Wednesday, 30 March 2016

Spring garden plans

Springtime is here, the blackbirds are hurtling across the garden building a nest somewhere close by, the seeds in my mini greenhouse are germinating warmed by the March sunshine and slowly buds are unfurling on some of the trees. A close look at the ground sees perennial flowers pushing their way through and after a flurry of daffodils, many are now done with flowering, ready for the next batch of spring bulbs to come through - April is gearing up for my favourite tulips. 
Seeds germinating

Over the weekend in between all the torrential rain we made a start on clearing a couple of car loads of garden rubbish to the tip in order to have a new canvas for the spring season. I have a mountain of seeds to start sowing into plastic pots, toilet rolls and will have every inch of the kitchen lined up with seeds bursting forth from their cases especially ones that are more tender and susceptible to the slugs and snails that find their way into the mini greenhouse. I've ordered plug plants too, a bumper package of cottage garden flowers - this year the garden will be brimming, a floral extravaganza.
Coloured primroses

But what to focus on for April? 

Any hard landscaping such as putting in paths or patios are ideal jobs for early spring, done before the main growing season so you can enjoy the garden for the rest of the year. On a rainy day get your ideas together and have a look at experts such as Eden Landscapes for project case studies and inspiration. This year I want to have a proper path laid from the patio to the yellow playhouse at the bottom of the garden so I can eliminate the muddy situation at the moment. I am going for an informal cottage garden feel so it will be a sinuous path that meanders along, stepping stones and golden aggregates for a warm look. 
pathway through spring flowers
Image source: garden pathway, Shutterstock

Prune any shrubs that are getting too large. I remove any dead wood and cut back any previous seasons growth by about 1 inch to invigorate and promote new shoots. This is a great time to prune any roses too, of which I have a few and adore. I remove any diseased looking stems and also any which have rambled too much into the way of the main garden for I have my son and the dogs to consider with the sharp thorns. I prune to just above a bud node and also secure to trellis to keep well under control.

Also in need of taming come spring are any thuggish perennials that have a habit of growing so quickly that they take over. Divide and move to different areas of the garden or pass onto friends and family - such an economical way of creating new plants. Patches of finished snowdrops can be lifted up gently with a garden fork and divided, create naturalised looking planting by replanting at other parts of the garden. 
patio pots

Even though it is just spring, think ahead to summer. Along with planting seeds, think about summer bulbs such as lilies and gladioli. Inexpensive to buy, pop them into pots on the patio and come those warm summer days you will have a wonderful display. I grew gladioli on the allotment last year so I had them for cut flowers in the home. Stagger you planting of bulbs and corms so you have a constant display over the season. This year I am going to try growing dahlias but these tubers will need planting out as the weather gets warmer. 
growing salad
Image source: Growing salad, Shutterstock

One of my favourites to start doing in April is sowing my lettuce seeds, it makes me so happy to start my vegetable garden off again. Some grow at home as well as the allotment, I can pop outside the kitchen door and snip some for lunch or tea come summer. Salad crops are such a joy to grow with kids too so I'll have my son regularly watering radishes that he's sown and then see his smile when they are ready to harvest. We like to try lots of different salad leaves and they look so attractive growing together with all their colours  and textures. 

What plans do you have for the garden this spring? 

*Collaborative post


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