Late Spring in the Garden

The cheerful spring colours of daffodils, mimosa, anemones, and primulas and the contrasting white snowdrops are almost over, and we start to see the more fragrant, softer pinks through blues to lilac flowers of Cherry Blossom, Bluebells and Syringa with the backdrops of new, fresh green leaves.

Your late Winter/early Spring flowering plants will need tidying up and require your attention to make sure that they replenish their nutrients for a good show next year. Tulips and Daffodils may be dead headed, but don’t take off the leaves until they die back. The green leaves will continue to nourish the bulbs by photosynthesis; there may not be enough energy, so apply a feed to replenish the bulbs.

Spring flowering shrubs like the fragrant Skimmia, Forsythia. Genista, Ribes and Spiraea all need to be pruned to maintain a good shape and to encourage them to flower next year.

Any plants like Peonies, Fuchsia, Olive or Citrus trees that you have kept protected under glass over the winter may be gradually acclimatised and toughened up by putting them out into the daytime sunshine and rain and bringing them in at night until the last threat of frost.

The days are getting longer and often sunnier, therefore warmer, but the adage, ‘don’t cast a clout (cloak/coat) until May is out’ is because often there are frosty mornings that affect our gardens. Don’t be fooled and put your tender bedding plants out before the frosts finish. They will need replacing. Traditionally, ‘Bedding Weekend’ has been the second Bank Holiday of the month. So let this be a guide and watch the weather forecasts. For the last three years the last frost was much earlier than usual. However, four years ago the last frost was at the beginning of June.

The secret to keeping on top of your garden is to keep weeding during this season of fast new growth! The warmer days and the rain are the perfect conditions for many of the weeds that you don’t want to take hold of the ground. Persistent weeding now will pay dividends during the warmer summer months. The easiest way to do this is to keep hoeing the weed seedlings and stopping them taking hold as they pop up. It may be every day, but you can start to enjoy pottering and mastering what grows in your garden in the lengthening evenings.