Getting your garden ready for spring
At the tail-end of winter, after the snow and endless rain that we have suffered this season, most gardens will be looking a little desolate. But spring is just around the corner – March 21st is the first official day – and before you know it those bare flower beds and wilting lawn will be reviving and starting to look lush and green again.
Early spring is the time for planning and preparation. Even if the weather outside is stormy, you can still enjoy being a couch potato and get ahead with your garden planning! Keep a notebook or diary that you devote to gardening matters. Start jotting down any changes that you want to make in the garden, different planting or bed designs, and plans for starting a vegetable or wild garden. Spend a few blissful evenings with seed catalogues from the major nurseries to gain ideas, and if you are planning a garden make-over, watch some BBC and Channel 4 gardening programmes for practical guidance on design and planting. Before you start serious work in the garden this season, there will be some spring-cleaning to be done.
Garden sheds can be in need of tidying, and it’s important to safely dispose of any out-of-date fertilisers or sprays. Next, check your tools and equipment. Book your lawn mower in for a service, and check that trimmers and power tools are working after being laid up for the winter. It’s both frustrating and dangerous if you find that leads are worn or a vital piece of kit is malfunctioning. Replace any worn-out hand tools, and explore your local garden centre to see what’s new on the market that might help to make garden chores easier. You will also find expert advice at your local garden centre or nursery, so for that challenging area that gets a limited amount of light, or is North facing, you can ask for planting ideas.
Finally, it’s time to get outside! Most lawns will be looking a little sad after the winter months, so one of your first tasks will be to rake through and spike your lawn before adding any fertiliser. Assess whether you might need to re-sow or over seed any worn areas, prepare them early, and make sure that they are protected from birds and the hazards of pets and family!
Pruning is a job for early spring, and most roses and climbers will need a trim in February or March. It’s also your opportunity to replace any worn trellises or to put up wire supports for climbing plants that might otherwise overwhelm you with enthusiastic growth before you’ve had a chance to secure new shoots. Again, get expert advice if you are a novice gardener and are not sure about when and how much to cut back roses, shrubs and climbers like clematis.
Weeding needs to start early so that you can keep on top of it. It can be a back-breaking chore, so the tip is “little and often”, to ensure that you don’t find yourself faced with flowerbeds that are already overgrown with weeds. Be careful about treading on and impacting soil that will still be wet and cold after the winter months, but as soon as the weather is warmer, start clearing any debris off your beds, and lightly fork in compost and manure.
All the preparation done, your garden will be ready for planting those new perennials that you have ordered, and for sowing the seeds that will bloom throughout the summer.
Allianz Your Cover offers a Gardens Contents add on which you can add to your current Your Cover home insurance policy at any time. More information about this add on can be found on the website: www.yourcoverinsurance.co.uk.