Gardening Blog: Spring clean your garden with Kate Gould
PUBLISHED: 10:54 15 February 2015
Gardens, especially small ones, look the most pleasing when they are swept and tidy (unless the style of the garden is a relaxed and unstructured wild flower haven) but with the modern pace of life time spent tidying your garden can be in short supply. Realistically there may be more pressing tasks to attend to and time for gardening may be at a premium.
If you find this is the case why not try this approach? Choose a nice sunny spring day and put aside a couple of hours to tidy and sweep away the remnants of the winter garden debris.
Plants often look weather beaten at this time of year but as soon as the perennials are neatly cut down to the ground their appearance is improved almost in seconds.
Shrubs such as hydrangea can be fairly quickly cut and tidied, as can roses.
No garden is maintenance free and although perennials look like hard work they are often much less maintenance than you think.
After cutting back and mulching them now there is very little to do throughout the rest of the summer.
If you can at this time, add in pea stakes or canes to support any plants that might need it (Campanula, Delphinium, Phlox are such cases) as it will prevent difficulty later on in the year when selecting points to push in supports amongst the foliage will be challenging.
With the climate as it has been of late one of the most important jobs to do when the weather improves is to feed the garden using a slow release granular organic fertilizer.
The rainfall throughout winter will have leached nutrients out of the soil and so feeding your plants will not only encourage strong growth but flowers too and a well tended and fed plant is one that is less likely to succumb to problems later in the year.
After that is completed, the next sunny day on which you can spare a couple of hours might be well spent cleaning the patio.
No matter how well thought out, any external hard landscaping will be subjected to all the elements mother nature can throw at it and there will be times when simply brushing and washing down your patio doesn’t get it as clean as it could be.
There are a multitude of chemical and ‘green’ products on the market to clean stone and you should of course always read the label and try a test patch first regardless of which product you purchase.
Some such as Patio Magic provides really good effects on sandstone and man made paving.
It is a product that can be diluted and watered on, there is no scrubbing or brushing and even if effects are not perhaps immediate, the gentle cleaning effect keeps on working through the year.
The maintenance of your garden shouldn’t be a chore, it should be something you enjoy and want to do if you want to actively garden your space rather than employ a maintenance gardener.
Whichever approach you take the time spent in cleaning and tidying should always be worth the time you spend in the garden after enjoying the fruits of your labours.
Kate Gould is an award winning garden designer with more than a decade’s hands-on experience transforming gardens of all sizes and a regular exhibitor at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show where she has been awarded three Gold medals.