Get set for spring gardening

As drifts of cheery yellow daffodils start to appear, brighter days are on the way as spring officially begins on Saturday 20th March 2021…

A busy time in the gardeners’ calendar, once the chance of frost has passed, now is the perfect time to head outside and get growing. Dobbies garden centre the UK’s leading garden centre retailer is on hand to help you make the most of your garden, however big or small – from balconies to patios or flower bed filled back gardens.

Whether you’re just finding your green fingers or an accomplished grower, there is plenty to keep you busy on your doorstep this spring.

Resident gardening expert and Horticultural Director at Dobbies, Marcus Eyles, shares his top jobs for the start of the spring gardening season:

  1. Garden spring clean – After a wet and windy winter, it’s time to take on the disarray of leaves and unkept sheds and get them tidy, ready for the return of the warmer gardening tasks. Declutter garden sheds, rake fallen leaves from lawns and give garden furniture a clean, making sure this is cleaned according to the manufacturer’s guidelines.
  2. Pick up the paintbrush – Take the opportunity to give the fence a fresh coat of stain for the new season, or even a fresh lick of paint to transform the overall look and feel of your garden. This is a nice job on a mild sunny afternoon, just be sure to check the weather forecast so you can plan painting around at least a few dry days either side.
  3. Prepare soil – Prepare your soil for the growing season by working in a layer of around 5cm of manure to flower and vegetable beds.
  4. Plant up – In terrace gardens, plant pots, hanging baskets and window boxes with a cheerful display of early season bedding plants including Pansies, Violas and potted bulbs. One of the most economical ways to fill your tubs and baskets with colour this coming summer, is to grow your own bedding plants from young plants available now. Grow on under cover until all frosts have passed.
  5. Get summer bulbs ready – Spring is the perfect time to plant your beautiful summer flowering bulbs such as Gladiolus and Lilies. Dahlias and Begonias should also be started now too, however these should be started off in pots under the protection of any early spring frost, in a greenhouse or potting shed.
  6. Grow your own – Plant soft fruit now, such as Raspberries, Blackcurrants and Blueberries. Mulch existing rows of Raspberry canes and fruit bushes. Plant Rhubarb remembering to allow enough room for them to develop to their full size. Add a thick layer of farmyard manure around your new plant to help retain moisture and keep weeds at bay.
  7. Welcome feathered friends – Birds are an important part of a garden’s ecosystem and are easy to attract with feeding and shelter. No bird friendly garden is complete without a bird feeder or table, which you can then fill with nuts, seeds and homemade fat balls
Beginner gardener?
My advice is start simple. Gardening research can be great fun as there are amazing books, blogs and Instagram accounts out there for inspiration. Create a shopping list and don’t be nervous to ask questions!
Rewild and watch for wildlife
We have seen the rise in popularity of ‘rewilding’ gardens, where neat and manicured lawns have been replaced with a desire to create more natural, wildlife friendly habitats to attract garden insects, hedgehogs, bees, butterflies and birds.
One approach is to create one ‘wild area’ in your garden, where you leave plants that are often cut down to grow, such as stinging nettles which provide a home for moths and butterflies. Small changes made by many can make a big difference.
Why not spend a spring morning outside on wildlife watch with youngsters, taking pictures of what you spot and keeping a tally of all the different types of garden wildlife – from ladybugs to caterpillars, it’s a fun game for little explorers and a great way to get them engaged in the natural world that’s around them.
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