Spring gardening tips

With a new season well and truly on its way, it’s time to start thinking about how to get your garden ready for Spring. In no time at all, you’ll be enjoying lighter evenings, warmer weather and beautiful plants in your garden!

So, where should you start? At Hopes Grove Nurseries, we care about your garden as much as you do which is why we’ve put together this blog on how to get your garden ready for Spring. We’ll be providing you with top tips for Spring gardening, and our top 5 list of things to plant this Spring.

Our Top Tips for Spring Gardening

You might be wondering how to get your garden ready for Spring, especially when the weather hasn’t exactly been sunshine and rainbows recently.

At Hopes Grove Nurseries, we don’t want you to have any barriers to living your best green fingered life which is why we’ve put together our top tips for Spring gardening. With our simple tips, you’ll be able to get your garden ready for Spring in no time at all:

  • Sharpen your gardening tools – The very first thing you need to do to get your garden ready for Spring is to clean, sharpen and make sure your gardening tools are up to scratch. Blunt secateurs, rusty hand trowels and gardening gloves with holes simply won’t cut it, literally. Well-maintained equipment means you can garden more efficiently and safely.
  • Tidy up your garden and trim your plants – Once your gardening tools are prepared, it’s time to start the big tidy up of your garden. You’ve heard of Spring cleaning, now it’s time for Spring gardening! To give your garden some well-earned maintenance after this very dark and gloomy Winter, trim any dead or unkempt leaves, especially if they’ve started to spill out of the plant bed or appear to be overgrown. Before you begin cutting any plants, be sure to check for signs of wildlife as your plant may have become home to a world of biodiversity over the Winter.
  • Prune evergreen shrubs and hedges – as we hopefully move to longer and warmer days this is an ideal time to prune most evergreen shrubs and hedges. The worst of the frosts have passed and evergreens will not be growing just yet. The timing could not be better
  • Finish pruning Roses before they make too much new growth. This is also an ideal time to prune back Dogwoods and Willows grown for their colourful Winter stems. Cut them almost to ground level and they will grow a new crop of beautiful stems over the Summer to give colour again next winter.
  • Mulch and feed your plants – After tidying and pruning, take the time to add a balanced fertilizer to your plants and top it up with a generous mulch of compost or bark chips. Not only will this lock in moisture if Summer turns out to be a scorcher saving time watering, but it will also stop most weeds from growing – giving you more time to kick back and enjoy your plot this season.
  • Divide congested clumps of hardy perennials – lift them gently with a garden fork and then divide the clumps using two forks back-to-back, to lever them gently apart into smaller clumps. Replant one or two small sections to keep your display and you will have several more clumps of free plants to replant somewhere else in the garden.
  • Dig over the veg patch if you haven’t already – loosening and opening up the soil will help aerate it and it will dry faster ready for Spring planting. Heavy clay soils will ‘weather’ with rain and frost making them much easier to work and prepare fine soil for seed sowing.
  • Spring is seed sowing time – surely the best time of year! Sow seeds of hardy annuals (like Cornflower, Larkspur, Calendula, Nasturtiums and Love-in-the mist) and hardy vegetables (like Broad Beans, Carrots, Beetroot and Spinach) directly outside in well prepared fine soil. Seeds of tender plants such as Tomatoes, Chili Peppers, Basil, Geraniums and Cosmos can be sown in pots of compost and kept in a warm greenhouse or windowsill to begin with, then planted outside when all frosts have passed.
  • Plant onion and shallot setts – setts are like miniature tiny onion bulbs, simply pop them in the ground with the tips just covered (so the birds don’t see them and pull them out!). Very easy and satisfying to grow.
  • Restart your compost or begin from scratch – When you’re thinking about how to get your garden ready for Spring, consider sustainability. There’s no better time than now to become a green fingered hero, so why not restart your compost or begin from scratch? You may have had one before so can continue from where you left off, or you might need to start a new heap. Either way, try to keep sustainability and recycling in mind when trying to get your garden ready for Spring.
  • Cover up your Rhubarb – use an old dustbin or bucket and tip it upside down over your Rhubarb clump to exclude light. Within a few weeks you will have your own supply of delicious, forced Rhubarb for pies and crumbles.



Our top 5 things to plant this spring

  • Bare root trees and hedging plants. The cheapest and most environmentally friendly way to buy trees and shrubs. Bare root plants are grown in the soil as nature intended – with no plastic pots or compost, but hurry because the season for them ends when they begin to sprout new leaves! Whether it’s a fruit tree, flowering tree or a new hedge, now is the perfect time.
  • Wisteria – grown for their sumptuous long flower clusters, they are the prefect plant to clothe a sunny wall. Invest in a good-sized plant from a reputable supplier and buy it with flowers on – so you know for sure what you are getting! (Some nurseries sell them as cheap seedlings that are quite frankly rather disappointing when they finally flower!)
  • Japanese Maples (Acer) – with their irresistible, delicate filigree foliage few gardeners can resist them. Choose a sheltered spot (their soft leaves are vulnerable to strong burning winds) in the garden or a container filled with ericaceous compost.
  • Lavender Plants – whether it’s a single plant in your plot, or a complete Lavender hedge – these endearing little shrubs will bring perfume and colour to your garden during the summer. Their elegant flower spikes are always a magnet for bees and butterflies too. Lavenders like a warm sunny spot in well-drained soil, and because they originate from the Mediterranean, they like being planted in the spring to get the best from them as the days are getting longer and warmer.
  • Ground cover plants – few gardeners truly enjoy weeding! Plant low growing, carpeting perennial plants in any gaps you have this Spring to smother the weeds before they get started. They will provide interesting foliage and flowers through the seasons and make your flower beds as labour saving as possible.

About the Author

Morris Hankinson is the founder and MD of Hopes Grove Nurseries, the largest grower-retailer of hedging plants in the country. He started the business in July 1992, the day after completing his last exam of a BSc. Horticulture course at Writtle College in Essex. Morris has had a fascination and love of growing things since childhood when he was a keen exhibitor at his local Horticultural Society. Over the years the nursery has developed from a one person operation to an employer of 25 staff and so his interest is put to very good use, keeping an experienced eye on all operations across the 125 acres of nursery production.

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