Spring 2020 has officially been recorded as the sunniest on record! The sunshine together with the lockdown has given a lot of us the opportunity to spend more time in our gardens than ever before. Gardening can sometimes feel like the chore that needs to be completed before you can relax, but I hope you have been able to stop and enjoy the nature around us and here are a few tips to make the gardening easier so there is more time for the sitting back and relaxing!
We’ve had hardly any rain in the last 3 months. Water in the morning or evenings and only water the plants that really need it: veggies, pots and newly planted plants. Lawns and established plants shouldn’t need watering (unless we have a drought) so focus your time on the ones that do. Veggies and pots might need watering everyday but new plants should be ‘drenched’ a couple of times a week rather than given ‘a splash’ every day; this encourages root growth downwards into the soil.
The one task I get asked about all the time is pruning! What to prune? When to prune? Trees should be left alone until the bird nests are empty. A good way to remember when to prune what shrub is when they flower. If they flower before May (Forsythia, Lilac, Camellias) you prune them straight after flowering. Any shrubs that flower after May you leave till the Wintertime (Roses, Fuchsia, Hydrangeas).
Although we’ve had lots of sunshine, we have had some cold nights as late as the end of May. It should be safe though to bring Summer bedding out from undercover now. Before planting them out, give them a bit of time to acclimatise to their new conditions by bringing them outside during the day and still protecting them at night. This is called ‘hardening off’ and it allows the plants to get used to their new conditions rather than having a big shock! A good tip is to plant up any hanging baskets or pots and move them in and out as a whole!
Renée is a local gardener and designer also known as The Girl who Gardens. For more hints and tips join her Community Group ‘Gorgeous Gardeners’ on Facebook.