Getting a perfect garden for summer
Getting and keeping your garden in perfect shape can be a considerable amount of work, but you will be rewarded all summer long. Here are a few things to remember when getting your garden into tip-top condition.
Cutting and pruning
The advent of spring should herald the growth of new shoots, but it also brings some less friendly plants back onto the scene, specifically brambles, nettles, and weeds. Now is the time to dust down the secateurs and find the hedge cutters. A spade and some weedkiller will help with persistent weed offenders, though you must make certain that if you pull or dig them up you get the root out, or they will simply return in a few weeks.
As long as frost is not forecast the spring is also the best time to clear some space for new plants. Use this season to indulge in some severe pruning of any existing hedges; if you cut out dead patches you will allow space for new stems to grow. Last year’s annuals will be long gone, and you may well need to fill the holes left by their demise.
You have had all winter to examine the seed catalogues and will hopefully have ordered everything you are looking to plant already. If you want to buy plants from a nearby garden centre, now is the time to see how far you can spread your budget.
Before planting anything you should ensure that your flowerbeds and other areas where you intend to plant are fully composted and fertilized – good soil will make for stronger plants. Summer bulbs, including, sidalcea and aparaxis can be planted in the early spring, and will continue to flower throughout the summer.
Take a look at how much work keeping your garden in trim will take. Try to be realistic as far as what you will be able to do is concerned; it is no use buying all the beautiful plants you have seen at the local horticultural show if you have neither the time nor energy to maintain them.
Most lawns look rather sad in the early spring, and you may need to lay down some new turf or grass seed to cover any nasty yellow patches or gaps in the lawn. Once the new growth is ready and there hasn’t been any prolonged rain, you will be able to give your grass its first cut.
If ants have decided to colonize in your lawn, one trick is to lay treacle over the nest; this will kill the ants well before summer, and it is relatively child friendly. You can also buy a commercial ant killer from the local garden centre, but make sure that any area where it is used is fenced off from children and pets until the nests have been eradicated.
In preparation for the summer, April and May are the best months to clean and, if necessary, re-paint your garden furniture. Check the barbeque to make sure that all is in working order. Pop up gazebo should be inspected at this time as well to ensure that they are ready for the long summer months. If you have a pond or water feature, make sure that the filters are all working and clear the water of any algae or debris.
If you are looking for some extra lighting in your garden, try draping some fairy lights around your trees, but make sure that you aren’t damaging any new growth. Solar lights are also an excellent investment and can really cheer up the garden; they are environmentally sound too.
Once the hard work is finished, all that will be left to do is to sit in your garden and enjoy the beauty you have created.