So far, it’s been a warm, dry spring but with a frosty sting in the tail towards the end of April and already the soil is very dry, so watch out for drooping plants, particularly if not yet established.
- Another couple of weeks or so and it will be safe to re-do your pots for the summer. Fresh compost is advisable as you may already have vine weevil in your pots – the grubs munch through the roots leaving just a ‘top-knot’ of foliage. Ready mixed, all-purpose container compost, depending on the manufacturer, is often very fibrous and doesn’t always drain well, so don’t be afraid to mix your own using a combination of soil-based John Innes, good quality multi-purpose container mix, slow release fertiliser, plus grit for any plants needing sharp drainage.
- Sharp hoes, plus hand-weeding.
- Roses, especially ramblers will be growing fast, keep tying them in to avoid damage in windy conditions.
- New Lawns. Autumn is the ideal time to lay new lawns, but it can be done now provided the new turf is kept well-watered. Cut once the height reaches about 5cms (2”), keep the blade setting high.
- Keep an eye on the temperature in your greenhouses and ventilate on warm days.
- Birds are nesting so avoid serious hedge cutting if possible and just trim off the tall, untidy bits. Always, always check for nests before carrying out any hedge work.
- Holly trees. Don’t be concerned if they are dropping lots of leaves as all trees, even evergreens, shed old leaves.
- Keep feeding the birds in your garden; the more you attract them the more aphids and other pests they will eat.
There are many beneficial insects and creatures in your garden, which will thrive if you don’t use chemical weed sprays, pesticides and other herbicides. It takes time to achieve an effective balance, but if you persevere the birds and desirable insects will do your pest control for you, plus you have the pleasure of seeing them – and at the same time, knowing you’re not poisoning them. Nematodes are also a good biological pest control and there is plentiful information about them online.