Help & Advice24th February 2015

Top Tips To Get That Garden Ready To Be Enjoyed

With Spring around the corner, SLFirst provides seasonal advice to get started early in the garden

by Sarah Lawrence

Those who know me, know that I love my garden. I don't want to spend hours and hours doing it, I just don't have the time for that, but I do like to spend enough time to make sure it is a nice place to be. Seeing the first butterfly at my patio doors this morning, my mind turned to what I need to do in the garden with Spring fast approaching. Here are my Top 10 Tips for setting up for a lovely garden this Spring and Summer.

The important thing to remember is that wrapping up warm and getting out into the garden now, will make things a lot easier later and will give you a garden you want to spend time in.

Tip One – Cleaning Up

The rain and wind of Winter might have brought all sorts of debris and dead greenery into the garden. It all looks a bit drab and dreary when you look outside now, but getting things tidied up, will make your garden look as though it is ready for the first signs of new shoots.

A quick sweep of a patio or decking, along with a wash down if it needs it, will spruce things up quickly.

Tip Two – Composting

If you don’t use one already, it is worth thinking about. Making your own compost gives you a useful resource when you get to planting, but it is also a quick and easy way to recycle the dead leaves, branches and other organic matter. If you have a composter already, remember to turn the compost pile, as the bottom layer will be the best to use first.

Tip Three – Garden planning

It might be that you haven’t changed your garden much in many years, so it is always a good idea to have a look around now, to see whether you do want to change the shape of the lawn, flower beds or the type of location of the plants you have. Seasoned gardens can grow inwards making gardens seem a lot smaller, so it is always worth while at this time of year to think about what you want the garden to look like.

On non-frosty days, this time of year is great to make shape changes, as the ground is soft, taking a spade easily.

Tip Four – A Bowls Green Lawn

We all like a beautiful lush green, weed-free lawn. A good rake now will get rid of dead growth and make way for healthy new shoots. If you have a lawn full of weeds in the Summer, now is a good time to plan what you are going to do about it. Check the back of different weed killer products to see the best time for weeding, and follow the instructions perfectly.

If you have lumps and bumps the soft ground at this time of year makes it an ideal time to try and even out the surface. Likewise, if you have bald patches, the time for seeding is just around the corner, so preparation is now ideal.

Tip Five – Haircut

A lot of plants grow best when they are properly cut back or given a trim. It breaths new life into otherwise aging plants. For potted plants, they might have outgrown the one they are in now, and re-potting might give it the opportunity to grow bigger. You might also have pot plants that you can separate into two, potentially saving you money if you intended buying another one.

Tip Six – Placement

It really is important to know what conditions are best for what plants. Some enjoy full shade, some part shade and others direct sunshine. As gardens are constantly changing, especially if you have bigger plants or trees, it is an ideal time now to think about placement. For potted plants, and with the sun still low in the sky, placing them where the Winter sun will get to them will ensure early season growth.

Tip Seven – Grow Your Own

For those who like to think of themselves as being green, growing your own is a great way to take things to a new level. Marking out even a small area of the garden for home grown vegetables, can save you money as well as providing an area good on the eye and of interest and educational stimulation for children.

Now is a good time to do the preparation, digging a suitable area, preparing the soil, and buying in seeds. For some vegetables, now is the right time to start seeding, although they might need to be on indoor windowsills in direct sunlight, or in a greenhouse.

Tip Eight – Service Equipment

Many of us take our garden tools and equipment for granted. By servicing the tools and equipment properly, you prolong their life, saving money and making sure they work when you need them. Brushing of mud and grass, greasing and oiling parts that need it now, will ensure they are in great shape when you need them at the start of the season.

Tip Nine – Sprucing up Garden Furniture

If you have had garden furniture out all through the Winter, it will need a little attention to bring it back to last year’s glory. Plastic can be easily washed down with soap and water. Wooden furniture will often benefit from a light rub down and a new coat of sealing oil.

For larger wooden garden tables, a once over with a power washer can get rid of dead bugs, bird droppings and the thin layer of residue that often accumulates during Winter.

Tip Ten – Pests

These blighters can seriously affect the health and well-being of your plants. Whilst we don’t want to kill off all insects and wildlife in the garden, you will need to do something about the destructive insects. Check leaves and branches, take a good photo or description of anything you find and ask at your local garden centre for the best way to beat that particular garden pest. Action now, will save a lot of heart ache in the long run.

Fingers crossed for a lovely Spring and Summer, giving us plenty of time to enjoy our gardens and the fruits of our labour!

Article by Sarah Lawrence

posted in Community / Help & Advice

24th February 2015