Gardening tips for green fingers

A rise in temperatures and a stretch in the evenings can send people in droves to their gardens. We help you with your gardening to do list The sun is shining; spring, if not summer is in the air. Everybody’s out in their gardens… Are you? If you’re an armchair gardener, where do you start with the real stuff? While the brighter and longer days tend to get people to look at their surroundings, if you fancy yourself working in a garden full of flowers and foliage, you have to plan. “I think once the sun starts to shine it seems to get people into the great outdoors,” says Peter Donegan a horticulturalist and garden expert who also writes an informative gardening blog. “If you’d like something in your garden in flower in February you’d almost need to backtrack,” Donegan explains. This means planting daffodil bulbs in October to have them in flower in February. Warmer temperatures and bright evenings means it's time to become a busy bee in the garden In all reality it’s a privileged enough group that get to spend hours upon hours every day tending to their gardens or allotments. Donegan says that a lot of people will have an average of 20 minutes a day to spend on their gardens. In the spring and summer months, that time is spent on maintaining a garden. Things you can or should be doing in your garden: Aesthetics: “For me the big thing around May time is getting hanging baskets and patio planters spruced up,” Donegan says. Flower beds: It’s coming into bedding plant season too which will keep you busy. Take stock: It’s a good time for replacing plants. Especially after a harsh winter, people can take stock and see what’s been lost in the cold weather. Take out the lawnmower: Donegan adds that the mixture of rain and high temperatures means “not only is the grass flourishing, so are the weeds.” Weeding : So if you really want to get your garden looking good it might be an idea to do some weeding (remember the weeds don’t know they’re weeds!). Care for your lawn: Donegan also suggests starting a lawn treatment programme from a moss and drainage point of view. Biodiversity and other things to think about With the ‘Grow It Yourself’/grow your own vegetables movement taking the nation by storm, many people might think of growing fruit and vegetables. While this is a great initiative, from a biodiversity point of view it is important that people don’t forget to take in the bigger picture. For example, planning to plant trees can also benefit bees and pollination. “Bees can’t be entirely reliant upon just fruiting trees. You need to give them something else to work with. If you back track on that, you have a tree planting seasons for bare root, rootball and whip trees,” he says. You can still plant potted trees at any time you want. But the planting season for bare root, rootball and whip trees is between October and February. Keeping biodiversity in mind, Donegan says that it’s always recommended to plant two apple trees together. However, he adds that it’s a good idea to balance that out with one tree that’s more ornamental. “You’ve got something else for the birds to hang out in and the bees to go to.” Whether it be a hedge or a bush or a shrub, for every two fruiting trees, plant something else. Happy gardening! #GardenampLandscaping