Gardening tips for spring
Spring is an uplifting and hopeful time of year for many of us as we watch the natural world burst into life. Learn some handy gardening tips on creating blossom displays, pruning and mowing, and the types of flowers and vegetables to plant in spring.
What to plant in spring
As the weather gets warmer and the days get longer, many gardeners will be busy sowing seeds and preparing flower borders and vegetable patches. Once the soil is warm enough you can start planting potatoes and onions and sowing hardy vegetables, including broad beans, cabbages, carrots, radishes, lettuce, rocket and spinach.
March and April are good months to plant perennials, sow hardy annuals like marigolds and plant summer-flowering bulbs like lilies and gladioli. Late May is a good time to prepare your beds by removing weeds and digging and raking the soil to create a fine tilth. As daffodils and other spring bulbs die back you can start dividing crowded clumps to help spread them out next year.
Rising temperatures accelerate growth in borders and vegetable beds, so it's important to keep on top of weeds with regular hoeing. During dry spells, you should water plants at the beginning and end of the day.
Things to do in the garden during spring
Weeding and mulching
Spring is an important time for getting on top of weeds before they take light and water from the plants you want. You can also mulch your borders in early spring, provided the soil is moist, and there is still space to get in between the plants.
Prune hydrangeas in March. Look for a set of healthy strong buds and then cut the old flower heads back to just above them. For mature or congested plants you can also take out some of the older growth to encourage it to reshoot from the base.
Looking out for wildlife
When you’re gardening at this time of year, take care not to disturb nesting birds and always check carefully for them before pruning hedges or shrubs. When you tidy and cut back winter growth in spring, remember there may be insects and amphibians living there or even a hedgehog hibernating.
Leaving the lawn for pollinators
Spring is the time when we usually start mowing lawns regularly but you may decide to join the growing trend of leaving all or parts of it uncut for a few weeks at a time. This will allow clover, daisies and other species to flower and provide nectar and pollen for bees and other pollinating insects.
If you have a small garden, patio or terrace then container growing could be for you. Here are some useful tips to help you make the most out of container growing.
Choosing plants for containers
Bulbs and annuals are great for growing in containers because they can be replanted each year to create new schemes. Herbs such as parsley, basil and thyme will also grow well in pots which can be placed near the kitchen door for easy access. Many perennials and even small shrubs and trees can be grown in containers, but species choice is important so make sure you do your research before you buy.
Compost and care
Use good quality peat-free potting compost for temporary displays. For shrubs and perennials which will stay in the same compost for a while, choose one with soil in it or add your own. Plants in containers need regular watering, so ask a helpful neighbour to take care of them when you’re away.
Planting small trees for blossom
The arrival of blossom is one of many things we love about spring. Even if you have a small garden, you can create an eye-catching display of spring blossom. The key to success is choosing the right size trees or shrubs for the space you’ve got. You can buy bare-root trees and shrubs between November and March or in containers all year round. It’s best to plant them in autumn or early spring.
Choosing the best blossom tree for your garden
Personal taste, colour and smell are obvious criteria for selection, but remember to check the plant’s soil preferences and most importantly its final growing size. Even small spaces can accommodate a container shrub but remember this will need regular feeding and watering.
If you’ve got space for more than one tree, think about how they will complement each other – flowering in sequence or contrasting colours. You may want a tree with multi-season interest or one that produces fruit. Fruit tree blossom is great for pollinating insects.
Our favourite blossom trees for home gardens
- Manchurian Siberian crab apple (Malus baccata var. mandshurica)
- Dwarf Russian almond (Prunus tenella ‘Fire Hill’)
- Judas tree (Cercis siliquastrum)
- Cultivated pear (Pyrus communis)
- Kanzan cherry (Prunus 'Kanzan')
- Discovery apple (Malus domestica ‘Discovery’)
Discover top tips on getting the most from your allotment or patch, and find out why growing your own fruit and vegetables is good for you in more ways than one.
Find out how your plants can thrive without using peat-based products and learn about the changes our gardeners have made at the gardens and nurseries in our care.
The daffodil is a classic spring flower. Take expert tips from National Trust gardeners to achieve a cheery daffodil display in your own garden.
The bluebell is one of the nation's favourite wild flowers and National Trust gardeners take great care of these special plants at many of the places we look after. Discover some of their top tips for growing bluebells in your own garden.
Looking for new ways to help your local wildlife? Here are some of our top tips on how to make your garden a haven for animals, birds and insects.
Bring blossom to your garden with the National Trust native tree and hedgerow collection, created in collaboration with Blue Diamond garden centres. At least 10% of all sales will support conservation work at the places in our care.