Tips for getting you and your garden ready for Spring

The days are definitely becoming longer and there are little signs of Spring here in Surrey.   if you’re thinking about your garden here are some tips on getting you and your garden ready for Spring:

Declutter … Now is a great time to have a declutter or Spring clean.  Have piles for the dump, charity shop and compost bin.  Anything broken should go, terracotta pots, hanging baskets, children’s toys, gazebos, chairs etc etc .. now is the time to get ahead of everyone else and get sorting!

Recycle … Recycle plastic pots – we’re great hoarders of pots!  Do you need them all though?  Lots of garden centres now take back plastic pots, trays and even compost bags.  Squires especially are good at this. Or try your neighbours, often somebody wants pots for their allotment or school garden.

Planning … If you’ve got a hunch that things could be working better in your garden, now is a good time to plan.  Th garden is at its emptiest.  Without the clutter of flowers and foliage we can see it’s bare bones.  If you can have a look at it from an upstairs window .. it’s a good vantage point to see the layout. Take photos if needed (and its always good to have a before and after!).  You might spot straight away what the problems are:

  • paths might be too narrow or indirect
  • beds might be complicated and need simplyfing
  • a tree might need a good prune
  • the trampoline could be moved to a better position.  If it’s not obvious I can help see the wood for the trees! Get in touch.

Sharpen … Clean and sharpen your tools.  Get ready to step into action and make life easier for yourself!  Blunt secateurs can be sharpened making it easier on your wrists and elbows and better pruning for your plants.

Snowdrops … Every Garden should have Snowdrops .. they are one of the first flowers to bloom in the year and I don’t know anyone who doesn’t like them.  They can be tricky to grow from bulbs so when they have flowered split them to make new clumps.  You can buy them ‘in the green’ at this time or its even better to ask a friend if you can have some of them .. I’m sure they’ll be happy to split some for you!

Pruning … If you haven’t done already prune back the old flowering stems and tatty foliage of last year’s perennials and grasses with your nice, sharp secateurs!  Some you can do with secateurs, but grasses you can do with shears.  These can also be split to make new plants, but I would wait until Spring and the fear of a frost has passed to do this job.

Seed Sowing … Get prepared for seed sowing.  Lots of annuals and veggies can be started off indoors or undercover in  February/March time.  You’ll need pots or trays, compost, seeds, labels and a sunny position.  You might also need clear plastic to cover the pots to get the seeds started.  More tips here.

Sitting … Make sure you have a couple of garden chairs or benches clean and ready to be used.  You might not want to sit out there all afternoon yet but be prepared to spontaneously take advantage of any dry, sunny moment for a cuppa in the garden.

What are you going to do first?  Let me know in the comments …


Getting Kerb Appeal: 6 Tips for Preparing Your Garden for a House Sale

When it comes to selling your home, first impressions matter.  Potential buyers often form opinions within seconds of seeing your property, and the exterior, including the garden, plays an important role in this process. A well-maintained and thoughtfully designed garden can enhance your home’s kerb appeal and influence a buyer’s decision. Here are some tips to help you prepare your garden for a successful house sale:

1. Clean and Declutter: Begin by tidying up your outside space. Remove any debris, dead plants, or clutter that might be detracting from its appeal. Clean the front door and door furniture and make sure the doorbell works.  Trim overgrown bushes and trees and clear out any weeds. A neat and well-maintained garden immediately signals to potential buyers that the property has been cared for and is worth their attention.

2. Focus on the Front Garden: The front garden is the first thing potential buyers see, so it’s essential to make it inviting and attractive. Make sure the lawn is mown and think about adding planted pots with colourful flowers as a welcoming focus on the front doorstep.

3. Address Structural Issues: Before putting your house on the market, address any structural issues or safety concerns in the garden. Repair broken fences, pathways, or retaining walls, and ensure that all structures are stable and secure. Buyers will appreciate knowing that they won’t have to deal with costly repairs after purchasing the property.

4. Define Outdoor Spaces: Like you would indoors, make it easy for potential buyers to see how the spaces can be used. Set up any seating areas and style them if possible for photos and/or viewings so buyers can see how they might relax and entertain in your garden. Pots with seasonal bedding are a great way to add colour and scent in strategic positions, especially around seating areas.

5. Seek Professional Help if Needed: If you’re unsure about how to best prepare your garden for sale, don’t hesitate to get in touch. An hour with me in your garden could help to prioritise actions and pinpoint key tasks. An objective eye can be very helpful in clarifying what needs to be done to make sure your garden helps to sell your house.  Remember, a well-maintained garden not only adds value to your home but also creates a welcoming atmosphere that resonates with buyers seeking their dream property.

How to get garden therapy for you and your garden

A Client called it ‘Garden Therapy’ but I call it a Garden Hoedown because ‘Garden Consultation’ sounds so boring!

If you don’t know where to start, or can’t see the wood for the trees an expert* objective pair of eyes can often help to make decisions, see the good and bad and suggest changes and ideas.

* “expert” here means someone who has sat in gardens her whole life, grown veggies (not always successfully), is embracing ‘easy gardening’ and who has a creative flair for designing practical spaces

It may be that you can relate to one of these scenarios:

  • perhaps you’ve recently moved in, are overwhelmed by the garden you’ve inherited, don’t know what plant is what and you and your partner are arguing over whether the palm tree in the middle of the lawn stays or goes

  • you’re about to put your house on the market and you want it to make a good impression

  • you’ve built a gorgeous extension and put bi-fold doors on the back of the house, but now you can see the garden 24/7 all year round and it doesn’t quite look like you had hoped it would

  • you feel that the garden is about to move into a new phase of life with you … the kids haven’t quite outgrown the trampoline but you have a niggly feeling it could be working better for all the family

  • you work hard and want to relax outside at the weekend rather than work through a list of garden chores

  • you don’t want a full on garden design but you feel like there might be some ways to make little changes that have a big impact

These are examples of the challenges my clients face.  This last few years have changed everything.  I’ve seen a lot of re-thinking and re-prioritising as the unsettling climate has an impact on our families, our homes and our gardens.

My clients are looking for ways they can get the most out of their gardens and are looking for ideas to make it easy to look after, easy to use whilst looking good all year round. If that’s you I can help you in 2 ways:

Face to Face Hoedown

  • In your garden WITH a cuppa for up to an hour and a half!
  • Solving problems, teaching techniques and offering ideas and solutions
  • Summary report sent afterwards so you don’t have to take any notes – including any sketch ideas and links to inspiration, suppliers, contractors, or plants
  • My Favourite Plants – I’ll send you my list of good plants for gardens
  • COST: £200 within a 5-mile radius of Redhill (I’m more than happy to travel further afield but will need to factor in travel time and costs) Payment up front will secure our appointment.

Virtual Hoedown

  • Questionnaire completed and photos and video sent of the space before our meeting with guidance from me of best angles etc
  • Virtual meeting(up to an hour and a half) held at an agreed time from your home WITH a cuppa over Zoom
  • Solving problems, teaching techniques and offering ideas and solutions
  • Summary report sent afterwards so you don’t have to take any notes – including any sketch ideas and links to inspiration, suppliers, contractors, or plants
  • My Favourite Plants – I’ll send you my list of good plants for gardens
  • COST: £200

Email me to get the ball rolling!

Renée sat amongst Dahlais

Photo by Abigail Evans

Here’s what Claire had to say following our Hoedown:

“I spent a lovely hour in my back garden with Renée having a Hoedown.  She is so enthusiastic and knowledgeable.  I feel very inspired now and, most importantly, confident that I can change my garden to suit my family.  Renée listened to what I hoped to achieve and asked all the right questions.  I can’t wait to get started and thanks to Renée’s follow-up email with links and reminders of what we talked about it didn’t matter that I forgot most of the plant names we talked about! Thank you.”

What would you want us to spend our hour discussing?  Let me know in the comments below!   Renée

Book a Hoedown HERE!


5 gardening jobs for October

5 gardening jobs for October

Gardening jobs for October – your five things to do!

It’s well and truly autumn now. It’s turning chillier, the trees are changing colour and out in the garden it’s all about tidying up and preparing for the colder months ahead.

Here are your five gardening jobs to keep you busy in October.

1. Protect plants from frost.

Bring tender plants like Begonias and Pelagoniums inside or protect them with a fleece. A greenhouse or conservatory is an ideal place to put pot plants that need some extra protection from the cold. You can take this opportunity to repot them and refresh the compost if they need it.

2. Sweep up any fallen leaves.

Raking or sweeping the never-ending leaves that fall at this time of the year might feel like a pointless task, but there’s method in the madness! Fallen leaves on your grass, borders and drive harbour fungal spores and provide ideal hiding places for slugs and snails.

Plus if you pack them into bin liners you can use them to make leaf mould – a fantastic mulch and potting compost.

3. Go on a snail hunt.

Speaking of those pesky snails, you can fight the onslaught, and the damage they do to your plants, by going on regular snail hunts – especially on damp evenings. They mostly feed at night so arm yourself with a torch and collect them by hand in a bucket. Younger members of the family might enjoy helping with this task!

You can rehome them on a patch of waste ground, or drop them in a bucket  of hot salty water – yuck!

Alternatively, set traps of saucers of beer or milk in your borders and surround plants with copper tape, crushed stone or egg shells.

4. Feed and fix your lawn.

Your lawn will be thanking you for the raking and aerating you did last month. Giving it a feed now will help revive it even further after the wear and tear of summer. After a rainy spell sprinkle feed all over. While you’re at it re-seed any bare patches – just use a form to loosen up the soil first.

5. Sow hardy broad beans or peas.

Home grown Broad Beans and Peas are delicious, easy to grow and fun to pick. You can get a head start on an early crop by planting hardy varieties out now. They germinate within two to three weeks, lie dormant over winter, then grow quickly once spring arrives.

For an early display of pretty flowers you could also sow Sweetpeas in deep pots and keep them sheltered in the greenhouse.

That’s it until next month. Let me know how you get on, and if you have any questions email me

Or book a Garden Hoedown for an hour of one to one garden therapy and you’ll come away with a personalised action plan to get the most out of your garden!

5 gardening jobs for September

5 gardening jobs for September

After a rather wet August, I’ve got my fingers crossed for a warm, sunny September. However, I always find that as soon as schools go back, the weather suddenly starts to feel autumnal. 

So with that back-to-school vibe in mind, here are your five gardening jobs for September.

1. Plant those Spring flowering bulbs you ordered last month.

Now’s a great time to get your crocuses, hyacinths, daffodils and bluebells into the ground for a welcome pop of colour in early spring.

I’ve got a whole post on bulb planting, but a quick rule of thumb is to plant in groups of odd numbers for a natural look. Bury each bulb at a depth three times its size. Then sit back and look forward to those green shoots peeping through the ground next year.

2. Divide perennials.

Once they’ve finished flowering, any congested clumps of perennials can be divided to give them space to thrive.  Think agapanthus, hostas and ornamental grasses. 

The added bonus is you’ll end up with extra plants to brighten up another corner of your garden, or to share with your neighbours.

3. Give your flowering climbers a prune

After the exuberance of summer growth it’s only natural for your mind to turn to giving your garden a good tidy. Use that urge to gently trim back and tidy late flowering shrubs like jasmine, passionflower, and honeysuckle. You might trigger another show of flowers. 

It’s also not too late to catch up on any August pruning you haven’t got to yet.

4. Prep your lawn for a wet Winter. 

Yes, I’m afraid even wetter weather is on its way. To avoid a waterlogged lawn give it a good rake – or scarify – to get rid of any dead brown grass and moss. Focus on those well trodden areas that have started to compact and look worn. Then aerate the ground by going around spiking it with a garden fork. Hard work, but worth it.

5. Make the most of your garden whilst you still can!

That all sounds quite labour intensive! Don’t forget to make the most of those dwindling sunny days and the last of the longer evenings. Grab any final opportunities to drink your morning cuppa outside, enjoy an alfresco dinner, or to just sit in your favourite corner with a book. I’ll be doing the same! 

Let me know how you get on, and if you have any questions email me

Or book a Garden Hoedown for an hour of one to one garden therapy and you’ll come away with a personalised action plan to get the most out of your garden!


5 gardening jobs for August

5 gardening jobs for August

Summer’s here! Or is it? As I write this it’s looking very gloomy outside, but ever the optimist,  I’m hopeful sunshine is on its way. 

With that in mind, the jobs that need taking care of your garden in August are all about watering, pruning and staying on top of those weeds. Then if you have time when you’re back from your hols you could also start getting ready for cooler times ahead…

1. Water everything regularly.

If the sunshine does return bringing hot, dry conditions with it, remember to water everything daily. This is particularly important for your pots and hanging baskets. Top marks if you’ve got a water butt, it’ll be full to the brim with all the rain we’ve been having, and ready to fill your watering can if there’s a hose pipe ban.

2. Keep pruning and deadheading.

August is a good time to prune or trim plants like wisteria, lavender and rambling roses to keep them in shape or the size under control. Also deadheading flowers including your roses and your pots and hanging baskets to keep them flowering.

3. Did you do ‘no mow May’? 

I hope you enjoyed your summer ‘meadow’ and the bees buzzing in our garden. You can now strim or mow your meadow as flower seeds have scattered. Don’t worry if your lawn looks brown, the autumn rains are coming and it’ll soon look green again. Do remember to raise your mower blade as lawn growth will have slowed down

4. Stay on top of weeds. 

I said this last month but keep going! You don’t need to be fanatical about it, but giving your borders and veg patch a regular tidy means you’ll be able to enjoy the fruits of your labours for longer.

5. Prepare for autumn.

Whether you welcome the cooler weather or not, it’ll be upon us sooner than you think. Start preparing by planting autumn bulbs that’ll brighten up those duller days – think dahlias, autumn crocus and nerines. To really get ahead of yourself you could also order bulbs to plant in autumn for early flowers next spring. 

I think that’s enough to be getting on with – you’ve got to have time to relax in your garden this month too. 

Let me know how you get on, and if you have any questions email me

Or book a Garden Hoedown for an hour of one to one garden therapy and you’ll come away with a personalised action plan to get the most out of your garden!