The jobs to do in your garden right now
Last updated Mar 27, 2024

Laura Weatherhead started her career designing and developing products for the horticultural and agricultural markets. She has utilised her knowledge of plant physiology to turn her passion into a career and she can usually be found tinkering in gardens and sharing her experience of garden maintenance and design with others. Here she shares with The Stray Ferret how to get your garden spring-ready…

Spring is the opportune time to get your garden in order. Soon we will be spending a lot more time outdoors; the longer days, the glimpses of sunshine and the warmer temperatures help to remind us of what’s to come – especially when the carpets of crocuses in their lilac, white and lemon hues start to pop up along The Stray in Harrogate.

And spring is when our gardens really start to come alive; it’s now that the gardener is really called into action, and whether it’s yourself or a professional, here are some of the key jobs to be doing to get your garden spring-ready so that you can enjoy it in all its glory now and in the months ahead.

(Lilac and white crocuses)

Time for a spring clean: prune, tidy and plant

Most plants in our gardens are just starting to wake from a period of dormancy and now that the chance of a morning frost is almost in the distant past, it’s the perfect time to seize the moment to prune and tidy any shrubs.

By doing this now you will be able to shape and size any species that have been left to their own devices that may have become leggy and woody. Commonly found plants including buddleias, roses, salvias and dogwoods will thank you for doing this as they will bloom with denser, healthier floral displays later in the year.

Spring bulbs will continue to flower for the coming month or so, and to keep the colours vibrant in your garden be sure to remove any deadheads as they form. This is also a great time to plant any bulbs from Mother’s Day arrangements – for example, hyacinths, tulips and daffodils – so that they can be enjoyed in years to come.

(Spring hyacinth and primrose)

Green, green grass: get your lawn in order

For many of us a lawn makes up a fundamental part of our garden space, and March is an ideal time to give it some TLC. Much of Harrogate’s land sits on a clay soil base; for many of us this means our gardens are a little boggy after the wet winter months. As the drier weather arrives, give your lawn its first mow.

March is also an ideal time to apply a lawn treatment; a combination of weed, feed and seed replenishment will benefit any lawn. Slow growth rates will give your lawn the chance to establish itself before you need to mow again.

If you are feeling particularly energetic, a narrow-toothed rake will remove moss and dead organic matter, providing new growth with more space and improved aeration, or to make the job easier, you could always use an electric scarifier.

(Potted hyacinth display)

Spring colour: it’s not too late to pick up plants from your garden centre

If you’ve forgotten to plant spring bulbs, don’t worry – you’re probably not alone. Planting bulbs in the darker colder months isn’t for everyone and doesn’t mean you have to miss out on the early spring colours in your garden.

There are many species that are hardy enough to withstand the harsher weather conditions that can easily be picked up at most garden centres from now onwards. You may even be able to grab yourself a bargain with end of season heathers that will keep flowering for months to come.

Planting species like campanula and violas will provide the benefit of being winter hardy, and they flower generously throughout spring, covering ground effectively once established. Primroses will also continue to flower for the coming months and can add a well needed pop of colour.

It’s worth remembering – it’s not only flowers that come to life in spring, but weeds too. One of the simplest ways to spend less time on weeding is to fill your soil space with plants.

(Summer hydrangea display)

Think ahead: plant now for summer colour

There’s no better way for gardeners old and new to gather inspiration than to visit garden centres and stores, often resulting in many of us bringing new plants back home with us. Harrogate has a fantastic selection of garden centres including the nationally recognised RHS Harlow Carr, as well as smaller centres such as Horticap.

Any time from late March is a good time to plant new perennials in our gardens, but before you do, it’s a good idea to think about what you would like to achieve in your garden; from plant size, flowering period, colour and scent, alongside where you would like to achieve it; think sun exposure and soil conditions.

It’s also an ideal time to plant summer flowering bulbs like gladioli, alliums and lilies, to name but a few. There’s something for everyone when it comes to bulbs but remember to consider the size and positioning before choosing where to plant them in your border or container.

And finally…

Springtime is very much a period of activity in our gardens; whether we’re inspired by warmer, sunnier days, or whether you’re the organised gardener who’s working with nature’s calendar.

Spring gardening brings a wealth of reward later in the year, so I hope this brings you some inspiration to dust off those secateurs. And while you’re active in the garden, don’t forget that it’s not too late to sign up for your garden waste collection service via the North Yorkshire Council website; read more about it here.

Happy gardening everybody.

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