Finally, the days are lengthening and the weather’s improving. Outside, plants are waking up after their long winter sleep and starting to respond to the mixture of sunshine and showers we get at the time of year.
It’s time to get outdoors and start the spring jobs, ready to reap the rewards in summer with a glorious profusion of flowers. Even if you only have a small outside space with enough room for a few pots, now’s the time to start planting out – so grab your gloves and trowel and get stuck in.
Clear any remaining dead leaves from beds to give young shoots more light. Now’s the time to get on top of the weeding, while the soil’s still soft from recent rain and weeds haven’t had time to get really established. In particular, take out any perennial weeds such as nettles, dandelions or brambles.
These keep themselves alive over the winter by storing nutrients in their roots, and are much easier to remove before they really start to have a growth spurt.
Dig in a layer of compost or manure, ready for the growing season. Roses in particular like a lot of nutrients, so feed them by digging a specialist fertiliser around their roots to encourage a better display of blooms.
If you have any clumps of perennial plants like ornamental daisies, hostas or primroses, lift them (dig them up carefully) and divide into two or more clumps.
Replant each clump to make new plants. It’s also worth planting the new clumps in different areas around the garden to see what growing conditions they prefer.
Spring can still see the odd late frost, so don’t take bedding plants out of the greenhouse until later in the season.
Clear out any old compost left in pots and start again. Put a layer of broken stones or pot in the bottom as help drainage, then fill the pot half full with a good quality multipurpose compost.
Add summer flowering bulbs such as lilies, alliums and gladioli and fill up with compost. Water the bulbs in, make sure the pot’s got some sun and once the shoots start to sprout, feed them with a liquid feed.
If you still got any early indoor flowering bulbs, such as daffodils or hyacinths, cut off dead flowers and plant them outdoors, ready for next year. Deadhead outdoor daffodils but let the foliage die back naturally.
It’s still a little early for planting, but you can sow trays of herb seeds such as parsley either in a greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill. Repair any bald patches of lawn with grass seed.
General garden jobs
Check that garden furniture has survived over the winter, particularly if it was stored outside and not covered. Carry out any repairs, give it a good wash and, if wood, give it a coat of oil or paint.
Clear paths, stone pots, steps and driveways of moss, either with moss killer or by pressure washing. Give your bird table and nesting boxes an overhaul, ready for breeding season.