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 …


Flowers to make you change your mind about yellow!

Early Spring seems to be the season of yellow: Daffodils, Winter Aconites, Primroses, Crocosus but lots of people have a thing against yellow flowers in their gardens, and I have to admit I was one of them!  I’m not sure why it is, perhaps yellow was unfashionable, a bi too ‘in your face’.  But  I think I was won over to yellow by orange!  It took me to yellow and I have started to love it now, especially with orange!!  Yellow also looks great with reds and blues and really zings infront of dark foliage or even a black fence!  Here are a few flowers that might win you over to yellow!

Primroses – Quite a delicate shade of yellow to get you started!  These hedgerow favourites are a great source of colour during Winter right through to Spring.  They selfseed really easily and so will multiply for you.  I love them planted in my gravel path, so they have a really natural look and once SApring is here you can transplant them to where you want so is the time of year to ask if you can have a couple from any rfiends with them in their garden!

Inula This was a gift from a lady I gardened for.  Her garden was on the North Downs so very chalky and alkaline, I’m on very sandy soil which is rather neutral in acidity and most of my garden is quite shady.  These Inulas seem to love both conditions and from a couple of bits I dug up they have now formed a patch which flower from Summer through to Autumn.

Mexican Satin Flower (Sisyrinchium striatum) – This perennial forms clumps of vertical sword-like leaves and in the summer straight stems shoot up with clusters of the tiniest pale yellow flowers.  It loves being in the sun on really well drained soil and is so delicate and gorgeous.

Rosa banksia ‘Lutea’ – A beautiful rambling rose with sprays of small double, deep yellow scented flowers in April and May. Pros: its thornless and great for covering an arch or pergola. Cons: it only flowers once!

Lupin ‘Chandelier’ – Lupins were all the rage last year at the Flower Shows and they come in a wide range of colours; some bright and gaudy but some a bit more toned down and pastelly.  I love this yellow Lupin with its geometric spire of flowers.  They like it sunny and look great in a border of other plants, and remember to deadhead once its looking scruffy as it may well flower again for you.

I hope that gives you some ideas, I’m almost certain that yellow makes us feel good, it does bring a smile, so have a go at injecting some sunshine into your garden!  Have a look at my board The Yellow Planting Edit on Pinterest for more inspiration.