At last the weather has improved and the sun has some real warmth to it, its great to be outside breathing the warm air scented with the smells of spring. Shame about the endless drone of the lawnmowers but hey, you win some you lose some.
What Should We Be Doing?
Its a busy time and there’s plenty to do so in no particular order of importance:
Go over your lawn looking for daisies and dandelions that are beginning to grow and dig them out.
Check your composting bin – if you have one – we want to recycle as much of the garden and kitchen waste as possible.
Plant out any container grown roses and shrubs.
Tie-up new growth of any climbing plants.
Fork compost into your flower beds to prepare them for summer bedding.
Sow seeds of the following: beetroot, lettuce, salad leaves, watercress and rocket.
Open up the greenhouse and ensure the temperature controls are working. Bring your strawberries in there while you are at it.
So that little lot should keep you out in the fresh air for a while, more to come later in the month, until then; have fun out there.
Today the hours of daylight will exceed the hours of darkness prompting the awakening of our gardens. You can dust off the lawnmower and oil the trusty wheelbarrow, and get back in the garden!
Where to start?
Grass seed sowed last month on bare patches in the lawn and sowed again a fortnight ago has still not germinated. Don’t sit bare buttocked on the ground to determine if it’s warm enough – just watch the weeds, if they don’t grow don’t sow.
However established grass is growing, probably time for the first or in some cases second cut of the season.
To Mulch or Not to Mulch?
One priority is to order some bark to mulch borders primarily planted with shrubs and trees. Ground cover that doesn’t need cutting every week is what you are aiming for coupled with all year round interest! Plants themselves may not be big enough to provide cover, hence mulching is vital. Bare soil is bad – except in winter when it has been freshly dug over and left to ‘weather’, which is a natural conditioning process.
Most winter flowering shrubs are gone or going now, replaced by masses of daffodils, violets and red dead nettles. Double daffodils, green in bud and when first opened turning golden yellow, are less valuable for wildlife but as they don’t set seed they consequently bloom for longer. If you have any, multiply and plant out for next year.
As December is here and everyone’s thoughts are turning to Christmas – love it or not, thought we’d pen some general tips for activity in your garden. Get you away from presents and wrapping if you so desire!
Not in any particular order of importance, just a random collection.
Would welcome any additional tips/thoughts/anecdotes:
- Minimize traffic on a frozen lawn to reduce winter damage
- Drain the fuel tank of the lawn mower before putting the machine away for the winter
- Make a composting trench to enrich soil
- Dig over vacant areas
- Mow your lawn on a dry day with the blades set high
- Wrap outside taps with insulation material to prevent them freezing and turn off the water supply inside your house
- Place a floating heater or a ball in ponds to stop ice completely covering the surface
- Move tender or valuable houseplants away from cold window sills every evening
- Carry on digging over beds and borders and incorporate as much organic matter as you can
- Keep raking leaves to keep your garden clear over the winter
- Take care not to let leaves accumulate around alpines – they will die if left damp for long
That’s it for now – more thoughts as we go through the month. Stay warm and dry if you can.