Time To Prepare Your Garden For Spring

It’s almost inevitable that over the winter period your garden is left to struggle through. This is simply because not much can actually be done over the winter months, especially if it has snowed. All the annuals will have died off, perennial plants will be dormant and the only sign of life you will likely see is if you have any evergreens.

Any furniture in your garden is likely to have taken a bit of a beating over the months as well. But there is no need to worry as spring is on it’s way. It’s time to give your garden that much needed boost as spring turns.

Start with Weeding

No one finds weeding their garden a fun task. Nonetheless it is something that needs to be done especially as we escape from the long winter months. Although the cold weather will have slowed down weed growth considerably it will not have arrested it completely. Everyone finds it annoying how the plants they like in their garden die off whilst weeds – the things nobody wants, continue to thrive.

In order to best prepare your garden for spring you need to ensure that all the weeds are removed so the plants you do want have the ideal environment to live in. Use some sensible garden tools as the ground may well be either hard, or very muddy.

Prepare the Soil

During winter the soil in your garden becomes saturated and as a result may well have become really compact. It may also have run low on many vital nutrients. The key here is to add some well matured compost to perk up the soil. You’ll need a good quantity and make sure it is will turned through.

If you are a really keen gardener you can get your soil tested in order to see what nutrients it needs. This way you can go out and buy the exact nutrients to ensure your soil will be perfect for spring.

Protect Those Plants

Although the plants in your garden may have seemed pretty lifeless over winter, many of them will simply be dormant waiting for the warmer weather to begin growing again. They sometimes need protection over the winter months however The reason for this is because during winter food is scarce so your plants will be at greater risk of being eaten by pests. The dampness brought about by winter also helps to promote the growth of fungal diseases, which can be a nightmare for your garden. A sensible use of ties, netting, insect repellents and plant food should see them through.

Look After Any Furniture Or Ornaments

When preparing the garden for spring many people tend to neglect their garden furniture and ornaments. But this is a good time of year to check them out, sand them off and perhaps brush them with an outdoor varnish. Even if your ornaments and furniture are in perfect condition it is always a great idea to add a lick of paint to them, especially to things such as wood signs and bird tables. This is because it adds a little bit of color and life into your garden, which it will have been lacking over the last few months.

Plan Your Planting

Now is the perfect time to plan what plants you would like to grow and plant in your garden this year. Always pay attention to the times that seeds need to be planted and when they will begin to flower. This way you can ensure your garden looks amazing for more of the year. There are many websites and guides out there that will allow you to do this perfectly.

Thoughts on Hurricanes

We, as man, on the street or city sewage processing plants, industrial waste, all contribute to BODs, that’s biological oxygen depletors, CODs, Chemical Oxygen Depletors.

Basically, these are substances that absorb or use up the oxygen that is in the water. If you use up the oxygen in the water, the fish that breathe water, your filter feeds, like oysters and clams, will die because of the lack of oxygen.

Hurricanes blow up the water, swirls it violently and introduces oxygen into the water

The powerful wind and rain of a hurricane pummel a building.

This action invigorates the naturally occurring soil-based microorganisms, plankton, and a variety of microorganisms to work harder, faster, to clean up the pollution, whether it’s biological or chemical in nature. This is just a natural process. So the next time you have a hurricane, don’t think it has no purposes and that it is all destruction. No! It’s Mother Nature’s way of cleaning up the environment. Thank goodness that she does do that or we really would have lost this planet a long time ago.

Make Your Garden a Rustic Oasis

One of the hottest trends in garden design right now is the rustic look and when you see the finished result of a rustic oasis filled with good old fashioned charm, it has not hard to see why the look is proving so popular in garden makeovers.

Making a plan

Before you set about creating a beautiful rustic garden you have to sit down and work out a plan on how you are going to achieve this goal. Think about how room that you have to work with and which items you might like to use and work with in order to create an authentic rustic feel. Depending on your budget and also what will work best with the existing areas that you have in the garden you can choose to introduce small rustic accents or go for an extravagant overhaul to create your own oasis of peace and tranquillity.

Rustic accents

Simple touches to add a rustic accent would be to add a wooden birdhouse or bird feeder which will not only add an element of charm but it will encourage wildlife into your garden.  Another relatively easy item to use in order to add a rustic feel would be to add a wooden porch swing, giving you a great looking piece of furniture and also somewhere to sit and relax. Other ideas to consider would be to obtain some old wooden rain barrels or even old whisky barrels which you can line and plant with flowers in order to create a pleasing focal point.

Rustic landscaping

Larger projects to consider as a way of creating a rustic feel would be to dig out a small pond or maybe even create an area with a small windmill or a wishing well. These items can vary greatly in size and quality so it is a case of not just fitting in with your budget but also considering what size you want your pond or water feature to be and how it works in blending in with the rest of your garden.

Using old railway sleepers

A design trick that works really well is to create different levels in your garden which adds considerable interest to the view and has a way of drawing your eye to certain features especially when you use rustic steps that lead you down to another level or area in your garden. The perfect solution for creating wooden steps is to use reclaimed wooden railway sleepers which make an excellent design feature in their own right and are a perfectly acceptable installation challenge to a reasonably competent and tooled up DIY enthusiast. A good tip to remember when you are installing the sleepers yourself is to make sure that the steps are not too slippery but cutting either shallow tread lines into the wood or tacking a layer of chicken wire down to improve the grip. This isn’t always easiest to do but get hold of a decent mini-circular saw and you’ll be able to handle it just fine.

Rustic painting

If you have a wall or maybe some furniture in the garden you can help them to blend into you new rustic look and add a great finishing touch to your project by using to paint to create a rustic old fashioned weathered look. Giving an item a makeover in order to create an aged look is not as difficult as it may seem and you almost certainly be pleased with the result and the subsequent rustic look you manage to achieve. You can get more detailed instructions on the web if you need them but basically you are gently sanding the existing painted surface with fine grained sandpaper with a view to scuffing the surface rather than actually sanding it. Apply an antiquing glaze to a small area at a time and once it is nearly dried, wipe away the glaze with a lint free cloth leaving you with a surface that has those scratches and imperfections that gives it a perfect rustic look. With a bit of practice on an unwanted piece of furniture, you can quickly gain the right skills to set to work on the items in the garden that you want to transform.

Creating rustic fencing

Whilst a neatly stained fence may be attractive to some, if you are trying to perfect your rustic look then you may want to try and make your treated wood look weathered and really add the finishing touch to your garden design. Using a safety mask and goggles for safety you should sand down the treated panel until most of the stain has been removed. Fill up a mason jar with boiling water and add a tea bag, leaving it until it is a rich brown color which you can then brush over the wood. Finish it off by applying a light coat of vinegar solution and once it has dried, you will end up with a rustic fencing panel that will appear textured and weathered. Most of the projects can be carried out yourself and not only will it be a source of pride when you see your finished work, you will also be able to sit back and really enjoy your new rustic oasis.

5 Ways of Preparing Your Garden for Spring

As the winter draws to a close, many keen gardeners should begin to think about how to preparing their garden for the spring ahead. Don’t let the icy chills and recent cold weather disheartened you, milder temperatures and flourishing shrubbery conditions are on their way! To make the most of the next season, read on for a guide to preparing your garden for springtime:

Every gardener wants to enjoy their garden, but it takes planning and preparation

Plan ahead

For real garden success, take the time to plan. Now is the ideal time to settle down with a nice mug of tea or coffee and a few good seed catalogues, or the modern-day equivalent – the web. Whilst it’s still cold out you can start planning the colour schemes and textures for the year ahead. If you’re feeling especially creative, and wish to further visualise your springtime garden in full glory, try online garden planning software. If you’d like to landscape your lawn, now is the time to plan out your design and research into turf or grass seed costs.

Begin repairs

Before you’re able to get planting, get out in the garden and check the condition of your fences, trellis, plant pots and outbuildings. The winter may have taken its toll on your paintwork and pottery. Look out for cracks and damage that could affect the ability to uphold plants during the spring months; it might be time to head to the garden centre and stock up on the essentials ready for when seeding time comes. Don’t forget to check your garden tools too, if you’ve been promising yourself a new mower now’s the time to make the investment. Sanding and varnishing garden furniture will also help.

Get Trimming

If your architectural grasses are looking a bit worse for wear, give them that much needed trim. You need to leave around 20cm of old growth so they are protected for any other upcoming frosts but fresh greenery will start appearing at the start of March. Sedum plants that have turned all mushy and brown will also benefit from a trim, whilst cutting the side shoots of your Prune Wisteria can also be done now to encourage flowers in early summer. The more trimming and pruning work you put in now, the less you will have to do come spring. If you are carrying out a lot of trimming it may be worth purchasing or hiring an electric trimmer, particularly if you are doing hedges and large bushes.

De-weed

Despite the cold weather, unscrupulous weeds will no doubt have made their way between your paving stones and into the flower beds. Get out there and start dealing with them now. If you can remove them from the root, you’ll save costs on weed killer over the coming months and give your shrubberies the best possible chance. Consider hiring a weed burner which will completely destroy the weeds. They are available from any good garden tool hire company.

The First Mow of the Year

When the new trellises are up, your weeds are gone and you’ve planned out exactly where you’ll be planting come spring – the final sure fire way to get your garden ready is to do the ceremonious first lawn mow of the year. A freshly mown lawn, though a little grey at this time of year, gives an instant refresh to your whole garden. To finish off, make sure you give your lawn a thorough rake and remove any winter debris that has collected. Re-seed any areas that are particularly sparse and put some lawn feed/care formula to encourage colour and quality.

With all these tasks complete, and your garden looking a bit sharper, spring will seem that little bit closer! Now is a great time to get hold of gardening equipment, as it’s cheaper than in the peak season. Lots of great deals can be found online and in store. You can also hire equipment that is too expensive or you only need to use once a year from local tool hire companies.

There are some great tips on this video too from one of our “go to” sources for garden advice, MIGardener.

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