The temperature is starting to rise, Spring is upon us and it’s time to get busy in the garden! Some preparation now will ensure your garden will look it’s best by Summer.
Firstly, prepare your soil by clearing weeds, then adding compost and fertiliser, also remember to feed existing plants.
October is the ideal month to sow the seeds of annuals such as Cosmos, Marigolds, Sunflowers and Zinnias. Perennials like Osteopermums, Gauras, Agapanthus, Delphiniums, Echinaceas and Penstemons can also be planted for summer colour.
To attract wildlife try planting new trees and shrubs. Spring is the best time as they can settle in before the heat of summer kicks in! Always feed and water any new planting well.
In the veggie garden sow some seeds of Basil, Celery, Radish, Coriander, Rocket, Sweet Peppers, Fennel, Carrots, Cucumbers, Green beans, Cherry Tomatoes, Spinach, Peas and Lettuce. Beware of snails looking for a juicy feast as the seedlings grow!
If you love roses, October is the month to introduce some to your garden. ‘Iceberg’ or ‘Joseph’s Coat’ are both popular, reliable climbers. Ground cover roses like ‘Waterwise Blush’ or ‘Pink Sensation’ are excellent for hot, dry areas and need little maintenance.
Time to get gardening!
Encourage wildlife into your garden
Increasing the biodiversity of your garden doesn’t have to be hard, or compromise the way your garden looks. Here are a few small changes you could make to the way you manage your garden that can bring major benefits for the creatures that call it home.
Grow a mix of trees and shrubs
Grow a range of trees, shrubs and climbers, or a mixed hedge to provide food and shelter. As well as providing food in the form of flowers, fruits and seeds, they provide cover and nesting sites for garden animals, from insects to larger species such as birds. Fruit trees support a range of specialist native wildlife and can provide for them while also supplying you with a useful crop.
Ideally dig a pond, but a container of water will suffice. The single easiest way to add wildlife value to a garden is to install a pond, however tiny. Ideally, do not introduce fish to a pond primarily there for wildlife (they will eat anything that moves), and if you can resist temptation, allow water plants to colonise naturally. Make sure ponds have at least one sloping side to allow creatures an easy way out.
Don’t be too tidy
This doesn’t mean your garden has to look a mess, but piles of leaves and twiggy debris provide both food and habitat for many species. If you leave perennials uncut over winter, their hollow stems can shelter hibernating insects. Piles of stones also make good habitat, particularly for hibernating reptiles and amphibians – tuck them away in hidden corners, at the back of borders or even behind the shed.
Allow a patch of grass to grow longer
If you don’t have room for, or don’t want, a full-scale wildflower meadow, simply allowing patches of lawn to grow longer will provide shelter for small mammals.