23 June 2017

Top Tips for Spring Gardening

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Spring is a time for growth and development in the garden and it is also a time where our thoughts turn to what we can achieve in it this year. To make it easier for you we've written a few pointers to help you get started...

Lawns
Now is a good time to give your lawn its first cut of the year. Remember to rake off any winter debris such as leaves and worm casts with a spring bock or wire rake. Aerate the lawn by using a garden fork pushed 6 inches into the turf at regular intervals. This is especially good for the roots and if your lawn is waterlogged.

Be sure not to cut the lawn too short. Mow on a high setting and remove no more than a third of the total length of your lawn. To discourage moss growth, an application of horticultural silver sand to the affected area is effective.

It is a good idea to feed your lawn too. We prefer to use organic methods such as a light top dressing of fine, peat free compost mixed with horticultural sand but if you prefer, a phostrogen based product such as evergreen is alright, just remember not to prolong usage as your lawn will become dependent and weaken as a result. Try cutting your lawn in a different direction for the first few cuts as this will strengthen and thicken it.

Spring is also an ideal time to reseed or re-turf your lawn or even to sow some wild flower seed for spring colour and to encourage fauna such as butterflies and birds into your garden. Flower plants for a spring meadow include; ox eye daisy, red clover, birds foot trefoil, kidney vetch, wild daffodil, snowdrops, and cowslips, but there is no reason why other species cannot be added for year round interest.

Roses
As the threat of frost diminishes, cut out any dead and winter growth. Although you may lose some early buds and this seems harsh, don't worry; this prune will persuade your roses to produce stronger more plentiful blooms throughout the year and to prevent disease. Feed with a well-rotted manure or compost around the base of the plant to a depth of 6-8 inches and lightly fork in.

Shrubs
A good hard prune now, will help give summer shape to your garden and will be easier to maintain through out the year. Species such as honeysuckle, Hypericum (St. Johns Wort) and fuchsias can be cut back hard to ground level. Ericaceous shrubs such as camellia, azalea and rhododendron should never really be pruned but instead top up the soil around the plant with an ericaceous compost and feed regularly with a sequestered iron feed or seaweed extract.

Gardening for wildlife
With our green spaces regularly being lost to urbanization and farming, our gardens are fast becoming a refuge for many plants and animals. By making a space for wildlife you can make all the difference and it need not be messy or difficult. Here are some tips for making your garden more wildlife friendly:

Native plants
Many of our native plants are capable of making an attractive addition to a garden. Because natives are so adaptable to difficult conditions (such as chalky soil or shade) they can provide easy solutions to planting problems in the garden. Also it is native, not exotic, species, which provide habitats for our wildlife such as butterflies, birds and hedgehogs. By planting native trees, shrubs and flowers you may be helping a species survive.

Hedgerow species
Hawthorn, buckthorn, dog rose, and evergreen holly. For added attraction, species such as honeysuckle and old man's beard will give a blend of flowers and berries as well as year round interest to insects and birds.

Fruit trees
These are great for wildlife and good for the kids too. Species such as wild pear, cherry plum and crab apple are great for both the animals and us!

Native plants are easy to obtain and most garden centres sell native seed and species. Remember it is illegal to dig up plants from the wild. It is generally permissible to harvest seed but avoid interfering with rare plants and protected areas. Green Man Gardens are more than happy to contact specialist suppliers for specific habitat mixes of seed or to create a wild area in your garden for your children to enjoy nature.

Compost
Why not try rotting down your garden and kitchen waste such as grass clippings and vegetable peelings. Compost is great for your garden as a free soil improver and fertilizer and is a way of saving you money. Totally organic, it is a way of saving threatened habitats such as peat bogs and reduces the amount of waste sent to land fills. By doing this, we reduce the amount of money and energy spent on refuse collection and this will be reflected in your council tax bill! Remember not to compost coal, ash, cat and dog litter disposable nappies or glossy magazines. Add ash straight to vegetable patches.

Finally...
now is also the time to think about how you want to use your garden this year. Is it for relaxing, for the kids, would you like more wildlife in the garden, do you want to entertain? The best way to get started is to follow our tips, repair the fence, hose down the garden furniture, clean off the patio and decking, polish the barbeque and get ready for another glorious year in the garden.

Green Man Gardens
Daniel Carraro and David Giles have been working together for a number of years.
Both academically trained at environmental and horticultural colleges,
they have a wide range of horticultural experience blending formal, contemporary and wild gardening styles..both keen travellers, they have worked as far afield as France, Spain, Holland, Australia and Thailand.
David has 9 years experience having trained at Capel Manor horticultural college.
He started work in parks and public gardens and graduated to design and maintain a number of high profile celebrities' gardens in London. He is now an avid reader of ABC Magazine as he searches for tips on the arrival of his first child in April.
Dan has 6 years experience in Grounds Maintenance and Conservation
Management and has worked as a volunteer reserves officer for the
Sussex Wildlife Trust and as a gardener at Roedean girl's school.
They can be contacted on 01273 622022 or 07814 022809 to discuss any design or maintenance work. Free visits at no obligation.


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