Hardy spring bulbs, which can force themselves upwards through the worst of conditions, are in full bloom all around. Swathes of bright, sunshine yellow appear on our roadsides, as the Daffodils announce the changing of the seasons, and it takes a cold heart not to be cheered by such a sight.
In our gardens, buds are appearing on the trees and our borders are waking up from winter. Every gardener knows that joyous feeling of seeing a favourite perennial coming back to life once more, its unfurling, young leaves a bright, fresh green.
Whilst we could spend our time just walking around our gardens and being thankful for nature’s reliability, we need to spend some time helping it along. Those borders, for example, will need some attention if we want them to reach their full potential in the months ahead.
Weeds are growing, so spend some time getting rid of them whilst they’re still young. Any large clumps of perennials can be lifted and divided now, the healthy outer sections re-planted and the older central part of the plant composted or discarded. If you don’t have room for all your divisions, I’m sure your friends or neighbours would welcome something new for their gardens.
Put supports in place now for tall growing perennials and, if you feel there are still gaps in your border, you could plant summer flowering bulbs or corms such as Allium, Gladiolus, Crocosmia, Iris and Dahlia.
Once you’ve finished your border work, add a layer of mulch or compost to keep weeds down and moisture in. Speaking of compost, every serious gardener should be making their own. Not only is it the best way to recycle plant cuttings and lawn clippings, it’s also the greenest way to dispose of vegetable and fruit peelings, egg shells and used tea bags.
Most gardens have room for a standard-sized, plastic compost bin and, in larger gardens, you might want to build a more significant compost heap. It never ceases to amaze me how all that waste material magically breaks down into soft, brown crumbly compost.
If you mow your grass, keep the mower blades high at first. You can lower them after a few cuts, but you’ll get better results by mowing more frequently with the blades higher.
My feature plant this month is Camellia, particularly the variety ‘Jury’s Pride’. It’s a compact evergreen shrub with beautiful flowers which are white around the outside and creamy-yellow at the centre. Perfect for a sheltered spot, in neutral or acid soil and preferably partially shaded.