Although the cold, wet weather can make an afternoon in the garden less than appealing, now is the perfect time to give your garden a thorough spring clean and tidy.
These five simple steps will help prepare your garden for springtime and ensure that it is ready for you to enjoy in the warmer months ahead.
Step 1: Get pruning
If you sowed annuals last year such as marigolds, petunias and nasturtiums, you’ll find that these have now died off. Annuals stay in bloom for just one season, so they won’t return and it’s time to dig out them out.
If you didn’t already trim your perennials in the autumn, these will need your attention now. If you can see new growth around the base, it’s time to clean away winter mulch and prune them down to ground level. For those evergreen and semi-evergreen perennials that keep their leaves through the winter, now is a good time to tidy them up by trimming back any scraggy foliage.
Shrubby plants that have woody stems such as lavender need cutting back too, as soon as the danger of hard frost has past, as they will only bloom on new branches. You’ll know it’s the right time if you see opening buds or new growth around the base.
Many people leave their ornamental grasses to grow through winter. These can be cut back in spring without the need to hang on for signs of new growth. Snip them so they’re a few inches up from the ground.
If you have roses in the garden that have gone dormant through the winter, pruning in the spring will help encourage growth. Cut back to a dormant bud will encourage that bud to grow. If the winter has been mild and the rose didn’t go dormant, removing most of the leaves and giving the plant a good pruning will trick the rose into thinking it was dormant and it’s time for it to wake up again.
If you have trees or shrubs that bloom in the spring, avoid pruning them early in the season as you’ll lose some or all of the blossoms. This is because many of them set their flower buds the previous year in the summer or autumn. You therefore need to allow them to flower before pruning them later in the season. For the rest of your trees and shrubs, be sure to keep any good sized branches that you’ve pruned off as these are perfect for staking – especially those that are forked which allow you to support your plants without twine.
Step 2. Weed and fertilise
Although no one likes weeding, whatever the season, now is the perfect time of year to tackle those pesky weeds as the damp soil will make it easier for you to pull them out. Don’t be tempted to put the weeds you’ve pulled up in your compost as you’ll end up spreading them around your garden. You should also avoid putting any seed heads into the compost heap, or plant material that shows signs of disease.
Once you’ve pulled out the weeds, if your soil is rich you only need to dress the top with a little compost, slow release organic fertiliser or manure. If you choose a synthetic fertiliser, don’t apply this until your plants are showing signs of new growth. If your soil is poor, you’ll need to dig in more compost. As a general rule, add more into light coloured soil as this contains less organic matter – 4 – 6 inches is perfect. If the soil is darker, 1 – 3 inches of compost will suffice.
Your evergreens won’t need much care, besides a little neatening, but unless your soil is particularly rich and healthy, they will benefit from fertiliser during the spring as this is the time they are actively growing. If you do have rich soil, it’s still a good idea to feed them every other year.
Step 3: Divide, transplant and stake
Once you’ve weeded your garden and taken care of the soil, now is the perfect time for some reorganisation. If you divide or transplant early in the season when the weather is mild, you’ll find that your plants recover far more quickly.
Some of your plants are going to need staking, regardless of how much pruning you’ve done – most types of delphinium, for example. This is a tedious but necessary task that will bring you wonderful results later in the year if you invest the time now.
Step 4: Mulch and edge
Spring is a brilliant time to mulch as it helps trap the moisture in the soil, preventing your beds from drying out during the heat of the summer. Mulch also cools the plant roots and helps to smother your weeds. You can use a variety of materials to mulch: rotted farm manure, bark chippings, crushed shells or leaf mould are ideal. Make sure the beds are moist before applying the mulch – you can water them if necessary – and if you’re hoping that some of your plants have self-seeded, hang back to allow them to germinate before you add the mulch.
When you’ve finished mulching, give your flower beds the finishing touch by edging the lawn. This makes the garden look polished and helps stop the lawn from creeping into the beds.
Step 5: Choose your furniture
Now that your garden is in tip top shape, it’s time to choose some glorious new garden furniture to allow you to enjoy the fruits of your labour. If you love having friends or family around, why not pick out a fabulous new dining set complete with parasol to shade your guests from the bright summer sun, and consider investing in a new BBQ to make catering for a crowd a piece of cake.
If you can’t wait until summer to get into the garden, garden heating may be the answer: a cosy chimnea or toasty patio heater will keep you and your guests warm and snug, even when the temperature drops. Finally, there’s no better way to enjoy a warm evening than relaxing in a comfy lounger with a glass of wine.
Our Favourite Furnishings
Bottom left: Alexander Rose San Marino Red Pine Relax Hut
Bottom middle: Big K Dubai Terracotta Stone BBQ with Side Table
Bottom right: Black Helicopter Swing With Cushion
Take a look at our full range of stylish garden furniture.
Images sourced via Pinterest. Credit: buzzfeed.com, indulgy.com, belderbos.co.uk and attainable-sustainable.net.