Preparing for Spring

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With plants waking up and beginning to grow, spring is time for action on all fronts. A little attention during this early growth phase will see your garden blooming for the rest of the warm season - and then some!

Preparation - Get the gumboots on ...
It's still a little early for planting in the coldest areas, but time to don the gumboots and prepare garden areas by digging over and fortifying with compost plus blood and bone. In mild frost free areas, planting can begin with gay abandon.

If heavy rain has left soil sodden, allow it to drain before working over otherwise you risk damaging soil structure.

Feed, feed, mulch and feed some more ...
Active plant growth takes loads of energy, which calls for plenty of food to fuel it. Applying blood and bone over the entire garden provides a good basis to nurture plants for the long hot summer ahead. Follow up with controlled release fertiliser for both immediate and long term feeding.

Mulch ...
Mulch every bare inch of soil to aid moisture retention over summer. Regular liquid feeding further reinforces a fertilising programme to ensure plants remain actively growing and more resistant to pests and disease.

Prune - Keeping in shape ...
While gardening is great exercise to help keep us in shape, pruning is important to keep plants in shape. Most deciduous plants will have been pruned over winter. Those that require spring pruning immediately after flowering include deciduous plants which flower on bare wood (forsythia), plus winter or early spring flowering evergreens (camellias etc).

Other evergreens including citrus, topiary and hedges can be also be trimmed now. Most evergreens will tolerate a hard 'renovation' prune in spring, but check individual varieties first.

Sowing seeds of promise ...
All summer veges and flowers can be sown now for planting out around Labour Weekend, or after all danger of frost has passed. Sow tender varieties under cover, hardy varieties direct into garden beds. Lawns can also be renovated or new lawns laid.

Flowers for summer picking ...
As we enjoy the rewards of daffodil and tulip bulbs planted in autumn, its time to plant gadioli corms and dahlia tubers to flower in summer and into next autumn.

Start planting gladioli in batches for successive flowering. Divide and replant dahlia tubers, or treat yourself to some

Dressing the decks ...
With summer on its way, it's time to pay attention to that much lived-in space that links house and garden. This can be as simple as sprucing up the plant life.

For pots, keeping things simple is a well-proven recipe for success, and one that may also save you time and money. Colourful annuals for spring pots include - pansies, polyanthus, lobelia, alyssum, cinerarias, and violas, or opt for extra longevity with Colourwave petunias or dwarf Princess Lilies Plant a fresh supply of leafy greens and herbs in containers for spring salads. It's also a good time to repot trees and shrubs that have outgrown their pots.


Look for these products, tips and advice at a Go Gardening Store near you.



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