After what’s felt like a very long, hard winter, it might be finally time to come up for air! The days are getting longer, the weather is a little milder and the garden is looking a bit forlorn as we start to come into spring. Although it’s still too early to do any serious planting, if you’re anything like us then there’ll be plenty to do in terms of tidying up, so get those wellies, gloves and big coat on and head outside.
Not much grows over the winter, but weeds are an exception! Those tenacious little blighters will be thinking about putting on a growth spurt, so it’s much easier to deal with them now before they get too established. If you can, dig them up from the roots.
Once you’ve dealt with the weeds, you can see what state the rest of the beds are in. Give them a tidy up if necessary, such as edging the lawn, removing any sticks or stones and raking earth smooth, ready for planting later in the year. If you’re planning to construct some raised beds, then now’s the time for that as well. You could also clean stone terraces and patios.
If your shed has been locked up since the end of last summer, then it’s time to venture in – cautiously! If the day is dry and you’ve got time, then pull everything out and check it over. Check gardening tools for rust, and put anything that needs sharpening on one side – local hardware shops will often do this. Give garden furniture a brush down and a coat of oil if necessary. If your shed has become a plant pot graveyard, then have a bit of a cull. Discard anything broken, flimsy or too small, and wash anything you’re keeping with warm water and washing up liquid, ready for potting out.
Hardier plants will be happy to be pruned at this time of year – don’t risk it with anything delicate, as the risk of frosts is still there. Wisteria, ornamental grasses, fuschias and jasmine will all be the better for a tidy up. Established roses that missed out on being pruned in November can be done now.
While you’ve got the shears out, you may need to give deciduous hedges a quick haircut so they’ll look neat for spring. This needs to be done before March, as once the birds start nesting you might not be able to do any major cutting back until September. This is also time to cut back any ivy or Virginia creeper, for the same reasons.
Order any plants or bulbs that need to be planted in early spring. Whichever supplier you go to will be able to advise on this, and there should still be plenty of choice left at this time of year. Bare root roses can go in now, as well, as long as the ground isn’t too waterlogged.
Help wildlife. It won’t be that long until birds think about nesting, and they’re still grateful for extra food while the weather is cold. Put up a nesting box in a secluded place, high enough off the ground to make it safe from predators, and keep bird feeders topped up with suet pellets.
Not long now until spring!