By now, provided we haven’t had a sudden cold spell, the gardens will be shooting out everywhere, so time to get the tools out in earnest. Try to get rid of weeds while still small. Annual weeds can be composted, provided they have no seeds but perennial weeds like the dreaded bindweed must be dealt with either by binning or burning them as the slightest bit of root will re- generate. As perennials start to grow, they can be lifted and split to make new plants to fill in spaces. If you don’t need more, then pass them on to friends or plant stalls. It is a good idea to start putting supports in now before they make too much growth. Hostas should be split before they leaf up. Slugs will love all the new shoots, so protect them if possible. An article I read recently, didn’t offer much help from most leading slug protection. However a garlic spray offered some protection, so here is the recipe.
2 bulbs of garlic, boiling 2 pints of water, cool and strain. Bottle the liquid. dilute 1tbsp in I gallon of water and apply with a fine rose on the watering can. Good Luck!
Cut back varieties of Cornus or Salix which have been grown for winter stem colour and they will produce new stems for next winter. Finish potting up begonias and dahlia corms and rhizomes so that you will have nice sturdy plants to put in later.
As daffodil flowers die, pinch off the seedheads but leave the leaves to die back naturally. This will provide food to bulk up the bulbs for next year. If you took half hardy plant cuttings last year( fuchsia and geranium), pot them on now into individual pots and keep them lightly watered to encourage growth. Start growing annual flower seeds as well and plug plants will also be available in the garden centres and nurseries. This is a good way of buying a selection of container plants at a cheaper price, providing you have the space and can keep them at a slightly higher temperature.
If you grow your own runner beans, you will need to dig a trench now, and fill it with shredded paper, garden compost etc. This will help to retain moisture when you plant in May. If it is dry enough you could start to prepare a seed bed for sowing lettuce, radish, carrots etc. If the ground is too wet, they could be started off in modules. After the very wet winter we have had, it will be a good idea too add a general fertiliser too the garden as the weather will have washed away a lot of the nutrients in the soil.
If you are new to gardening or just need ideas why not come along to The Broadstone Horticultural Society meetings on the second Tuesday of the month in the War Memorial Hall, Tudor Rd Broadstone at 7.30. Among subjects coming up are ‘Year Round Scented Plants’, ‘Fresh Ideas for Baskets and Containers’ and ‘The Bee Friendly Garden’. You will be very welcome to this friendly society.