Spring is a key season for gardeners and the more jobs that can be ticked off now, the more glorious the garden will look for the summer. Outside space is still a priority for buyers so time invested in the garden is sure to pay dividends if and when you come to sell.
Written by Lisa Proffitt | 6th May 2022
Garden Jobs for Spring
Here are some of the key garden jobs for spring:
- Lawns. Grass needs mowing from March, but start with just a light trim. This will encourage good root growth and strong grass that can resist summer drought. If your lawn is a bit mossy, rake the moss and thatch away with a wire rake so that light and water can get to the soil and to the roots of the grass.
- Check the soil. If your soil is ready, then from March you can plant and move things around. ‘Ready’ means that the soil is warm enough to nourish the plants so before you plunge anything into the ground, pick up a handful of earth. If it feels cold and clammy then seeds will not germinate and roots will not grow. If it feels warm and holds together when squeezed but can easily be crumbled, then it is ideal.
- Bulbs. Resist the urge to cut back or tie the leaves of any bulbs. Next year’s flower is being created by the photosynthesis of the foliage so leave them well alone until the last trace of green has gone. In June you can tidy them or cut back.
- Pruning. The first half of March is the best time to prune any shrubs and climbers, especially clematis, roses and buddleia. Pruning can be daunting but the plant will be fine as long as you follow the golden rule of always cutting back to something, in other words to a shoot or leaf bud. The reason for pruning is to encourage vigorous new growth that will in turn produce lots of flowers. In climbers like clematis, pruning also avoids the flowers appearing higher and higher up the plant with the lower stems left bare.
- Planting. Wait for late April/early May and the end of frosty mornings before planting out young seedlings. March is a good time to plant woody shrubs as it gives their roots a chance to become established before foliage appears and makes demands on the plant. These shrubs will form part of a mature garden for years to come so it is worth taking time with their planting. Clear away all weeds and dig a wide but shallow hole about nine inches deep. Water generously and then add a thick layer of good compost.
- Prepare your vegetable garden. Do not sow any seeds outside if the ground feels cold to touch. If warm and dry enough, sow broad beans, beetroot, rocket, spinach, parsnips, radish and winter lettuce. Chit potatoes and plant out at the end of the month if the ground is dry enough. Plant out onions and shallots and cover them with fleece for the first couple of weeks to stop birds pulling them from the ground. Sow seeds under cover such as cabbage, lettuce, celery, beetroot and tomatoes. Make raised beds by the end of the month.
- Wildlife in the garden. Birds are nesting from March and many will start laying eggs. You can help them by providing high energy food like fat balls, peanuts and sunflower seeds. Hedgehogs, dormice, grass snakes, toads, newts and butterflies will start to emerge from their hibernation around about now. These creatures all make a slow start and will be lethargic and weak so try not to disturb their hibernation spots by too much tidying away of leaves and foliage. Leave out shallow bowls of water for birds and wildlife to enjoy.
- Give your pond a health check. Ponds are essential in a wildlife garden and no one enjoys them more than the common frog. Frogs are a gardener’s friend as they eat slugs and caterpillars, and lots of frogs is a sign of a good eco-balance as they’re amongst the first creatures to suffer from pollution and chemicals. Frogs are drawn out of hibernation by the smell of algae in ponds so keep algae in check but don’t remove too much. Female frogs lay up to three thousand eggs which take three weeks to hatch into tadpoles, adding life and interest to your pond over the summer.
In the property market the escape to the country trend remains strong with many buyers looking for a home with lots of inside and outside space. If you’re looking to buy, sell or rent this year, our local Michael Graham experts would be delighted to talk to you about your options. Please call us now or book a valuation of your home today.