Garden ideas for spring

Spring is a wonderful time to dust off the gardening gloves and get back into the garden. Unless you’re the most ardent gardener, your outdoor space will be looking a bit untidy. Take advantage of the longer days and occasional sunshine to get rid of those nasty weeds accumulated over the winter months and bring your garden back to full bloom.

Preparing your growing space

It’s likely your garden is already blazing with the promise of spring, with bursts of colour from bright daffodils and crocuses. Make sure these - as well as your late bloomers - have room to flourish by doing a thorough weeding, de-heading and general sprucing up. Trim back any plants that have outgrown their space, remove unwanted growth and ensure each plant has the room it needs.

Prepare your garden for summer by giving the soil a good turning over; dress beds and borders with mulch such as mature farmyard manure or wood chippings to give plants and bulbs some much needed moisture. This will also form a barrier against weeds and insulate plants against any late frosts.

What to plant in spring

Flowers such as hellebore, gladioli and bright pansies are great to plant in March/April – offering a splash of colour they are also hardy to any residual chill weather of the season. Fruit trees should be planted during March; remember to add a good layer of compost or manure around any newly planted trees and shrubs.

If you’re a fan of the kitchen garden, spring is the ideal time to get vegetables such as green beans, brussels sprouts and spinach on their way. It is best to start spinach and green bean seedlings indoors, around eight to 12 weeks before transplanting. Hardier crops such as onions and peas can be planted out from early April.

Working to the last average frost date for your area, produce such as lettuce, carrots, radishes, broccoli and kale are all safe to plant out up to two weeks before this date. Covers and tunnels can be handy for protecting seedlings from frost and a greenhouse or windowsill can be a great way to start off plants in the warmth.

Cleaning your garden patio and furniture

It’s possible that patio areas may need freshening up after the bitter winter weather. Using warm soapy water and a stiff brush can do wonders for paving; alternatively if you own a power washer this will do the job nicely.

Give your garden furniture a spruce up too, so that it is ready to use on those warm spring days. In most cases a hosepipe and sponge will do the trick, but wooden furniture can be brought back to its best finish with a little teak oil.

Pathways can be freshened up with a new layer of bark chip, stone chippings or pebbles. These types of products can be great for instantly adding a finished look to plainer parts of the garden, or even along edges of planted areas.

Take advantage of the growing number of warm days to undertake some thoughtful preparation. You’ll not only be able to fully enjoy the bright benefits of an early spring garden, your plants will thank you for your hard work during the warm summer months with their brilliant displays.