This sun is kicking the garden into action this week and I've noticed there's plenty to do!
Many Alpine Plants are beginning to flower. They are easy to grow, inexpensive plants to fill gaps in the garden.
I've also got tips for those of you with ponds and those planning new lawns. You can never let your guard down as far as slugs and snails are concerned either, so there's a little this week too!
And her is how it turned out -
The alpine trough featured in the video
- Laying turf will create an almost instant lawn! However don't skimp on the soil preparation as it will be much harder to correct things after the turf is down. It's imperative that newly laid grass is watered thoroughly and regularly until the new roots have established.
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- If turf is too expensive and you're not in a hurry, you can get a great lawn by sowing grass seed. As with turf, prepare the soil thoroughly to commence sowing from the end of March onwards.
Laying turf on a well prepared soil surface
- How about a wildflower lawn? You could buy wildflower turf from a specialist or raise wildflowers to plant into the grass later on. Either way, you will be more successful if your soil is hungry and depleted of nutrients so don't add fertiliser.
a wildlife lawn and a haven for nature
Ponds and bog plants
If you have used a water heater, remove or switch it off now. Turn on the pump to circulate and oxygenate the water and start feeding the fish if you have them.
If you fancy some early colour in your pond plant Marsh Marigolds Caltha palustris. They are an excellent plant for bees too!
The veg plot
Protect young seedlings and newly emerging soft shoots from slugs and snails. If you use the ferric phosphate-based safer slug and snail controls, do so sparingly. It's safe but often too much is applied at once.
If you prefer to use nematodes to control slugs do check that it's warm enough and that the soil is moist before applying them.
A slug on a cabbage leaf
If your garden has large paved areas, try to get low growing thyme established in any cracks.
Why not plant a container full of these little plants? Use John Innes no. 1 compost and add a third, by volume, of fast-draining grit. Position in full sunshine if possible.
Top dress alpine plants with sharp sand or grit. Get it in under the base of the plant so that there is excellent drainage there.
Alpine plants are not just for rockeries. Fill gaps at the front of borders with easy low growing alpines. Start with dwarf pinks Dianthus, Campanulas, rock roses Helianthemum, rock soapwort Saponaria ocymoides and saxifrages.
Well established alpine plant sinks
If you live in a city, near the coast or just in a sheltered warm spot you could now remove winter protection from tender plants. In these areas tree ferns, banana and ginger lily could be unwrapped now.
If your garden is in the north of the country or inland, it will pay to wait another 3-4 weeks to do this.
Check back next week for more seasonal tips!