Whether the Brit is a seasoned pro or a green-fingered novice, preparing a garden for spring is a joyous moment and experience. Between March and April is the perfect time to start spring gardening and slowly wake outdoor spaces from their winter slumber. Gardening expert Tom Brown shares what needs to be done in the garden to prepare for spring “in one weekend,” from pruning lawns and plants to fertilizing shrubs and cleaning greenhouses.
improve the lawn
When it comes to improving a lawn, Tom advises that mowing it is “the first thing” on the list. He claimed that the first mowing of the lawn after winter should be on a high setting, that way the mower would do all the hard work, such as collecting and breaking up dead leaves.
Tom said that if gardeners are short of time, they should make mowing a “priority” as it will guarantee their garden will look “much better”.
The expert also told The Telegraph that any bald patches in the lawn need to be tackled once the grass has been mowed.
To do this, Tom instructs gardeners to start by raking bare areas to remove any thatch (dead grass and moss), which will expose disturbed soil.
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He said: “In a bucket, mix a handful of grass seed with three handfuls of sand or compost and mix it into the bare patches. Don’t go crazy, just enough to lightly cover the bare ground.
March is a great time to prune plants, especially when it comes to roses. Tom said that while traditional hybrid teas and floribundas can be “pruned hard,” bush roses should be pruned “by a third less” to keep them compact and flowering well.
fertilize the bushes
Getting the most out of your shrubs requires a little knowledge of the right dose of fertilizer and the right time to apply it.
However, the expert advised to tackle the task now. He suggests using a handful of Gromor fertilizer or fish, blood and bone around the base of shrubs and young trees to “give them a boost,” especially after pruning.
For those willing to go the extra mile they can follow the fertilizer with a “5cm layer of mulch”. For mulch, gardeners can use dead plant material such as compost, leaves, bark or grass clippings.
Tom claimed that now is a “great time” to prune shrubs, as well as roses. Removing some of the older stems from the base each year can help encourage new growth.
As a general rule of thumb, if a shrub blooms before the end of June, gardeners should wait until after flowering is over before trimming them.
For shrubs that flower after late June, prune it back to a strong bud to the desired size and shape. While gardeners may lose some flowers for a year or two, they will get better results.
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Gardening advocates suggest gardeners to plant nigella, calendula and cerianthe because they are hardy and “easy to grow”. Tom notes that they can be sown in pots or in the ground to give you some easy cut flowers this summer.
clean the greenhouse
For those who have a greenhouse, this space is usually a place where things are put and forgotten, so it’s a good idea to clean up before spring arrives.
Tom instructed: “Wipe the pan inside and out because a clean greenhouse is often a healthy and productive one.”
This month, gardeners can still divide later flowering perennials such as sedums, rudbeckias and echinacea. If you have a large plant that’s floppy or open in the center, it’s time to freshen it up.
To do this, use a spade or two forks to split the bunches into fist-sized pieces. The expert claimed: “Small gardens look bigger and more natural by repeated plantings.”
Planting times vary, depending on the type of potato gardeners are growing, but the first agates can be planted around the end of March.
Prepare the ground, ideally the previous autumn or winter, by digging in plenty of organic matter such as garden compost, or well-rotted manure.
The traditional planting method is to dig a narrow trench 12 cm deep. Plant tubers 30 cm apart and 60 cm apart in rows. Apply a general purpose fertilizer at this stage.