Summer is approaching, and now that we’ve had a few weeks of sporadic sunny weather, we’re reminded of the happy memories we were able to create in our gardens over the years. The difference is that this summer will be the first in two years that we will be able to enjoy our gardens, unfettered by safety concerns, with friends and family.
Although June may seem a long way off, it’s important to remember that from April 1st you’ll be able to welcome members of one other household into your home. As such, we’ve prepared some suggestions on how to get a head start on your garden maintenance and beauty jobs in time for the rest of spring and the start of summer.
March, as we mentioned briefly in our previous blog on patio gardens, is also a crucial month for planting since many of the flowering plants we enjoy from June to August must be planted now to ensure they bloom in time.
We’ll begin with a shortlist of popular summer bloomers, where to plant them in March, and how to care for them going forward.
5 Summer Bloomers
A key consideration when planting in March is whether you’ll be able to house anything indoors. This is because, as we are now learning, March can be a fickle month with regards to temperature and rainfall. Often referred to as ‘Fool’s Spring’, initial bouts of sunshine can abruptly revert back to showers and freezing weather, so just to be safe, we’ve only suggested hardy varieties for your planting.
- Echinacea: Hardy perennial flowers that are happy to be sown directly into the soil, however, they will perform best under glass initially. Our advice is to plant them in a tray of rich, well-drained soil and ensure that they get full sun throughout the day.
- Lupin: A tall plant that produces cascading blooms in brightly coloured columns, due to its height you’ll want to plant these in positions with good wind shelter. Similarly to our previous perennial, Lupins prefer moist, well-drained soil and plenty of sunlight.
- Achillea: Another perennial, however, unlike other entries, they like their soil on the dry side so if you have a lot of clay in your garden you’ll want to work some grit or sand into the beds before planting. As always, the more sun, the better.
- Borage: Moving onto annuals, Borage was revered by the ancient Romans for its medicinal qualities and as a bonus, it is highly attractive to bees. Moreover, this annual is not at all picky about soil types, light, heavy, sand, clay, acid, or alkaline, given a bit of sunlight, it guarantees your garden a flash of muted blue in mid-summer.
- Wildflowers: You can buy these in mixes or ‘seed bombs’, they are very hardy and, like Borage, attractive to wildlife. However, there is a huge variety of British wildflowers species and while they are generally low-maintenance, you’ll want to do a little research into which seeds are best suited to your specific aspect and soil.
Garden jobs for March
It’s not just planting that you can get ahead of in March, there are myriad jobs of every size and shape that can contribute to your outdoor spring clean and save you excess labour later on.
Plant care and maintenance tips
- Check tender new stems for aphids and remove them.
- Mow the lawn that will now be regrowing after winter.
- Weeding! Painstaking as it may be, thoroughly clearing your beds of weeds is one of the best ways to ensure the health and vitality of your plants.
- Continue deadheading spring flowers to make space for new blooms.
General garden upkeep
- Compost your soil beds once you’ve finished weeding them, and turn them as well to prepare them for new additions later down the line.
- Speaking of compost, while the weather is still wet consider either turning your compost heap or adding one to your garden. These are great investments as they’ll save you money at the garden centre in years to come while also reducing your food waste output.
- With the lawn under control, tidy up the borders of your beds. This will help to spot weeds you may have missed on the fringes.
- If you use a greenhouse, the end of March is a good time to start removing any insulation inside since rising temperatures will make this redundant.
- Consider placing bird and bug boxes throughout your garden to attract new families of wildlife throughout the spring.
- A rain barrel is also an excellent investment at this time of year. It allows you to turn our miserable spring weather to your advantage by creating reserves of water for the much hotter months later this year. As climate change progresses, we can expect longer and more frequent heatwaves in the UK, luckily a rain barrel can help protect your garden in times of drought.
Great garden design is as much about anticipation as it is inspiration or perspiration, taking time to plan ahead will always pay dividends in the long run and we hope that the advice we’ve given here can help you plan intelligently and for the resulting summer garden you desire.