After a thus far unusually mild winter, the bulbs that don't normally start pushing their way through to daylight for several weeks are suddenly springing up and some already bursting into early bloom.
Having been denied the pleasure of seeing my Croydon garden at its absolute best (that being covered evenly in a layer of glistening white snow and therefore hiding a multitude of sins!) the appearance of this little bit of colour means I should maybe start preparations for an award winning garden display this year - or at least something more attractive than the weed infested jungle that currently occupies that space.
First things first - clear it
The sight of twigs, leaves and branches littering the lawn is never an attractive look. An hour's effort with a rake reveals there is green grass under there after all. It feels a bit heavy and water logged. A big effort, but worth it, would be to spike the lawn, particularly in areas where it has become compacted, then top dress with sharp sand, brushing it into the resulting holes.
Just like the early bulbs, the weeds seem to be planning an early appearance. Happily the wet, but unfrozen soil in the borders means this is not the most difficult of jobs. And the earlier we remove the little ‘so and so's’, the less chance there is of them seeding and spreading. And spending half an hour a week keeping on top of them now means there is far less chance of them taking over as soon as Spring has sprung. You can also keep them at bay by topping the soil with a decent layer of mulch, preferably organic (compost, manure, shredded leaves or newspaper), which will also help improve the fertility of the soil.
Fences, sheds and greenhouses have been battered by winter winds and rain. Fence posts stuck directly into the ground will eventually shift if the weather takes its toll and shifts the soil supporting them, leaving the whole fence vulnerable to strong winds. Although something of a two man job, lifting the posts above ground, re-digging the hole, setting the post in straight and deep again and re-filling will rectify the problem to an extent. If you're looking for a stronger fix, setting the posts in concrete provides a more long term solution.
Check the felt on the shed roof for tears or damage. Replacing the felt is a relatively simple job, and will ensure the roof below is protected from damp and rot. Cracked or broken greenhouse windows need replacing ready for your spring propagation. Door and gate furniture, handles, hinges etc exposed to the elements will always welcome the occasional liberal spray of WD40 to keep them lubricated and rust free.
There's not a huge amount you can plant at this time of year. That having been said, hedges, trees and conifers will all happily take to being planted now and if you have old, tired rose plants these can be removed and replaced with new - the soil retains enough heat for good strong root growth, even if the snow should decide to make a late appearance.
Visit garden centres, ornamental and public gardens for inspiration and spend some time poring over seed catalogues. Think about how you used and viewed your garden last year and what improvements or additions could be made, ready for the long glorious hot summer we are definitely going to have this year. Come on, nothing wrong with a bit of optimism is there?!
Need a bit of help?
Woods Landscaping of Croydon can help plan and create your dream garden. Greenthumb Lawn Treatment Service can give your lawn a whole new lease of life without having to go to the expense of re-turfing.
Man About the House and Garden offers practical landscaping and garden maintenance if you lack the time or enthusiasm to do it all yourself. And for all your decking, patio and paving needs Blue Dolphin Building Group are on hand to discuss everything you might need to impress the neighbours!
You can contact all these local companies through thebestof Croydon’s Business Directory - now may be the ideal time to beat the spring rush!