Your gardening ‘to do’ list over the next few weeks.
Hail is falling from the sky as I write this but now that the days are lengthening it feels as though spring is just around the corner.
In the garden it is still a time of preparation and it is best to curb one’s enthusiasm and leave some tasks until the weather and the soil warm up. However here are some suggestions for your gardening ‘to do’ list over the next few weeks.
Spring flowering bulbs are planted in the autumn but if you did not get around to planting bulbs back then it is not too late to enjoy these welcome signs of spring
Pots of Daffodils, Crocus, Hyacinth, Tulips, Snake’s -Head Fritillary and many more are all available in the spring – just plant out in your garden or containers for a burst of spring fragrance and colour
Snip off the faded flowers from spring flowering bulbs when the blooms are past their best. Let the leaves die back naturally .Before they fade the leaves will be producing food (by photosynthesis) for the bulb underneath the soil so it is ready and able to flower again next year.
Many bulbs naturalise and increase in number over time in the ground. After flowering divide clumps of bulbs that have become overcrowded. Lift the bulbs and gently separate any that have become tangled. Re – plant and you now have two clumps rather than one.
Look out for summer flowering bulbs. This expression includes tubers, corms and modified roots and account for a number of summer favourites. Look out for glorious Gladioli, Dazzling Dahlias, Lovely Lilies and Blowsy Begonias (making a fashion comeback) to name just a few. They are really easy to grow so why not give them a try.
It’s a great time to plant trees, shrubs and perennials while the soil is nice and damp – avoid planting if the ground is frozen.
It may be early but there are some seeds you can propagate now. For example you can sow bedding plant seeds in a heated propagator.
If edibles are more your thing you can sow Tomatoes and Parsley in a seed tray. Sow Onions, Peas, Leeks and Cabbage in a propagator and sow Broad Beans, Carrots and Parsnips outside under cloches.
Seed potatoes should be ‘chitted’ in anticipation of planting. This means placing the tubers (blunt end up) in trays in a cool dry place with lots of natural light. This encourages the tubers to sprout in advance of planting out about 6 to 8 weeks later
Dead head winter flowering Pansies and Primroses.
Firm back into the soil any plants that have been lifted by frost.
Enjoy some bracing winter gardening!