Spring has sprung!

Fothergilla major coming into flower
Fothergilla major coming into flower

Spring finally seems to be here and gardens are coming to life with new growth, birds nesting and bees busily collecting nectar.

Herbaceous perennials are beginning to send up new shoots.  They are particularly prized by slugs and snails so make sure you have protection in place.  It is amazing how much damage they can cause in a very short period of time.  This is also a good time to get plant supports in place before the plants become too tall.  For plants that have outgrown their space, or have lost their centre, now is a great time to lift and divide them.  This helps to reinvigorate the plant and also provides new plants to use elsewhere around the garden.

As climbing plants begin growing tie-in regularly.  It is easier to do when the growth is young and springy and protects them from being broken if windy.

Grass cutting time begins in earnest although a little later this year as it has been so wet.  For the first couple of cuts don’t be tempted to remove too much at once.  Little and often is the key to a thick healthy lawn.  Using a “feed and weed” treatment will help give the grass a boost as it recovers from the winter.  Most garden centres will sell a selection.  Make sure you follow the instructions so you don’t end up with burnt patches.  If your lawn has a lot of moss or dead grass in it raking it out with a spring tine rake (know as scarifying) will help. Or you can buy powered scarifiers if you have a large lawn.  Do after using a lawn treatment to remove weeds and moss killed by the treatment.

Garden centres and nurseries are full of tempting bedding plants but resist if you have nowhere to keep them under cover.  They will not survive any frost so wait until the nights have warmed up.

Hedge cutting will now have to wait as most birds are now nesting.  I have a blackbird nest at the end of my garden and can see Mr Blackbird flying in and out with food whilst sitting at my desk so I think they must have eggs in the nest.

Winter flowering heathers can be trimmed over with a pair of shears now they have finished.  Take off to just below the dead flowers.  It will help to keep your plants bushy.

As daffodils finish don’t tie up the leaves.  The plants need them to put energy into the bulbs to create next year’s flowers.  They need to be left for about 6 weeks until they begin to die down naturally.  Just dead-head as the flowers finish.

Any pots will begin to need regular watering now and also feeding.  For permanent pots this is a good time to re-pot if possible.  If the plant is too big then top dress – this is removing the top couple of inches of soil and replacing with new.

Weeds!  They will be coming back with a vengeance so keep on top of them before they take over.

Lastly, dust of the patio chairs and hope for some warm sunny days to sit out and enjoy your garden.