Getting the Lazy Susan showroom garden ready for spring is something that, like everybody else, we try to fit in around work. We may be in the depths of winter but for gardens, but the worst is surely over, and to be honest compared to the previous couple of winters its been pretty mild and snow free. It’s still cold, we are forecast Arctic conditions from Russia, and the nights are still depressingly long, but with January now out the way, 2012 in full spring, it won’t be long until we see the first signs of our spring gardens.
With the weather getting milder, spring is in full swing now, and one of the most important jobs that we always tackle at this time of year is that if you have any shrubs that need transplanting, February is the perfect time to do it. Try and pick a mild sunny day, or at the very least a day when the ground is not frozen, and before you lift the shrub, dig the new hole first. If you have a poor soil, then partially back-fill the hole with a good quality compost and sprinkle in a little bone meal just for good measure. The easiest way is to move the plant is by placing it on a tarpaulin or a large hessian sack, this way you can drag it into position without disturbing the roots. Once in in the new hole, prune around 25% of top growth from the transplanted shrub. This will reduce stress on shrub and give the damaged root system time to repair itself.
Trim back garden over growth:
The first thing to do in the garden will be to have a good clean up! Winter’s bound to have left some rubbish or weeds around so get those out of the way first. Once that’s done, turn your attention to your borders… Known in gardening circles as the Chelsea Chop because it’s best carried out immediately after the flower show. Sounds a little brutal and it needs to be! You’ll need good secateurs or a sharp pruning knife, select some of your most treasured plants and cut them off in their prime, almost to ground level as certain perennials can grow too tall and fall over. If you cut the stems back in late spring, the result is truly remarkable. You’ll see new fat shoots — more than before — appear before you know it and Lazy Susan can guarantee they’ll carry way more flowers than before. Many plants respond quickly, bouncing back with mind boggling speed, but be sure to choose your victims with care. Perennials that flower once only must not be culled, because if you prune them now, you’ll lose a full year’s bloom. Divide grasses and some herbaceous plants. Prune and tie back climbing roses and cut back willows and dogwoods. Plant bare-rooted trees now, as April is pretty much last chance motel. Also prune any fruit trees. Prune exsisting rose bushes & even look at adding in some new varieties. And finally, give the lawn a good trim and apply a good quality lawn weed & feed.
Repaint your house and any sheds, fencing etc:
Spring is the perfect time to paint the exterior of your home and re-stain any timber such as furniture, decking, fencing etc. The weather is not too hot and not too cold and a lick of paint is a fantastic way to dramatically modify the look and feel of your home. Sprucing up curb appeal also is a great way to increase the value of your property. In fact, some sestate agents claim that exterior painting and upkeep can increase current market value of a home by as much as 200%. Even if you can’t commit to an entire exterior paint overhaul, smaller projects like touching up window frames, painting doors and refurnishing patios can make a dramatic impact to the exterior of your home. Waiting too long to repaint your house can cause peeling, fading and chipping; and, in the long run, it may cost you more money to bring it back to life.
A go back and forth to explore your local garden centre:
The best time to visit garden centres is just after plant deliveries and in spring to early summer in particular, this is when you’ll find the highest turnover of new ‘fresh’ plants. Plants will deteriorate when left sitting around on garden centre shelves, so be cautious. In spring, garden centres always have a great selection of container-grown plants. The house plant section on the other hand is usually at its best in autumn/winter. Before buying any plants, check it is suitable for the spot you want to place it in your garden too. Places where the soil is waterlogged in winter, where there is too much shade in the spring/summer, or it is cold and exposed to the elements for example are a challenge for plants, so you will need to pick ones that can cope or they will simply not survive. Plants should also have a label with the full botanical name so you can check these details easily. Make sure you do your research before you buy. There is often some limited information on the labels, height and spread, and whether it prefers sun or shade, but hardiness and soil conditions are rarely given, so make sure you track down all this information online before you buy.
Putting compost in the garden and cleaning up raised beds ready for spring:
March/April is the perfect time in the UK to give your garden the attention it needs to bring you months of enjoyment in the long lazy days that await us. A little bit of garden CPR now, will bring you months of colour to brighten the view from your kitchen window, and might even inspire you to spend more time outdoors enjoying the delights that can be found in entertaining outdoors.
Plant your bulbs now, if you have not already:
Lazy Susan’s favourite bulbs to plant in Spring are Gladiolus, Tulips and Delphiniums. Plant bulbs in clumps to give them a more natural look, and to hide any bulbs that fail to bloom. Survey the area you want to plant the bulbs in, decide where you want them, then dig a large area and simply chuck your bulbs in the hole pointed side up. We then give them a good drink before covering them with soil and then again once the soil soak the soil that covers them. Make sure you mark where your bulb are so you can ensure the area stays moist and avoid disturbing it with anything else you want to plant. If you intend to plant new roses, then plant them now. To be honest, they should have been planted in February, so this really is the last month to do so, so cross your fingers and hope for the best if you are planting in March/April.
Rejuvenate your Lawn:
Your grass is at its most fragile right now and needs plenty of TLC to nurse it back to life after the winter. Give your lawn a good feed and re-seed, then keep it moist to encourage germination. To ensure that all of your hard work pays off, try not to walk on it too much, work from a wooden plank or kneeling board to prevent damaging it any further.
Tidy up your garden equipment:
Get your garden tools in shape for the busy spring summer season by sharpening or replacing your lawnmower blades, replacing any damaged tools, ensuring you have gardening supplies stocked in your shed (plant food, lawn feed, weed killer etc). Look over your garden steps, decking, paths, fences to check for winter damage and repair replace as needed. Tidy up your garden furniture by giving everything a good wipe down and polish, then repair or replace any broken equipment. Also, if you have children, now is a good time to review your garden toys and get rid of anything that’s broken and can’t be fixed, they have outgrown or that’s been faded by the elements and you’re just tired of looking at.
Designing your garden:
Spring is also the best time of year to put your garden design ideas on paper, cost them out and get moving so it can be enjoyed come summer.
So what are you waiting for…