and use a peat-free multipurpose compost. Half fill your pot and lay the bulbs on the surface, with roots on the compost and growing tips upwards. Then cover with compost, to just 5cm below the rim. Pat your compost down firmly and water thoroughly, adding more compost if required. Finish with a layer of gravel or horticultural grit to help retain moisture. Keep it in a greenhouse or sheltered spot while the bulbs develop, tying tall varieties to canes as they grow and move into position when ready to flower.’
BBC Gardeners’ World Live runs from 11-14 June at The NEC Birmingham. Visit the website and get 15% off advance standard tickets by quoting FM15 when booking.
‘There’s still time to divide perennials – it’s well worth it as you get plants for free! You can plant them somewhere else in the garden, swap them with your friends or do a good turn and sell them at the school fair or church fete.’
Woolly Green is a great gardening blog and resource for all things garden. Visit their website: www.woollygreen.com
‘As the temperatures rise and days lengthen, your pond will suddenly start to spring to life. You can feed your fish sparingly if the water temperature is over 10°C. Remember to check the condition of the filter and ensure the pump is clean, as well as remove decaying vegetation and divide over grown plants.
‘You can use aquatic compost that is low in organic material. Add new plants such as water lilies by lowering their container to the required depth slowly as the leaves grow. Consider adding aquatic plant fertiliser to planting containers to get the plants off to a good start.’
Visit the Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh website.
‘Spring is a busy time of the year for gardeners to get prepared for the coming season. It’s a good idea to keep on top of newly emerging weeds, this eliminates competition and ensures your plants have enough space and light to thrive. Larger perennials will need staking by placing pea sticks or canes amongst the plants to support their flowering stems. Finally, grass will grow rapidly in the next few months, be sure to mow once a week but don’t cut too short.’
Joe Archer is the Kew on a Plate horticulturist at the world famous Kew Gardens.
Do you have any top spring gardening tips to get your garden looking great ready for summer? If so, let us know in the comments below.