Although Spring officially begins around the 21st March, there can be encouraging signs as early as the middle of February or the season can be delayed until April. Keen gardeners are usually quick to take advantage of whatever nature decides, completing plenty of chores to help ease the burden of a heavy workload as the weeks progress. However, make time to appreciate the early blooms of snowdrops, daffodils, hyacinths and muscari.
Spring cleaning the flower borders is an enjoyable task on warmer days when the sun can even encourage a few bees out of hibernation to keep you company. Fork over the soil removing weeds and debris. Resist the temptation to dismantle compost heaps until later in spring in case there are any frogs or toads still hibernating in them. Prune away the stems of perennials that have withered in the winter frosts to allow space for the fresh, new growth that should be visible at the base. It’s an ideal opportunity to split up any overgrown clumps of perennials such as phlox, golden rod or hardy geraniums. Delphiniums benefit from being split every three years or so. Lift the entire plant then use two forks placed back to back through the centre and prise the clump apart. Some larger plants can be split into four and replanted in different areas. It’s an economic way to increase the stocks of plants in your garden.
Late February to early March is the time to prune summer flowering shrubs such as spiraea and potentilla. Reduce the bushes to a height of four or five inches from the ground and prune to form a low, rounded mound. There are usually signs of buds or leaves beginning to open but pruning now enables the new growth of shrubs such as spiraea Goldflame to remain vibrant and vigorous. The potentillas such as Abbotswood and Red Ace often remain in a dormant state until late spring but treating them to a trim now will ensure they will be looking their best in the summer. Don’t prune spring flowering shrubs of forsythia and redcurrant until much later when their blooms have faded otherwise next year’s flowers will be lost.
If there are no signs of frost, plant summer flowering bulbs such as gladioli and ornamental lilies to a depth of three times the height of the bulbs. Arrange them in groups of three or five and mark the spot with a stick or tag to prevent accidentally unearthing them later. The flowers of winter snowdrops begin to fade as the temperature increases signalling the best time to transplant them while their foliage is still in the green. Snowdrops appreciate a rich, moist soil that contains plenty of leaf litter so avoid planting them in areas that become dry. Spring is perfect for seeking the help of Garden Club London when redesigning your garden.