Top five spring gardening tips

Pruning, planting and planning your spring garden

Spring is a busy time for gardeners. Get it right now and you'll be all set for the best summer yet. Here are five top tips from our gardening experts for the season ahead.

1. Get on top of your perennials

Spring is a good time to freshen up the soil and apply a little mulch to feed the soil and the plants. As you work through the border there’s still time to do a little dividing of perennials. Lift them, divide the crown and re place the plant in a smaller group or elsewhere, discarding the central part of the crown.

Some of the perennial plants in your borders will be emerging and noticeable above ground and you can navigate through the border without fear of trampling the crowns of the plants.

2. Get ready for a great lawn

Now’s the time to get the lawn mower out of the shed and give the grass the first cut of the season.

Mowers work best if well serviced and sharp. Blades need to be sharpened and balanced and its best to get this done at a garden machinery outlet. If the blades are sharpened at the start of the season then the grass will remain in better condition. The cleaner the cut, the less bruising on the grass and the nicer the appearance and better the health is in your lawn.

Start with the mower set at a much higher level than you would ultimately like. Give your lawn a few cuts at this grade to give the grass blades the best chance of health, strength and rigidity for the season ahead.

Don’t mow your lawn to within an inch of its life. This only helps help weed seeds to penetrate through the short blades and reach bare soil for germination.Leaving your grass a little longer will actually help to catch the seed, and be eradicated with the next pass of the mower.

3. Get planting now

There’s still time to plant bare rooted plants, like top fruit, soft fruit, roses or any trees or shrubs, although aim to have it all done by St. Patrick’s Day (March 17th).

Containerised stock and bare rooted evergreens can still be planted out, but mulch them. The weather often turns windy and dry between March and May. Carry on planting perennials and any Lily, Gladioli and Fritillaria bulbs.

4. Pay attention to your spring bulbs

Now is a great time to lift and divide bulbs which have finished flowering. Take off any faded flowers and seed-heads and tease out the bulbs and their leaves and replant them individually about 60-75mm apart.

5. Don't forget your vegetables

This is a busy time for the vegetable growers. Many of your main crops to be raised from seed can be started in a gently-heated propagator if the ground is still too cold outside.

But remember, as soon as the seed is up, lift them into a cooler, but well-lit place to stop them becoming spindly and weak. The seedlings will need turning, ideally a quarter turn a day to stop them developing one-sided.
Thanks to our gardening experts:

Alan Power, Garden and Estate Manager, Stourhead
Matthew Scott, Head Gardener, Emmetts Garden
Neil Porteous, Head of Gardens, Mount Stewart