Gardening – Preparation and Planning

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Gardening in Springtime

The warmer weather is slowly starting to return but of course all us gardeners know not to cast a clout until May is out. Or plant our sweet pea seedlings outside until we are certain the last frost has passed…

Gardening in Springtime calls for preparation and planning. The bulbs are starting to show and now is the perfect time to think about your bulb order for next year. I know it seems a little previous, but it’s the perfect time to get out and photograph your lawns and borders and document what comes up, where and when. This photographic record can be referred to when the time comes to order your bulbs for next Spring and will allow you to identify any gaps that need filling and also to make sure what you’re ordering matches with existing colour schemes. It may also prove useful if you undertake new planting as you’ll know what you might be disturbing.

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Photo taken by Katharine Hodgkin for Simply Garden

Now is also the time to start thinking about cutting back any perennials and grasses that were left standing over the winter. The benefit to leaving the dead stems and flowerheads on your plants over winter cannot be underestimated. My garden was full of birds picking seedheads clean when food was scarce during December and January. As you cut back and clear any debris you’ll find all manner of insects such as ladybirds, earwigs and spiders who’ve made it their homes during the colder months and have been glad of the shelter it provides. Leaving some organic matter on the soil to rot back in will replenish the nutrients the plants used up during the previous growing season. Also in keeping the beds covered with leaves etc. it’ll mean the soil has been protected during the months when it’s not protected by the foliage of actively growing plants.

Protecting the soil from rainfall will help to prevent nutrients washing away and also help to protect the structure of the soil which can be damaged by heavy rain. So if you didn’t leave your cutting back until Spring this time around, it might be worth considering  doing so from now on.

If you’re intending to grow some things from seed and haven’t yet purchased them, now’s the time to get cracking. Two handy things to consider when growing from seed; don’t be tempted to start your seeds off too early or you’ll end up with plants that get tall and leggy and desperate to be planted out before it’s warm enough and remember, don’t sow too many! It’s very easy to get carried away planning where you’ll put all the fabulous plants you grow but don’t forget a tray of seedlings once potted on into larger pots take up a lot of pots, a lot of compost and a lot of room and if you’re as queasy about seedling euthanasia as I am, you’ll end up with potted baby plants taking over everywhere!

So happy gardening this month and although Spring may not have arrived just yet, I’m really looking forward to the odd day where I can remove at least one of my seven layers of outdoor clothing…

Written by Sarah Wilson.
In-house Designer & Garden
Maintenance Manager at Simply Garden

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