Spring has Sprung
This is the season where nature puts on a spectacular show and calls us to break our winter hibernation, to step outside into the garden, enjoy the warmer temperatures and begin gardening with renewed vigour. Enjoy the spectacle of all the new season’s flowering trees and shrubs. This is where all the bare sticks and branches of autumn and winter reward your garden with the blinding colours of blues, pinks, reds, whites, oranges and yellows. Tree varieties such as cherries, flowering peaches and crab apples, shrubs including Spirea, Magnolia, Mock orange, Deutzia, Weigela, Azaleas and Camellias, are all bursting with colour.
For the plants that may have been damaged through the winter and are showing dead leaves and branches; do not be too hasty to clean and cut back. With the warmer temperatures and the sap moving up into the tips of the plants, the strong and healthy buds will swell and open while the dead wood above these can now be cut off. Just in case Jack Frost is tenaciously hanging on for one more ‘encore’, these damaged leaves will give protection to the emerging buds.
The summer bulb varieties will soon be available to plant. Dahlias will give you a colour palette with varieties blooming from ankle to shoulder. For bright but cooler areas the colour varieties of the Zantedeschia bulbs is endless, from soft pastels to royal purples.
Roses will be bursting to push out new stems with the rise in temperature. Make sure you keep them regularly well watered and begin feeding with an organic 3.1.5 or 5.1.5 fertilizer. Begin this as soon as you notice the first signs of the buds swelling. An early start will mean rich strong growth and a great many flowering buds.
If you have been remiss with the winter herb and vegetable garden, now is the time to plant anew. The varieties available for the summer season will keep you looking for space in the vegetable patch, in containers and hanging baskets. If you have limited space and no dedicated vegetable patch; nothing stops you from mixing colourful spinach and lettuce in amongst the perennials. Many herb varieties planted amongst your flower beds will give wonderful scents and textures.
Odd jobs to do early will include the removal of old winter annuals; do the first mowing of the lawns to even out the grass; pinch out the first growth of Fuchsias to encourage side shoots and keep an eye on your topiaries as the spring growth can be quite quick and they may lose their shapes.
There are also the inevitable gremlins emerging to share in the warmth of the spring season. Snails and slugs will appear looking for the new fresh leaves of your perennials, new seedlings will attract cutworms and the buds on roses and other shrubs are irresistible to aphids. Dreaded weed seeds, dormant in the soil over winter will now start germinating. Keep a sharp look out for these pests and weeds. With an early intervention an infestation can be kept away.