Wiltshire Publications

Spring Gardening

This entry was posted on Tuesday, March 13th, 2018 at 10:15 am.

Top tips for starting early

Whether you have a large garden, small garden or just a window box, spring is an exciting time for any gardener as you start preparations for the summer ahead.

Over the last few months, your garden has taken a beating from the harsh winter weather, including the snow, and deserves a bit of TLC. As we enter spring, hibernation comes to an end and you can start preparations to wake your garden up, ready to create something beautiful for the summer.

Now is the perfect time to freshen up your garden. Turn over the soil, give your lawn its first haircut of the year, set out and create illustrious pathways or clean up your old ones. Whether you decide to create a perfectly landscaped garden, or go wild with an organised-messy country cottage feel now is the time to revamp and re-energise your haven.

Perhaps you’ve looked outside each year and thought of a lovely patio, decking area, conservatory – or even a swimming pool! Why not call a local company for a quote and find out if your dream garden project can be turned into reality?

Spring is the time for sorting out your garden mowers and equipment, perhaps having them serviced before the busy growing season.

If time isn’t on your side or the thought seems overwhelming, take a look at local businesses that offer  services from lawn care, sheds, fencing, planting and cleaning, equipment servicing, patios and decking, so you can enjoy the beauty without the  effort.

It is also an ideal time to start filling the vegetable patch. If you’re an expert gardener or a complete novice, vegetable planting can be as simple as you need it to be. Place rows of carrots, lettuce, rocket or spring onions and watch them thrive, ready for you to pick and use in the kitchen. It’s a cheaper, healthier and more beneficial way of getting your five-a-day!

If you want to start with the basics then why not try planting potatoes? They are an easy and assured way of beginning your vegetable growing journey. You can either plant them in the ground or use grow-bags.

You can pick up vegetable seeds and growing equipment from local garden centres like Barters in Chapmanslade and talk to their staff, on hand to give expert advice.

Are you worried about space? Do you live in a flat with no outside space? Gardening doesn’t have to be limited to those who have a garden the size of a football pitch.  You can grow and nurture a number of plants and create beautiful displays in smaller areas such as flat balconies or even windowsills and window boxes.

If you are stuck for floor space, why not consider growing vertically? Vegetables such as beans/peas grow upwards with support from canes or fruit, such as tomatoes, are great and work well in small containers.

Windowsills and window boxes are ideal if you want to dabble in growing your own herb garden – easily accessible for those exciting recipes and make your kitchen smell irresistible.

Gardening can also be a great family activity to help the generations bond and teach children about nature. Get the littles ones excited about growing by giving them their own patch. Start off small, with vegetables such as cress, tomatoes or potatoes. This is also a great way to get children to eat more greens, as the effort put into growing them can encourage youngsters to explore different vegetables.

Gardening is for everyone and shouldn’t be limited to the experts. It can uplift moods, keep you fit, connect you to nature, get you in the outdoors and ultimately allows you to give back to nature the same way it gives to you. Don’t be afraid to get stuck in and help will always be available to you from local businesses to create your ideal garden.

Nine ways to make your garden more wildlife friendly

The way we look after our gardens really matters. There are an estimated 16 million gardens in the UK, according to The Wildlife Trusts. Together they form a huge potential refuge for species that are declining in the wild.

Here are nine ways you can bring more nature to your backdoor:

Bird box and feeding: Birds are an important part of garden ecosystems. By installing bird boxes and feeding birds you can make sure they thrive. Put your bird box up high in a sheltered site. In spring, provide protein-rich feed, such as fat balls. Seeds are best in the winter. If cats are around place your feeder near a dense bush to provide birds with cover.

Let the grass grow: Leave your mower in the shed. Long grass is one of the rarest garden habitats. By letting some or all of your lawn grow you will make space for many plant and insect species, including butterflies and wildflowers. Leave the grass long over winter and cut it again in the spring.

Grow climbers: Ivy is a very useful plant for wildlife. Both the flowers and seeds are good sources of food and pollen. Plus, it provides year round cover for birds and insects. Clematis and roses are also excellent climbers for wildlife.

Insect hotel: Leave piles of rocks, twigs and rotting wood in your garden. This will create shelter for all sorts of important insects, such as beetles and spiders.

Pond: A pond is a real boost for wildlife. It doesn’t have to be huge. You can use a buried bucket or trough. If you do want a big pond, make sure there are stones or branches to help wildlife get in and out. Ponds are best filled with unchlorinated rainwater from a water butt. Waterlilies will help prevent it from becoming stagnant. Avoid locating it in full sun or full shade.

Compost: A compost heap is a win-win. Making and using your own compost will naturally enrich your soil. It will also provide a habitat for worms, woodlice and many other insects, including frogs and slow worms. To avoid attracting rats, only use raw food.

Fence: Don’t lock out hedgehogs and frogs. Make sure your garden fences have some gaps at the bottom. This will allow wildlife to move through from plot-to-plot. It will also help link different habitats together.

Flowers: Flowers look beautiful and bring colour and scent into your garden. They also provide food for many insects. Grow as many varieties as possible to ensure colour from spring through into autumn. Go for native species, if possible.

Weeds: Learn to relax about weeds. Plants such as nettles, daisies and buttercups are important sources of food for many insects, including butterflies and moths. They flower for a long time, whatever the weather. And so provide food when other sources might be absent.

For more information visit the National Trust on www.nationaltrust.org.uk for more hints and tips about your garden this Spring.

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