This time last year thousands more people discovered the sanctuary of their gardens and experienced the soothing balm of nature as an antidote to lockdown.
The astronomical rise in seed sales saw many having a go at “grow your own” whilst others found a new space for physical activity. Add to this the well documented mental health benefits and its no surprise that last year gardening came in ahead of cooking, exercising and reading as the second most popular lockdown activity!
This year is set to be no different as our green spaces continue to be vital, providing us with time out, purpose, health benefits, a place to meet, food, gifts, and sensual pleasures, all in equal measures.
As the amount of time we spend at home increases, maximising our outside spaces becomes increasingly significant no matter what the size!
So, now is the time to invest a few hours in the garden, in order to bank those beer-in-hand BBQ moments later in the year. With a little bit of hard work now, you will reap the benefits in the months to come and the good news is that not all gardening tasks need a professional (but Hello!… if you think you might) and the really good news is you’ve still got plenty of time to make hay as the South West sun gets her merry hat on.
The Bath Gardener Team, have put together their top-ten list of seasonal gardening jobs, perfect for the Bath climate through-out late Feb and March.
- Feed & nourish your beds! Whether flower or vegetable, work them over removing weeds then add a layer of compost or well-rotted manure to prepare for the growing season ahead. Feed your shrubs and hedges with a slow-release fertiliser by lightly forking it into the soil. Yes, a bit of hard graft to start with but swap this for a Joe Wicks work-out and kill two birds with one (Bath)stone.
- Remember all those rambling untamed roses and shrubs you had at the end of last year? Put supports in place for them and any other climbers NOW while you can see them clearly and sit back and feel like a pro later in the season. Now is also a great time to plant new shrubs and climbers.
- Roses are already starting to appear and will need pruning to encourage strong and new growth. Feed your roses with a well balanced fertiliser, available from your local, friendly garden-centre.
- Those secateurs are going to get a good work out-this month! Hone those lockdown haircut skills and cut back dead foliage from perennials and ornamental grasses making way for new growth.
- Sow now for summer scents. Get ahead and start the seeds off in moist compost on a windowsill and move to a cooler but frost-free area as soon as you see the first leaves. Keep seeds and seedlings covered at night to prevent visits from mice and place young plants in a cool place (outside in a porch, for instance). Plant out into well-prepared soil in spring after the last frost.
- Spring is all about the bulbs, but as they start to fade pick off any developing seed-heads on daffodils and other spring bulbs, leaving the foliage to die back naturally and the goodness to return back into the bulb. An easy and satisfying tidy-up.
- Plant lilies and other summer-flowering bulbs in pots and borders and whilst you are at it, add a top-soil re-fresh to all your pots, containers and window boxes too.
- If your interest is in the veg patch, then there is plenty for you to do. Plant those potatoes, shallots and onions now, and sow tomatoes, chillies and peppers indoors.
- Sow native wildflower seeds in trays, to produce plants for your own mini-meadow, which are also ideal for window boxes and small people alike.
- And wait for it…..yes for those who love a bowling green lawn, with caution and if required, you can now start to mow on any dry days, just make sure you set those blades high for the first few cuts!
The Bath Gardener (Donny, aka Neil Donovan) and his team have a reputation for ‘Good Honest Graft’ alongside gardening expertise and tea based banter.
Don’t forget to tweet us @thebathgardener or find us on Facebook if you have any questions you’d like answered or proud gardening triumphs you’d like to share. Add the hashtag #askTBG for a quick response