Spring is coming and it’s time to get our gardens ready for anything it throws at us. We welcome daffodils, flowering hawthorn, forsythia, magnolias and camellias to name just a few of the plants in what I believe to be the true start of our gardening season.
Jobs to do
Plant bare root roses. Roses should be fed with a special rose feed or a balanced fertiliser as they come into growth. Prune roses to encourage strong new growth. Remember to wear gardening gloves to protect from thorns.
Feed trees, shrubs and hedges with a slow-release fertiliser by lightly forking it into the soil surface. • Plant summer flowering bulbs such as Gladiolus, Lillies and Ranunculus into beds, borders and containers. Plant out any forced flower bulbs in the garden, such as hyacinths and daffodils which have finished flowering indoors. Hardwood cuttings taken last year may need planting or potting on now.
Strip perennials of dead leaves, old stalks and seed heads. Fork out weed seedlings before they get established and loosen winter-compacted soil between plants, then mulch.
Divide late summer and autumn-flowering perennials, herbs such as chives and mint, and marginal plants around your pond, including arum lilies.
Layer magnolias, rhododendrons and viburnums.
Cut out the top rosette of leaves from Mahonias after they have flowered to encourage branching. Finish cutting back any dead foliage left on your perennials and ornamental grasses to make way for new growth.
Continue to deadhead faded flowers from your winter pansies to stop them setting seed. This will encourage flushes of new flowers throughout the spring. Deadhead daffodils as the flowers finish and let the foliage die back naturally. Deadhead Hydrangeas before new growth appears. Cut to about one-third of last season’s growth.
Keep an eye out for Slugs as the weather warms; they favour soft new growth. Use nematodes for an effective organic control.
Plant apple trees, cherry trees and other fruit trees now in a sunny, sheltered spot. Continue to plant raspberry canes.
If your lawn needs mowing choose a dry day to complete this. Ensure the blades are set higher than usual. new turf can be laid if the ground is not frozen or waterlogged.
Re-surface paths before plants grow and smother them. Get rid of slimy patches on the patio and paving by scrubbing with a broom or blasting with a pressure washer. • If you don’t already know what type of soil you have, invest in a soil testing kit to help you choose the right plants for your garden. Top up raised beds with compost and good quality topsoil. Begin weeding as the weather warms – weeds are more easily controlled if removed young.
The hard work of this month will pay off over the coming months and the full enjoyment of your effort will be worth it.