Spring is just around the corner, we’re still seeing a little light frost in the morning but the sun is starting to shine and it won’t be long till winter is a distant memory…
That also means your local garden centre is going to start getting busy and every green fingered person in the UK will have dirt on their knees. To ensure that this excitement yields positive results this year, at Lazy Susan we wanted to share a some of the basics of planting flowers at this time of year.
Spring is the ideal time for planting a variety of shrubs, trees, annuals, perennials and seeds but, before you start tilling the earth, it is important to consider the specific needs of your garden.
The correct time to start planting spring flowers can be a little confusing and really does depend on the type of plant and the climate. In the UK, you should be thinking along the following lines in terms of each season:
- In Autumn
Early-blooming spring bulbs need to be planted in the Autumn before the ground freezes. You can also scatter wildflower seeds on freshly tilled soil in the early Autumn, but make sure you cover them with a generous layer of leaves or compost to give them a little added protection
- In Winter
Many flower seeds can be given a great head start in mid-winter simply by placing then on a sunny window or under a grow light. Once they’re strong enough, you can transplant them into your garden containers or flower beds, just make sure the danger of frost has passed.
- In Spring
Seeds can be planted directly in the ground in the early spring if the danger of frost is over or if in a protected location. Bedding plants, seedlings and summer-blooming bulbs can be planted in the garden once the danger of frost is past, usually about mid-spring time.
Planting new plants and then getting them to grow successfully is not difficult, nor is it as complicated as many people seem to think. To be honest, the way I look at it is that its nothing more than digging a hole and setting the plant in.
OK, there’s a little more to it than that and I have just skipped over soil preparation, but we covered that last month in our ‘How to get your flowerbed ready for spring’ blog post, so I won’t rake over old ground (sorry, terrible gardening pun!).
Fertilizing and feeding spring plants
Fertilizing your spring plants and flowers is the best way to ensure that you get beautiful, bright flowers. Feeding your spring plants will also help to improve the look and feel of your entire garden. Start by using a soil PH test kit and establish what nutrients are missing from the soil in your garden.
You can then supplement soil nutrients by selecting the right combination of nourishing ingredients. Commercial fertilizers come with three different numbers on the label and each number represents the percentage of one of the three key nutrients present in the mixture.
If the label says 14-14-16, then you know the fertilizer contains 14 percent nitrogen, 14 percent phosphates and 16 percent potassium and so on. If in doubt, ask in your local garden centre.
Once you’ve identified what (if anything) your soil needs, start by digging your the hole for your plants or bulbs as per above. You then need to add a small amount of plant food or nourishing fertilizer into the hole, and add about 1/2 an inch of potting soil.
Plant the bulb/plant and completely cover it with potting soil. A small amount of fertilizer in the soil will help to nourish the plant roots as they grow. Be sure to cover the fertilizer with soil so the bulb doesn’t come in contact with it.
You really need to be feeding and fertilizing your perennial flowers when the first blooms start to appear in the early spring time. Be sure to read the directions carefully to achieve the proper concentration levels and never pour fertilizer directly over the top of blooms.