When it comes to gardening, while constant love and care is a must, it should never be a chore. In fact, if you’re constantly pottering, pulling out the odd weed, dead heading your daisy bushes or even raking up a few dead leaves and popping them on the compost heap, there’s a strong chance that it will never feel like hard work.
If you’re not one of our naturally green fingered friends, Granny Mouse Country House and Spa share some tips to get you out of the winter and into the spring so that you can enjoy the beauty of lovely green lawns and plenty of flowers throughout the summer:
Make a “to do” list of projects to tackle, such as building a pathway or wall, staining the deck or installing a new water feature. Work out when you need to prune or compost your plants. Prioritize projects by setting up a time schedule and make realistic goals to get things checked off your list.
Clean and prep
If you didn’t do so last fall, scrape excess dirt off tools, wash in soapy water and allow to dry thoroughly. Coat metal parts with oil to prevent rust, and sharpen pruners and loppers. Power wash decks and patios, then wipe down stored patio furniture and set it outside for the season. Scrub out empty containers and fill with fresh potting soil in preparation for planting.
Start seeds of vegetables and annuals indoors 6-8 weeks before you plan to set them out. Prepare flower beds ahead of time so they are ready as soon as your new seedlings are. Make a planting schedule so that seedlings are mature at the optimal time for your region.
Prune shrubs and vines
Now is the time to prune roses, (some) shrubs and perennial vines. Remove dead branches and shape plants once new growth appears. Research proper pruning techniques and timing for each variety, and hold off on pruning spring bloomers until after they flower.
Prepare ornamental beds
Start with areas where spring blooming bulbs are peeking out of the ground to spiff up early color displays. Gently rake out surface debris and cut back perennials and ornamental grasses before new growth appears. Top dress with several inches of homemade compost or well-seasoned manure.
Now is the time to plant summer bulbs including lilies and dahlias, Annuals (such as petunias, marigolds, salvias, cosmos and sunflowers) also add almost instant colour, so look for trays of healthy seedlings or colour bags at your local nursery or garden store. The label should tell you where is best to plant them for optimal blooming. Remember to water with a little liquid fertilizer every few weeks to keep them flowering for longer.
Birds and other wildlife help control pests, balance the ecosystem and add ambience and interest to your garden. Install nesting boxes with the proper dimensions and in the right spot to attract particular birds. Provide a consistent, clean water source and create feeding stations for seed eaters. Plant indigenous plants that offer food sources of nectar, seeds and berries and make sure there are trees and hedging for nesting and shelter.