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.

Gardening Chat at Radio Woking

Gardening Chat at Radio Woking

I found myself in the radio studio with Jon and Matt from Radio Woking yesterday talking about what to do with your garden in April.  You can listen again here at Mixcloud.  I’m on from 11 – 12!

It was fascinating to see them at work as we’ve only ever done interviews on the phone before now.

Let me know how you get on this month or if you have any questions by emailing me






Gift ideas for the gardener in your life

If you have a keen gardener in your life here is some inspiration for their perfect Christmas present!

Disclaimer: In the name of full transparency, please be aware that this blog post contains Amazon affiliate links and any purchases made through such links will result in a small commission for me (at no extra cost for you)

Sharpening tool – if you look after your tools, your tools will look after you. Keeping your secateurs sharp is key to efficient pruning and to stop gardeners getting tennis elbow, from too much straining.  A handheld sharpening tool is a practical, small and handy gift that would be perfect as a stocking filler. I like this one by Speak & Jackson which is easy to hold and use:

From Plot to Plate Tea Towel – Sowing and Planting Guide on a tea towel!

Wilding by Isabella Tree this book is astounding. It tells the story of the Knepp Estate in West Sussex. Over the last decade they have let the farmland go – literally go – to see what it might return to. It is a fascinating read, and once you’ve finished it, you will want to go and visit it is not too far away from me in Surrey and it’s on the list to visit in 2024:

Hand cream – I love the gardener’s hand creams from O’Keefe’s or Crabtree & Evelyn. Completely different packaging on each, appealing to two varieties of gardener!  And if you have some really sore hands I can recommend the Tamanu Balm from Tropic Skincare.  I put it on before bed after wreathmaking and it does its magic overnight!

Wildlife camera trap – many a gardener and keen naturalist would love to see the nocturnal wildlife that lives in their garden.  A camera trap records night footage you can review the next day, to discover what goes on in the dark in your garden.

Veg cookbook: Hugh Fearnley Whittingstall – the perfect cookbook for a veg grower: delicious dishes which are deceptively simple:

Bird feeders and supplies – I’m always keen to encourage birds into the garden for me to watch, but also to help with pests. Practical or decorative, whatever you choose will be warmly received, I’m sure.

A really thick kneeling pad – I’m very much a kneeling gardener. Mainly for weeding, but also for planting, I find kneeling much easier on my back. A really thick kneeling pad makes this work much more comfy. This one is plain but does the job:

A rose, named for someone or somewhere special – I’ve always fancied the job of being an imaginative plant-namer! Roses, in particular, have some beautiful names including place names. Browse the David Austin and Peter Beale websites for inspiration: you are bound to find a rose whose name has special meaning. Some of my favourites are Olivia Rose Austin, Hot Chocolate and Scarborough Fair.

Dear Friend & Gardener – letters between Christopher Lloyd and Beth Chatto show us their friendship and their trials and successes in their 2 very different gardens:

Metal Bird decorative birds – I love these birds that are made in Britain and bought the Owl for my Dad.  The metal prong makes it easy to attach the bird to a tree or wooden post.  Have a look at the whole range but I particularly like the Wren:

Can I also plug my Garden Hoedown?  You can buy a voucher for someone who is stressed out by their garden .. someone once called it Garden Therapy!

I hope that gives you some ideas. (I’m also hoping my family might be reading this too!) Have a fantastic Christmas and here’s to a blooming good 2023!

Kneeling pad that says 'Gardening is my therapy'


The Pros and Cons of Autumn Planting

I’ve had some discussions recently on whether Autumn is a good time to be planting or not so here’s my take on the subject:

  • Autumn is the best time of the year to plant because the soil is nice and warm after the summer and there is more rain around.
  • Autumn planting also gets plants in the ground and ahead of the game for the next year.
  • Autumn weather often stretches right up till Christmas so planting can too. But avoid planting when the ground is waterlogged or frozen.
  • Autumn planting can look underwhelming! Perennials might be finished and dying back, Roses can be bare rooted and look like dead twigs and once bulbs are in the ground they disappear!

Remember folks we’re planting for the F U T U R E!

Colour for your July Garden

Typically, we think of July as Summertime in Britain.  Hampton Court Flower Show, Wimbledon and The Proms all feature this month and are markers of a British Summer.  Then picture the quintessentially British Summer Garden and I bet you see beds of jumbled up Cottage Garden favourites, jostling with each other for space and competing with their colour!

Actually, July in the garden can be somewhat different!  It’s a bit of a green month; sometimes providing a bit of a lull between the fresh greens and colours of Spring and the more intense colours that come with those plants flowering in late Summer.  So, if you’re feeling a bit jaded in this heat and your garden is too here are some ideas for planting to pick you up in this July gap!

Lavender – the colour seems more intense than usual this month and I wonder if the dry weather is helping to lock in the colour and scent!  It typically likes dry conditions, not liking heavy clay soils and the potential for soggy roots!  Shear off the flowers after they have flowered and then shear again in the Spring to keep the bushes compact as they are prone to getting leggy and woody.
Hibiscus – the flowers on Hibiscus look so tropical but love the conditions in Britain.  It’s just getting going in July and will last into the Autumn.  Prefers a well-drained soil too and a hard prune in Spring.
Roses – Is it just me or have they been spectacular this year?  Whatever your favourite colour or scent you will find a Rose for you.  Just keep deadheading or picking them and they will flower for you all Summer long, if not year long!  Prune them over the Winter, removing anything that is dead, damaged or diseased and a 3rd of stems and they will thrive and flower for you.
Allium Sphaerocephalon – is the later flowering Allium and was all over the Flower Shows this year.  It’s a dark purple and tear dropped shaped and looks great planted through a border.  Remember to plant in groups of odd numbers for bigger visual impact but a great plant that even when the flowers have faded will leave a striking seedhead for you to enjoy for the rest of the year.
Yarrow (Achillea) can be spotted at this time if year with it’s flat topped umbels and feathery light green foliage.  It comes in a variety of colours, prefers well-drained soils but again gives you striking seedheads when the flowers have faded.  All you need to do is cut them down when they look too scruffy and wait for the flowers again next year.
The Butterfly Bush (Buddleia) is tough as old boots!  But produces the most beautiful flowers and (as its name suggests) the bees and the butterflies love it!  Cut it down every Spring so it doesn’t get out of hand and it will reward with you flowers and scent!

Just a few ideas to bring some colour to July.  Let me know what your favourites are.

Renée x