Looking outside the window, at this rather frosty moment, you wouldn’t imagine March and April to be the busiest of months in the garden but usually they are.
March and April are the months when you re-organise, sow, mulch, dig, prune and plant before the growing season really takes hold. In fact there can be so much to do you can get pretty daunted by it.
Don’t though. No need.
Gardening should always be easy. If it’s too hard, or there is too much to do in one month and not enough in others you’ll soon get really stressed about it and begin to hate your garden or you’ll just get the work done the first month and simply not bother after that.
Add to that the ever changing weather (or weather that just seems to stay the same at the moment – yes I’m taking about you freezing temperatures), it’s no wonder you can’t enjoy the space you have.
Eight hints & tips
So below I’ve put together some tips I’ve learnt along the way to help me get the most out of out garden while making sure I have enough time to actually enjoy it – what ever the weather.
- Function. Is the garden doing what you want it to do? Is there a play area for the kids, or is it filled with huge borders to bring flowers and scent in the warm summer months, to be looked and admired at? If you’re looking out on just a lawn then that’s fine also but do you need a lawn? Are you keeping a nice green lush lawn to play on or to look at?
- Time to give. A nice lawn is one thing but I’ve discovered it’s quite hard to maintain. So I’ve kept our lawn to a minimum for the purpose of playing on it with Mouse in the summer months. If you’re spending all your time just maintaining an area then it might be time to look at redesigning it.
- Growing stuff. Don’t grow what you don’t like. There is really no point growing lettuce if you never eat it, just because the packet said it was easy to grow. You’ll be more likely to look after something you like and enjoy, regardless of it being flower or veg.
- Don’t feel bad about buying bedding plants. In my RHS training I was pretty much told that bedding plants were only good for municipal areas. Rubbish. If you like pansies, buy them and plant them. They look great, easy to maintain and once they finish flowering you can dig them up, compost them and move on.
- String and secateurs. Keep these two pieces of equipment to hand and within easy reach. With them you can pretty much do anything to tidy up plants and shrubs. I use my secateurs for anything from edging my lawn to opening bags of compost.
- Water once and water well. Don’t spend every day watering. Either break the watering up into sections or do the whole lot on the same day but give everything a really good soaking.
- Climate. Just because the seed packet says to sow at a certain time that you have to. If in doubt, always wait for the frosts to be over before planting outside. And if you suddenly get to Aug and realise you haven’t planted anything then don’t worry, there is always something that can be planted at any time of the year.
- Weeding. There is never a need for weed killer. If you don’t like weeding then you’ve really only got two choices. Either don’t allow the weeds space or light to grow (pack the boarder out with flowers/ gravel the area), or learn to tolerate and enjoy the weeds as their own special plant. I had wild poppies growing all over last year in my old raised bed (see picture above), but because I knew I wouldn’t need the bed that year I just let the poppies do there thing. It filled the garden not only with some beautiful colours but also provided an area for pollinators to use, and I didn’t have to do a thing. Once they died down I just pulled them up before the seed heads opened.
That’s just a few of my tips. There are an absolute ton out there on the intranet to behold.
What I’d really like to know is – what is your number one gardening tip?