With spring just around the corner, or so we hope with the dyer, cold and gloomy weather still hanging over most of us, many home owners will see the change in seasons as a convenient and timely opportunity to brighten up the home. Whilst a spring clean is planned, decisions are also made on which area of the home to decorate – whether it’s going to be new laminated flooring, a change in wall decorations or a new kitchen, a change is needed somewhere after we have endured the dull, long winter season stuck inside ours home!
But for many of us our focus remains in and only within the house! Many fear the garden at the best of times – but it’s time to move past this fear and get those hands dirty. A makeover for your home’s only garden should be your priority for 2013! Gardening really isn’t that hard, with solid, easy to follow advice widely available across the internet, top tips provided from retailers and specific choice plants now recommended for ease of growing, reasons to not brave the garden are running out. By simply adding some colour to your garden, you’ll find yourself much happier spending time there in the summer.
One basic fundamental aspect of gardening for newbies is to understand is ‘longevity’. Before you head to your local garden centre or laptop to shop online, know that plants typically conform to either being an ‘annual’ or perennial. A plant which blooms for one year only and dies is an annual, whilst a perennial will have an extended life cycle allowing it to come back year after year, if treated with care over the cold winter period.
If your garden is only a patch of grass from top to bottom, then consider creating some new borders to grow your plants in. If you wanted to create a border with good water retention to it, dig out 30cms of soil and if you have any old wood flooring or plastic lining, install it in your dug out area, ensuing you cut some drainage holes, and then add your soil back in. Use garden bricks for edging in order to contain your soil, or alternatively try starting with just some large pots. Get a good, multi-purpose compost to top-up your soil. Generally, look for a mid-range priced compost bag as its contents will sit fitter with your tender plants, providing important nutrients from the start.
For simpler and quick impact, typically head for anything labelled as an annual and which is supplied in small plant trays in garden centres or labelled as plug plants online. Growing from seed is much cheaper, but something to consider as your experience grows. For summer colour in your garden borders or pots, look to grow a selection of either bedding petunias, begonias or busy lizzies. These are three varieties known particularly for quick growth, bright bold colours and impact! Packs of 10 to 20 plants can often be purchased for five to ten pounds each, so buy and plant in abundance.
Once the last frost passes, typically dig a small hole 5 to 7cms deep, planting each plant 10 to 15cms apart on the soil floor. Be reasonably gentile but don’t be afraid. Press down firmly on the soil surrounding the roots and provide a good watering first time around.
Around June onwards you should begin to see blooms appearing on your plants. For a summer of vibrant colour ensure you water lightly every 2 to 3 days for annuals, but in exceptional heat, check daily. Any signs of dry soil then provide a top up.
Gardening has many levels of interest and knowledge to suit us all. Not only is it good to get outside and enjoy the fresh air, but its therapeutic and a great stress relief for our hectic, modern day lives. It can be educational to young children and great exercise for the elderly too. Consider brightening up your garden this coming summer now – you’ll impress your friends and family when they head over for those eagerly anticipated summer BBQs!