Spring not only brings splashes of colour and breathes new life into every plant but also creates a lot more activity in the garden. New shoots emerge, birds love to sing, bees are out looking for nectar and every bit of land that gets moist seems to be exploding with life!
This time of the year can become most rewarding for a gardener as everything seems to be favouring the new growth. The secret of stunning spring gardens is to carry out gardening tasks in the right way and at the right time. To set your timings right, divide spring gardening jobs in three stages: early, mid and late spring.
Weather patterns have become uncertain in recent years, which have made it difficult to know accurately when the shift in weather takes place. Check your local weather before sowing seeds for spring flowers. Air temperature should also be observed. Early sowing can be started indoors to avoid dangers of frost or rain.
Once you are certain that winters have passed and it has started to get a bit warmer outside, take cuttings for multiplying your plants. It’s now time to prune your roses and other shrubs to encourage new and faster growth. Include flowers that will invite wildlife into your garden. You do not want to spend spring without hummingbirds, bees and butterflies!
There is more colour in the garden as the temperature is getting warmer and the cuttings are growing fast. This is the time when the young cuttings need most of your attention. Protect them from strong winds and heavy showers which can be devastating. You can now bring out your seedlings into the sun and sow some more for continuous display of colours throughout the spring.
Your garden will love to be fed with organic fertiliser at this point as it needs energy to grow and to produce flowers. Home-made compost or used tea leaves/tea bags and eggshells will be best.
Early sowing can be planted out into the pots or into the ground now as temperatures have settled. Give special attention to watering patterns. Weeds can become a major problem in spring if they are not taken care of before they set flower and seed. Use mulch to discourage weed growth and to retain the moisture of the soil.
Keep your eyes open for any possible bug attack. Aphids multiply surprisingly fast as temperatures get warmer. Regular inspection will help you avoid use of pesticide and keep your plants healthy. Even if things get out of control, use organic pesticides or take advantage of companion plantations to repel pests from your plants.
• Save seeds for next season.
• Use pruning to make compost.
• Install bird feeders to encourage more birds to get into the true spring spirit.
• Experiment with garden designs. Make hanging arrangements, container or patio garden, flower beds, hedges, plant out climbers or simply grow flowers around the tree.
• Do not forget to plant your summer vegetables. Happy Spring!
Published in The Express Tribune, March 13th, 2011.