Gardening: Six chores to do in the garden this spring

“Spring is without a doubt my favorite season,” says award-winning landscaper Mark Gregory, MD of Landform Consultants and designer of The Savills Garden at the 2023 RHS Chelsea Flower Show.

“The days are getting longer, lighter and lighter, and there’s a scent in the air that puts a smile on my face,” says Gregory. “It’s a new season, the plant life is awakening and that’s waking me up.

“It’s a busy time, but it’s a hopeful and exciting time and I can’t wait to get started.”

So what are you waiting for? Here, experts share their top tips on the tasks you need to do in your garden now that spring is finally here…

1. Last chance for bare root specimens

“March is the last opportunity to plant bare root shrubs and trees,” notes Gregory. “Planting bare roots is a good idea as the root mass is often larger, especially in trees, giving them an edge over potted specimens.”

He says they are also lighter, so cheaper to transport. The lack of a plastic pot means they’re better for the environment.

2. Get a head start on early vegetable crops

“I have very fond memories of helping grandpa plant the new potatoes – now is the right time,” advises Gregory. “Either in ditches if you have space, or we use the large tree and shrub pots, which are difficult to recycle but perfect for a bumper crop of potatoes.

“The black pots soak up the spring sun, warming the soil and giving the potatoes a big head start.”

3. Consider not mowing your lawn

As Gregory points out, when our lawns start to wake up, there’s a very real itch to get out and trim them. Along with tidying up edges and overseeding bare spots, he suggests leaving lawns alone.

“We’ve participated in No Mow May for the past few years and have seen firsthand the tremendous positive impact it’s had in our garden,” says Gregory.

HeraldScotland: Tall grass and wild flowersTall grass and wild flowers (Image: PA)

“Not only do I love watching the wind rushing through the grass, but the flood of flowers sprouting from the ground is a feast for the eyes, as are the all-important pollinators.”

4. Give weed a chance

As the ground warms and the first sprouts of your favorite flowers appear tentatively, Gregory says, they are inevitably accompanied by some less-favored companions, weeds.

“As a kid, I spent a lot of time on my hands and knees and earned pocket money keeping borders and vegetable beds weed-free. Now my approach has changed. I don’t let perennial weeds take over, but I do let some remain. Finally, I believe that weeds can be the guardians of the garden and their benefits outweigh their disadvantages.”

Indeed, Gregory is such a supporter, he has included them in his last two Chelsea Gardens and they will also feature in Savills Garden this year.

5. Design your beds and borders

“Spring is the ideal time to get your beds and borders in shape for the warmer months,” says Marcus Eyles, director of horticulture at Dobbies.

“Once you’ve removed weeds, the next step is to prune back any winter-flowering plants like Cornus and Salix, where blooms are beginning to fade – and prune summer-flowering shrubs like Buddleia, Lavatera and hardy fuchsias to allow room for new ones Growth.”

HeraldScotland: fuchsia bushesfuchsia bushes (Image: PA)

Eyles suggests pruning shrubs in early spring, once flowering has finished, as this keeps beds and borders tidy. Wisteria can be pruned to encourage strong flower buds by cutting back side shoots to just a few buds.

To add structure to your garden, Eyles recommends planting new perennials, hedges and trees from containers in the spring. You should also take care of evergreen trees, shrubs and hedges by fertilizing them with a slow-release all-purpose fertilizer that is lightly forked into your borders.

6. Plant flower bulbs for summer color

One of the loveliest spring gardening chores is undoubtedly the planting, says Eyles. Opt for plants that can be grown quickly in warmer soil for earlier blooms.

“Summer bulbs like dahlias, lilies and gladioli can be planted in spring to create an explosion of color and fragrance during the summer months,” says Eyles. “Begonia tubers can now also be planted in containers to retain the color of early summer.

HeraldScotland: Dahlia Blossomsdahlia flowers (Image: PA)

“Hard hardy annuals like Love in a Mist or English Marigold can now be sown directly into beds for a wonderful bloom later in the year – now is also the perfect time to plant new roses.”

Eyles recommends David Austin English Roses for a blooming summer display: “Just make sure you prune existing rose bushes heavily before the new season’s leaves begin to unfurl.” Gardening: Six chores to do in the garden this spring

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