Things to do to get your garden ready for summer

Remove and compost any dead annuals that remained over winter. They won’t return and any self-seeding annuals will have left their seeds and done their job.

Prune and cut back perennials.  Once you see new growth at the base of the plants, it's safe to begin removing winter mulch and pruning them down to ground level.

Some shrubby plants with woody stems (Artemisia, lavender etc.) need to be cut back each spring, because they only bloom on new branches. These are best pruned in the spring, to limit winter damage and to encourage the plant to start sending out those new flowering branches. It's best to wait until danger of a hard frost is past.

Depending on where you are gardening, some perennial plants will never quite go dormant, but they may still need tidying up. Spring is the time to trim back the tattered foliage and encourage new growth to come in.

Cut ornamental grasses to within a few inches of the ground.

Prune roses and remove the majority of the leaves, to shock the rose into thinking it was dormant and needs to wake up and start growing again.

Most spring blooming trees and shrubs set their flower buds in the summer or autumn. Pruning them in the spring, before they've bloomed, would mean pruning off this year's flowers.  Take care when deciding which to prune.

Most evergreens should require little to no spring care other than some tidying up. Spring is a good time to fertilize evergreens, because they are actively growing at this time.

Early spring is a good time to do some weeding. Don’t forget to dispose of the weeds in a dustbin and not on the compost heap as they will grow back wherever you use the compost.

It's always a good idea to test your soil before you start adding things to it. If you amended your soil in autumn, check in early spring to see how balanced it is. Most plants enjoy a good feeding in the spring, when they're having their initial growth spurt. If you have rich, healthy soil, all you should need to do in the spring is a bit of top dressing with compost, manure or a complete slow release organic fertilizer.

Spring is the ideal time for dividing or transplanting. Try to do this as soon as possible after the plant emerges.

Spring is a good time to stake any plants that require staking rather than waiting till later when you’ll have to weave the plants into stakes.

Mulch does great things for your garden: conserves water, cools plant roots, feeds the soil and smothers weeds.  Wait until the soil warms up and dries out a bit, before replenishing your mulch. Keep it away from stems and crowns of your plants.

Edge all your beds to prevent your lawn from crawling into your flower bed.

Our next posts will cover what to do with your lawn and preparing your veggie and herb gardens for summer.

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