Even though you may not spend as much time outside during the colder months, there’s still plenty to do so that when spring rolls around, your garden will look its best. You can make good use of the quieter gardening months to get ahead with your plans because before you know it, spring will be here and you’ll be playing catch-up on your garden.
Homeowners often overlook the importance of autumn and winter gardening and prep time, but it’s a transitional period that is good for more than just cleaning up and removing debris that has collected all summer, or clearing away the leaves that have fallen from nearby trees. Regular maintenance is important so you don’t have a massive job ahead of you when the temperatures start to warm up.
With this in mind, we’ve put together our five tips to keep your London garden looking great this spring.
1. Tidy up debris and borders
Leaves and other debris will naturally fall onto your garden and flowerbeds, so the first step to a beautiful garden is to clear that away. Letting leaves sit on top of flowerbeds all winter can cause harm to the root systems of the plants that live underneath the surface because it blocks oxygen and nutrients from reaching the roots. Even if your plants are dormant, you will want to make sure they’re still healthy enough to grow again when the spring season starts.
It’s also a good idea to clean up your garden borders for a neater look. Cut back any old and dead plant growth, pull any weeds from the root, and trim back overgrown grass. You can also clear your flowerbeds down to the bare soil so the area is clear for when your deciduous perennials start to regrow.
If your garden is inside a greenhouse, this is the perfect time to give it a good clean. You can remove algae, moss and any other grime from the outside and inside of your greenhouse with a detergent or disinfectant spray so that more light can get inside during the growing months. It also works well for removing the habitats of plant pests and diseases. Wash and disinfect any unused pots and seed trays as well. Once you’ve fully cleaned your greenhouse, you can inspect the structure to see if there are any repairs needed before the growing season starts again.
2. Plant spring flowering bulbs
The best time of year to plant your spring bulbs is from October to December before the first frost hits, so if you want a gorgeous flowering garden come spring, it’s time to get to work. If you aren’t sure which bulbs are good to plant now for spring, you can try daffodils, tulips, crocuses, grape hyacinths, and fritillarias, or head to your local garden centre where they can help you find the perfect addition to your garden.
When buying bulbs, make sure you choose ones that are healthy. If they are damaged (i.e., feel shrivelled or soft), they may not bloom come spring, making all your efforts wasted. Once you’ve bought your bulbs, don’t let them sit for more than a week or they will start to sprout. Try and plant them within the week so they have enough dormancy time in the soil.
3. Order your summer bulbs and seeds
Why not get a jump start on your summer plants now too? If you plan ahead, you can organise your garden better and ensure it looks exactly how you want it. Summer bulbs should be planted during the early spring, so if you wait too long, you may miss your timing.
4. Sow seeds that need more time
If you want to plant seeds that need a longer growing season, the time to do this is in January and February so they’re ready for spring. Be sure to sow them in a heated propagator to make them grow well and look beautiful. Some examples of seeds that need a longer growing season include geraniums, begonias, antirrhinums, and legumes like peppers and aubergines.
5. Collect rainwater
The winter season is often rainy, so remain environmentally friendly and make the most of any rainfall by collecting it to give to your plants in the spring. Rainwater is crucial for any gardener who wants an environmentally friendly garden, not to mention is the best kind of water for your plants. You can collect rainwater by installing a water butt in your garden, or simply by leaving out buckets and frequently emptying them into a container to store until the spring.
It’s never too early to think about your spring garden, so plan ahead and you will ensure you can really enjoy your attractive outdoor space.