Spring has sprung and you can get growing in the garden. As soil temperatures rise and the risk of frost recedes in the cooler regions, we can safely start planting seeds, seedlings, flowers, trees and shrubs.
If you haven’t already, begin by preparing the beds you will be planting up. Spray or manually remove weeds and then top dress or dig in organic material.
Plan Your Planting
It is a good idea to make a plan of your planting. This can be a simple as a sheet of A4 with some doodles with shapes, heights and names of plants if you know them.
- Think about what height and spread plants will have. Think about the aesthetics of how your plants will look together.
- Think about having a variety of colours, shapes, textures and sizes. It is usual to have tall plants at the back of a bed along a fence and shorter plants towards the front. But think about mixing up the heights a bit; unless you want a very formal garden, create some undulation in the heights as this makes a bed more interesting.
- Check the plant’s requirements for sun (full sun, part sun, full shade etc.), soil type (light sandy, clay, loam, etc.), soil pH (acidic, neutral, etc.) and shelter or support (needs trellis, staked, robust, etc.).
- Beds in the middle of a garden suit taller plants in the centre and shorter around the outside but remember the tall plants may shade one side of the bed so plan and plant accordingly.
- Think about shelter and locate robust plants where they will shelter more delicate varieties.
- It is also wise to think about what plants look like at different times of the year. For example, you may want to plant some evergreens so that there is interest in the bed in winter months.
Get to Work
Now you’ve got your plan you can begin to work on bringing it to life. You might decide to make a trip to the nursery or garden centre with your list of plants and your plan so you can purchase the ready growing plants you need. Or you may decide to work from scratch and choose to grow from seeds. Growing from seed will be cost effective and you may have more attachment to plants you have grown from seed. Many seeds can be started in seed trays in your greenhouse or on windowsills before the frosts are over and the seedlings will be ready to transplant when the frosts are gone.
If the soil is still wet and hard to work, you may put your focus into hard landscaping as well as your seeds and seedlings. Get those paths fixed, deal with fences and trellis, clean up driveways, etc. Now is a great time to start your pots, planters and hanging baskets indoors or in sheltered places so that they are ready to put out when the weather is warm enough.
Many of the vegetables to go with your summer barbecues can be planted now so they will be ready to harvest when you need them.
Remember also that as the sap starts to rise in plants and the new foliage opens the plants need nutrients so it is a good time to apply the appropriate fertilisers.
Spring is the most exciting time in the garden; watching buds bursting and new life, colour and vigour returning to the once dormant landscape, we can look forward to months of growth.