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Early Spring in the Garden

Written by thebarnadmin

March and Early Spring in the Garden

 

Starting to see the blankets of snowdrops, clusters of aconites and clumps of native primroses giving a spatter of colour is a welcome sight breaking the muted grey and brown palette of late winter. The long shadows of winter days become less spindly as the sun climbs higher in the sky, bringing with it a little warmth waking nature from its hibernation. These first signs of spring encourage the gardeners too to wake from their winter dormancy with a list of jobs to get started.

Before rushing outside eagerly drawing up plans and getting everything planted, let’s start with what can seem some boring basics. Giving your soil a little attention early on will reap benefits further into the season. First, give your soil a dig over with a fork. This will add air to soil compacted by winter weather. You can dig up larger weeds and remove. The next job is mulching.

Mulching sounds like a mysterious old fashioned gardening term, but what exactly is it? It is simply adding a layer of compost, woodchip, bark or a well rotten farm manure over the top of your soil. Why should we do this? One reason is it can look nicer, but adding a minimum of 5cm or 2 inches, but ideally 10 cm or 4 inches helps in three other ways. It adds nutrients to the soil for healthier plants. It suppresses weeds by stopping light reaching their seeds meaning they cannot germinate. Lastly it helps retain moisture so means less watering in the warmer months to come.

Plants looking their best at this time of year include Ribes or the Flowering Currant. It’s dangling clusters of white, pink or yellow flowers offer a valuable source of nectar for foraging bees early in the year. They thrive in fertile soil that does not get waterlogged over winter and prefer full sun. They do not flower well in shade. There is no mistaking Forsythia in full flower with is vibrant yellow flowers appearing all the way along their branches. They are tolerant of most soil types, enjoy full sun or light shade and are extremely hardy. They can be planted alone as a specimen shrub or planted together to form a hedge. Camellia japonica is an evergreen shrub that produces beautiful delicate looking blooms in whites, pinks or reds. They thrive in acidic soil conditions, so they are best grown here in containers with ericaceous compost.

Planning ahead to summer, spring is the time to get your summer flowering bulbs planted. Summer bulbs provide some of the biggest, best and most exotic-looking blooms. They look fabulous growing in borders or containers and make wonderful cut flowers too. You can buy them in the Garden Centre in full bloom later in the year, but with a little work now, you can have you own dahlias, gladioli, lilies, crocosmia and agapanthus flowering this summer.

Some dates for your diary this March. Remember Mother’s Day is on Sunday 10th March and Easter Sunday falls on March 31st. The long Easter weekend is a perfect time to get these spring garden jobs started.

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