If you enjoy gardening winter seems a long, tough period as there's not a great deal that can be done in the garden, unless you have a greenhouse in which to spend time. Spring is arriving now though and it time to get ready for those early sprig gardening jobs. The days are getting a little longer and sunlight brighter and warmer and your thoughts may well be turning towards gardening and getting on with tidying your patch or bedding in some plants. If you're unsure where to begin your spring gardening, check out the following tips:
Clear flowerbeds and borders ready for planting. Pick up leaves and dead matter and start to cut back old growth on grasses and perennials. You can tidy up garden pests as you go along as this will make it much easier to keep on top of pest problems in warmer months
If you don't have a compost bin or composting area then create one. Any square, boxed area is ideal for composting and it's an easy matter to build your own compost box. It's a great place for tossing all the garden waste as you work and you'll learn to appreciate all the benefits of the wonderful, rich compost you create.
Clean and sharpen garden tools so they're ready for use. If you take out all your garden tools now, you can get blades sharpened before you need to put the tools into regular use.
Check out fences, trellis and gates and fix any areas of slight concern while the garden's in dormant stage.
When weather's dry paint fences, if needed. Spring is ideal for fence painting because shrubs and plants tend to be mostly dormant so you won't be fighting the greenery while you're working or treading on any valuable plants which are beginning to show signs of growth.
Plant out spring flowering plants like primulas, dwarf iris, polyanthus, pansies and miniature daffodils now. You may have pots of flowering plants in the home which have given you pleasure through these first early months of the year, you can plant these direct into the garden so they continue to show their bright heads every spring
Start weeding flower beds and borders to get an early start on this regular job and help make it easier to keep the borders tidy over summer and autumn months
Cut the lawn when weather's good enough. Set the mower to the highest possible cut and start taming your lawn early. Consider feeding the grass if it's not looking in great shape
Move any shrubs that you want to place elsewhere. If you've got larger bushes and don't like their current position, consider moving them to new locations. It's best to move them while they are dormant as they will find it easier to establish their roots and hopefully they will continue to flower during the year
Spend time checking through seed catalogues, nursery brochures and visiting local garden centres so you can decide on your plantings for summer. You may want to get bulbs now and plant them in the borders ready for summer or autumn flowering this year
Of course, if you have the advantage of a greenhouse or sunny windowsill you can use these early spring days to start growing seeds for your summer bedding and vegetable or salad patch. Once you start checking out the range of plants you can establish during spring you'll be surprised just how much work you can start now, giving you a headstart when it comes to establishing your plantings and beds in warmer months.