Gardening: Changing the bedding... time for a spring clean!
PUBLISHED: 19:30 18 March 2016
As the days are getting longer, and the hours of daylight are making a real change to the gardens, I start to get itchy fingers.
The urge for new growth takes over - the desire to see colour splashed across the garden gets stronger every day. The cheery yellow of the daffodils reminds me of the difference that some colour can make.
During the long winter months, the want and need for any colour at all, is great. Now that we have had the pure white of the snowdrops, and the life-affirming brush-stroke of sunshine yellow which now adorns the flower beds, it awakens inside me the memory of summer days spent in the garden.
It is the mixture of different colours that truly makes a garden special - the random combinations of pinks, reds, blues – all coming together to create an incredible tapestry.
There is just one problem. I am impatient. I have always been impatient – to the extent of waking at 4 in the morning one Easter Sunday, excited for my Easter egg… my mum has never believed that I was more excited than Christmas.
It doesn’t matter what I’m waiting for really – it’s just the anticipation that gets to me! The garden is no different, and waiting for the seasons to change, bringing with them the fruit of summer goodness, makes me more impatient than most things.
Luckily, there is always something beautiful to entertain me in the garden – something to distract myself from the infernal wait.
Last weekend, after having looked with disappointment upon the flower bed at the front of my house for some weeks – drab, and lifeless, and uninspiring, I finally decided that it was time to do something about it.
My long-suffering other half suggested a trip to the garden centre to find some winter bedding to brighten it up a bit.
I didn’t need asking twice, and within an hour we were up to our eyeballs in beautiful, colourful spring bedding plants – a mixture of primroses, heathers, and hellebores to brighten up the front of the house.
By the time it grew dark, the border had been completely transformed. We were both covered in soil, and in much need of a bath to warm-up (gardening can be a test of endurance against the elements sometimes!!), but the plants looked so cheerful and spring-like that it was all worth it.
Sometimes it’s hard to think about taking on a whole flower bed. The one we tackled ran underneath the whole front of the house – but it was a fairly blank canvas.
Bigger borders can be more daunting, and it can also be expensive to buy enough plants to make a difference.
Filling the trolley with plants at the garden centre felt as though we weren’t going to have anywhere near enough plants to make a difference.
When we got home and placed them a good distance apart, making sure that there was colour evenly spread throughout the bed, they had a massive impact even though there were still gaps of soil in between them. They’re not a long term fix – the bed needs more shrubs, but for now, they provide some brightness whilst we still have the last few dark rainy days.
If you are thinking of making some changes in your garden – you don’t have to tackle it all at once – just add a few winter bedding plants here and there, and it will make all the difference!
Focus on: Easter trees
Although not strictly gardening, I couldn’t resist making mention of Easter trees as a means of bringing some of your garden into the house.
Growing in popularity in recent years, the predominantly German tradition of “Easter Trees” is a lovely way of bringing some spring greenery into the house for the Easter weekend.
In my family, we have been doing this for years – my aunt had a German penpal back in the 6’0s, and for as long as I can remember, she would always have a spring of spring greenery in a jug on the table over the Easter weekend.
Hanging from the branches of this – were tiny wooden eggs, easter bunnies, and chicks.
Last year on a visit to Copenhagen, I bought a whole load of decorations for my own tree, and I’m really looking forward to selecting a suitable twig from the garden to hang them from.
For me, Easter is a lovely opportunity to celebrate new life, new beginnings, and the start of a new growing season.
Hopefully the Easter weekend weather will be kind to us, and all of you will have a chance to get outside and make the most of your gardens!
Things to do in your garden this month...
You can well and truly start mowing your lawn now. Mine had its first proper cut last week – and the difference it’s made is astounding. I always feel that the house looks bigger when it’s been vacuumed – and mowing the lawn seems to have the same effect on the garden!
Divide any clumps of perennials that you think are taking over an area. If a plant is doing well and seems to be dominating an area, it can be a good way of stopping it from taking over, but also gives you another plant to put somewhere else in the garden for free!
Keep opening up the door to the greenhouse on warmer days – I keep hoping we’ll get some!
Get your summer-flowering bulbs into the garden.