Just when we thought it would never stop raining, the sun came out, the birds started singing and it was really quite warm.
Making it a lovely time to get out into the garden and spruce things up, ready for spending more time out there when it really gets warm.
You’re probably thinking “where do I start?”
Firstly, have some gardening kit at the ready:
- 2 trugs, one for material that can be composted and one for weeds
- a broom
- a rake
- a lawn rake
- a hand trowel and fork
- and some secateurs
- a wheelbarrow is useful to cart everything around if you’re garden is big
Tidy up the borders, cutting off leaves of hellebores that have black splodges on them. Pull up weeds, they come up easily when the soil is damp but use a trowel to make sure you get al the roots out (these all go in the weeds trug). Clear out old plant debris from the soil that’s gathered over the winter and trim off any brown/dead leaves.
Taking care not to whip the heads of newly emerging plants, rake up this debris onto the lawn and it can all be scooped up by the lawn mower. In fact a few chopped-up leaves in the mix helps the compost to rot down.
Apply some fertiliser to the soil to feed up the plants as they grow. I use one that has seaweed extract, check the packet for instructions about how much to use.
Use home-made compost or bought-in stuff as a mulch, and spread a good, thick layer (min 3in/8cm)over the bare soil.
Then cut the grass, raising the blades of the lawn mower so the grass isn’t too short, 4cm/an inch and a half is about right. Trim the edges of the lawn and suddenly the garden looks much better.
Sweep the paths, then stand back and admire.
Shrubs that need pruning now are:
Coloured Cornus/Dogwood: cut the stems down to about 6-10im/15-15cm above the ground. The new stems will be brightly coloured and look amazing.
Wisteria: the first trim of the year is due now, cut the long side stems growing out from the main branches, so that just two fat buds are left. It’ll need another trim in August.
Then you’ll get lovely flowers like this.
Ornamental grass Calamagrostis Karl Foerster needs to be cut down to the ground, you’ll probably be able to see the new green shoots just emerging from the base. Leave a couple of handfuls of the cut stems somewhere out of sight for birds to use as nesting material.
Just make a start, even if you only have half an hour, breaking the jobs up into smaller maneagable chunks of time is the perfect approach.
You can read more about mulch and why it’s so good for your garden in an earlier post.
all images: Jill Anderson