Get out there and 'Spring' into the Garden
By The Beresfords Marketing Team - 22 May 2009
Spring is finally here in all it’s showy abundance. The blossom on the trees and shrubs seem even more prolific than the last couple of Springs. Could it be that the last two wet summers have given them a chance to recover from the drought and heat of the previous years and we are now enjoying a more colourful show?
If you have just moved into your new house, now is the time to take a good look at the garden you have inherited and take stock.
You might be lucky and be looking out at a well cared for garden that was the previous owners pride and joy. Or could the view you have be of a sea of weeds, knee high grass and overgrown plants that are falling about the garden in an unruly mess.
If you are selling a property, the garden being in great shape could just make the difference on the price you achieve.
With all the gardening programmes magazines and shows around, most people can gain a fair idea of what they want from their gardens. Whether it’s a mini games pitch for the children combined with a quiet area for the adults to sit and enjoy a bit of alfresco dining, a low maintenance garden with a patio area and water feature, or in these credit crunch times how about area to grow your own fruit and vegetables. Well all these wishes can be obtained with some planning and a bit of hard work.
Don’t let the words ‘hard work’ put you off. Share the load with friends and family, especially if they have some knowledge of gardening. The results wont happen overnight but it is very rewarding to see the garden develop over the seasons.
Keep a look out at the different shrubs that are in flower at the moment to give you some idea what you mght be looking for in your new garden.
Who can fail to miss the vivid blue mass of flowers on the Ceanothus. An evergreen shrub through the rest of the year, but now enjoying its moment of glory. As is the Clematis Montana, a climbing shrub that winds its way along a pergola and walls with a profusion of delicate pink flowers. Or how about the Wisteria with clusters of rich mauve flowers followed by delicate fresh green leaves. It works well on a south or southwest facing wall framing doorways and windows.
If you have overgrown shrubs that have finished flowering for this season, such as the Camellia and Forsythia and also any evergreen hedges such as Privet, Yew or Box, then now is the time to give them a trim. In the case of the flowering shrubs than they can be cut back to a reasonable size and shape to fit in with the surroundings. They may look a little forlorn to start with but they will gain strength from this and look much better for it next Spring.
The evergreen hedges can be cut either with shears – if you are on a get fit campaign, or with some electric shears. Please do take care using these and make sure you have all your fingers and thumbs when you have finished.
Your borders may be full of weeds, grass and all mixture of shrivelled brown unrecognisable vegetation that might have been a plant or shrub at one time.
Now is the time to tackle these as the weeds will spread once the seeds have blown around in the wind to other parts of the garden and lawn and you will be back to square one.. If the ground is rock hard and compacted then use a hose to sprinkle a little water at intervals and tickle the soil around with the fork until it starts to break up and makes clearing the beds so much easier.
Once cleared of unwanted vegetation then dig over until the soil is loose and add a sprinkle of fertilizer such as ‘Blood Fish and Bone to help enrich the soil in preparation of what is to be planted.
The garden centres and markets are filled to the brim with a profusion of summer bedding. Believe it or not there is still a chance of a frost even in May, so it is not always recommended to plant your bedding out now. But keep an eye on the weather and if all looks good then go ahead and dress the beds with Bizzie Lizzies, Geraniums, Salvias, Verbenas and many more. Interplant them with a range of grasses and small evergreen shrubs such as Hebe to give a contrast.
If you are planting up Hanging baskets and tubs then remember to add some slow release fertiliser tablets and water retaining gel. The tablets release valuable nutriments during the months of summer The gel absorbs the water and keeps the soil moist, so if on the odd occasion the tubs and baskets don’t get their regular water all is not lost. Once planted keep them in a greenhouse or sheltered spot until they have established, they can then be bought outside and positioned in a spot where you will appreciate them throughout the summer.
It is not too late to grow vegetables and fruits to enjoy as the season progresses. Seeds can still be sown in the greenhouse or directly in the soil. You can now buy paper tapes which are impregnated with the seed, and these can be laid on the prepared area and lightly covered over with soil. This way there is less waste of seed and very little thinning out once the new shoots appear which means less work.
If you want to jump ahead then go to the Garden centres of markets and buy ready grown plants that can be placed directly in the vegetable patch or in tubs. Tomatoes such as ‘Gardeners Delight’ a tasty salad tomato and ‘Sungold’ a delicious sweet little tomato are easy to grow in grow bags or tubs. Chillies, peppers, aubergines, lettuces and many others can be grown in tubs in the most confining spaces such as balconies or patios. If you have a bit more space then plant out some Runner Beans and courgettes. Strawberry plants are available for sale anywhere and these can be planted up in hanging baskets in a sunny spot. Remember they taste all the better as they have come from your back garden.
'article written by Joanna Beresford, a qualified landscape gardener trained at Writtle College'For all your garden design and makeover needs please contact her on 01245 397497 or email email@example.com