What to do in the garden in spring

Tulips in flower at Ickworth

Our gardeners are experts in creating the most fantastic floral displays, so we asked Ickworth's Assistant Head Gardener, Jack Lindfield, for his top tips to help you keep your garden looking wonderful this spring.

Top tips for gardening in the spring

Spring is one of the most exciting seasons in the gardening year.

Bulbs are flowering in full swing and the anticipation from early sown vegetable seedlings is building up. It’s a busy time for us at Ickworth, now that the light levels are up and the temperature is rising. As varied as jobs in the garden can be, here are five key tasks to be getting on with this spring.

  • Watch out for those late frosts – As excited as we all are to start getting ready for summer, watch the weather closely and don’t let a late spring frost get the better of young seedlings. If you’ve already planted out, have some horticultural fleece or some straw at the ready and apply to the plants that you're unsure will survive. It's better safe than sorry.

  • A good start for grass – Get off to a good start with your lawns by applying a high nitrogen fertiliser. Ideally this would be carried out in late spring so the grasses can focus on root development during early spring. The later part of the season is also a good time to over-seed any dead patches you have.

  • Do some division – If you missed or forgot to divide any of your herbaceous perennials last autumn, spring is an ideal time to redeem yourself. Best done on a dry day, once divided, plant in their final position as soon as possible and give them plenty of water. It’s worth noting that plants on the more tender side tend to divide better in spring. It’s also a good time of year to share your plants with friends and neighbours. 

  • Get deadheading – This is a marmite job, you either love it or hate it, but it is key to ensure your bulbs flower well year after year. Once your daffodils or tulips have flowered, simply remove the bloom before or just as the seed pod develops. This will ensure the plant puts all of its energy back into the bulb instead of producing seed. It is also a good way to get the plant to produce bulblets, which you can then later propagate from. 

  • Pick out the pests now – Whilst working in your borders or propagating in the greenhouse, inspect plants for sheltering pests such as slugs, snails and colonies of aphids. Vine weevil larvae may also be lurking within the compost of overwinter pots. Whatever you find be sure to act fast and the sooner it’s under control the better it’ll be for establishing your plants. 

Lady bending down to take a photograph of the tulipa at Anglesey Abbey

Spring gardens in the East of England 

We’re lucky to have so many places in the East of England that showcase the very best of springtime blooms. Early colourful spring highlights include daffodils, hyacinths, tulips and magnolia trees.

When you enjoy the beauty of spring, you're helping gardens bloom once more

Thanks to you, when you join, donate, visit or volunteer, your support helps us to look after special places for ever, for everyone.