spring gardening tips

Spring Gardening Tips

We have had our static caravan in Thanet for over a year now and as the summer approaches, we are enjoying the outside more and more – weather permitting of course. It’s nice to have another area to enjoy. We have bought a small table and chairs which comes in very handy for quick snacks and, in this case, sowing our seeds that Tesco kindly sent us through along with a wonderful hamper of bits and pieces to help make our garden even more special.

It’s only a small patch of grass to the side and another stretch in front which was initially covered with a decking area but had to be ripped down by the new management for ‘health and safety’ reasons. Annoying as a new balcony around the caravan will cost a minimum of £7000!

So we want to make the most of the area we have without creating enormous amounts of work. Can it be done?

Tesco set up a conversation for me with Katie Rushworth and I share her top spring gardening tips on how to get the best out of your plot for the summer.

1. Plant out summer bedding, half-hardy annuals

Spring is the perfect time to dust off your trowel, get planting and give your garden some love.

When you start, try to plant and stick to a colour theme throughout your containers and baskets. Maybe a mix of hot colours and the odd chilli plant thrown in to your window box might spice things up. If you fancy something a little more ‘cottage garden’ in style then stick with pastel shades and add some herbs to the mix. Half-hardy annuals such as Cosmos, Zinnia, Cleome and Nicotiana can all be sown straight into the ground at this time of year and are fantastic colour fillers.

acer tree plant

An acer tree plant bought in Tesco

2. Pressure wash, or hose down and scrub

A great and easy way to get your garden looking its best is to get the pressure washer out and give that patio, path or deck some TLC. Just removing any dirt and moss from your seating area will instantly make your garden appear smarter. They are also great for cleaning down garden furniture and children’s play equipment, often they look brand new again.

3. Paint a fence or wall

gardeing tesco

It’s a great time of year to treat any wood that is in the garden – spring offers slightly cooler days with a possible chance of sunshine (unpredictable English weather) so your fence/wall will have time to properly dry. Whether that be fencing, a shed, garden furniture, wooden planters or a children’s climbing frame – all will last longer if given some added protection against the elements, and it will also give them a new lease of life. If you’re feeling brave, add some colour! A brightly coloured wall can make a fantastic statement all year round, a steely grey coloured fence can add a contemporary feel.

4. Costs

Have a plan for your garden and stick to it. Keep an eye out for retailers and garden centres who will have a wide range of deals available in the lead up to the summer months. Tesco is offering some great deals on its garden range available, in store now or visit online for more details and inspiration.

5. Lawn

Don’t forget to look after your lawn, as a freshly cut lawn makes all the difference. One of the top gardening mistakes Brits with a garden are committing is letting the lawn become unruly and overgrown. Make sure you remove any bare patches by getting rid of any dead grass and moss from the area. Then sprinkle some topsoil, followed by some lawn seed. A final fine dressing of topsoil will keep any wildlife from eating the seed as well as ensure that the seed comes into contact with the soil. Lightly water to prevent any of the seed from being disturbed.

6. Stake and support plants

Any plants that you know need support to look their best will benefit if you visit your local retailer or garden centre and get those supports in now. Even if they are weeks from flowering and still have lots of growth to put on, getting those garden canes in now and tying things in is much easier to do when you don’t have to navigate excess foliage and other plants in flower. As the plant continues to grow it will also naturally disguise the canes or framework you have put in place and leave you with beautiful looking flowers.

Tesco summer cup

A quick snack for the workers!

7. Lighting

Garden lighting is often overlooked, but it can really extend the use of your garden and add ambience and atmosphere to any outdoor spaces. String lights always look fabulous and add a festival feeling, whilst clusters of lanterns on steps and tables add charm and elegance. Up lighting a tree can add drama and give the garden an evening focal point, as well as give that holiday feeling. Don’t forget the fire pit which also gives warmth as the evening draws in.

8. Hoe

According to Tesco’s research the most dreaded gardening job for over a third of adults with a garden is weeding. However this task won’t seem so daunting if you find yourself a hoe (this is my favourite garden implement). It makes easy work of keeping on top of those weeds! On a dry day, slice the top of the weed off just below the surface of the soil. This will prevent the weed from photosynthesizing and the root will dry out and die. Sometimes the weed may eventually regrow, but this definitely weakens the plant so it is much less likely to make an appearance. For more persistent weeds, removing the whole root maybe necessary. However intermediate hoeing can make weeding a much more manageable garden task.

aperitivo

9. Prune spring flowering shrubs

Any shrubs which have flowered this spring can be pruned now if they are getting too big and unruly. Tesco has found that people are not confident when it comes to pruning plants but this is really easy to do! Remove any dead or damaged growth first, then any growth which is weak or crossing over one another causing stems to rub together in a tangled mass. Always cut the branch on an angle and to a new outward facing bud to increase air circulation. Shrubs can tolerate being cut back hard now, so removing half of the plant may seem brutal and look a little drastic, but it will recover over the summer months and reward you with lots of fresh new growth.

10. Dress it

Cushions, throws and outdoor rugs are the finishing touches that really make your garden feel like an extension of your house. Tie the colours in with colours you have in the home as well as colours you have used in the garden to create a unified and cohesive design. You don’t need green fingers for this, and it’s amazing how much more welcoming a garden becomes when it has a seat with a lovely cushion and a throw on it. Also, don’t forget to invest in a decent BBQ – this is essential to have, especially if you are planning to entertain friends and dine alfresco. Check out the wide range of outdoor essentials and BBQ’s available at Tesco on tesco.com/direct/garden.

cheers Tesco

Tesco is running unbeatable deals over the next month on its garden range. Don’t forget to head down to store, or shop online, to take advantage of these great deals and get your gardens set for summer.

Disclosure – This is a collaborative post with Tesco, I hope you can make the most of Katie’s tips, I certainly will be over the coming weeks. As you can see I have a lot to do. Cheers!

This is a collaborative post with Tesco.

It’s that time of year when we want to get out in our gardens and soak up as much sunshine as we possibly can, it’s the time of year for playing outdoors, firing up the barbecue and drinking Pimms.

But in order to fire up the barbecue and drink your Pimms in peace you need to make sure the kids are entertained.

Now if you have to stand up and keep them amused, well that’s encroaching on your Pimms time right so the best idea is to look for outdoor toys and games that allow them to play nicely together. Are we all agreeing on this one?

fairwood cubby playhouseWell I was having a little search online to see what goods were coming up and THIS caught my eye, doesn’t it shout out Golidlocks and the three bears?

A Wendy House made in wood so it’s sturdy and looks so cute. I am thinking teddy bear’s picnics, I am thinking of putting up a couple of shelves in there for some favourite books, how about painting the inside white, the outside blue or pink or maybe yellow? A small table and chairs and picnics in their home. LOVE it.

I loved this Tee Pee Tent too and can hear the ‘Whoo,whoo, whoo!’ cries running around the garden. I also discovered a Make a yarn tipi post which looks really easy and quick to assemble.

asda tee pee tent

Or how about one of these? A Wave Rider Water Slide? who knows after a couple of Pimms you might be having a go yourself?

Wave Rider Water slide

 

And of course water fun doesn’t end there, how about a paddling pool? ASDA Direct have tons of different sizes, there are dinosaur ones, princess ones, big ones and little ones too

paddling pool

You can find skipping ropes, bowling sets, hula hoops, bicycles, sand pits, water play activity centres and lots lots more, what’s more there’s a clearance sale on so you can even pick up a bargain or two.

garden gate

If you’re planning to sell your house, you are probably already aware of the power a good first impression has on persuading a buyer. That’s why estate agents will advise you to de-clutter, bring in some fresh flowers and have something baking in the oven when potential buyers come by. Although those are all good steps to take, many people will care only about the inside of the house. 

A nice garden, however, is not to be overlooked as a selling point as Saga.co.uk explain  If you know that you will be putting your place up for sale in the near future, it’s worth spending a little bit of time making sure it’s a seller. 

Your front garden is the first area of your house that a potential buyer will set his or her eyes on, yet you don’t have to spend much to make it look appealing. A lick of paint on the door, trimming the hedge, tugging out weed and clearing away rubbish will work wonders for your front garden.  

If you have a back garden and you’re still a year or more away from putting the place on the market, consider building a patio. A nice sitting-out area can become like an additional room, making your home feel more spacious than it actually is. When it becomes time to sell the place, make sure you de-clutter your back garden. Any toys, gnomes or garden tools that you normally have out should be stacked away. Invest in some seasonal bedding plants and get rid of all tired-looking plants that are bringing the place down. Cleaning the windows will ensure the garden can be appreciated from the inside, and likewise an attractive inside can be seen from the garden. 

Unfortunately, simply attracting a buyer isn’t enough to get your property sold. Conveyance is the process that follows upon an offer being accepted and includes, among other things, preparing legal documents. Legal delays can prove costly so it’s worth getting a professional conveyance service to help you. When shopping around for one, make sure to choose one where all legal fees are agreed on. That way you avoid the price escalating if you run into unforeseen difficulties with your sale.

 

seed planting

Spring is nature’s way of saying, “Let’s party!”  ~Robin Williams

This is the month when gardening really kicks in and some of my major preparations have included the investment in a composter and a water butt. Living the dream people, living the dream.

I am guessing that as we have had so much rain this winter we’re most likely in for a very dry summer plus last summer we were transferred onto a water meter which is great as we’ve saved loads so far but come the summer and watering the flowers and vegetable patch well the meter will soon shoot up. Anyway two rainfalls and it’s already full!

The grass has been cut after a long (in more ways than one) winter and I have started to weed the flower beds. As I pass the roses and other plants I prune as needed remembering the 3 D’s – anything damaged, diseased or dead.

spring bulbs

I have planted seeds which have shot up over the past week including tomatoes, purple broccoli (which last year the snails demolished) leeks and carrots.

seeds growing

I also have the chitting potatoes preparing to be buried in the next couple of weeks too.

Not strictly gardening but still outside work, I have sprayed the entire block paving in front with weed killer, next job will be to drag it all out of the groves with my special weapon.

As a reminder for future years I thought I’d start a monthly reminder list then it’s easy for me to find. 

March gardening To Do list

1. Mulching – this is supposed to save hours of weeding which I hate in the summer. I am supposed to weed and then cover the ground with a 5cm mulch leaving a gap around stems, trunks and plants. I need to find out more about this.

2. Sow cut and come again salads and rocket. I love salad in the summer and eat it every day so it’s silly not to grow my own really, I shall find some quirky containers and get sowing.

3. Runner beans. I’ve not tried growing them yet but I need to expand my veggie plot and they seem pretty easy to grow. Early staking apparently is the way forward so this is on my list before the end of March.

4. Dig over the veggie plot and add new compost to it. I’m late on this one this year but still in time.

I’ll leave you with a shot of my Amaryllis that was received at Christmas as a bulb, I LOVE how it’s such a huge and colourful flower, oh and the wall behind is our ongoing DIY Hall project.

amaryllis

bbq

My husband is a very happy man when the sun is shining and the temperatures pick up as he has only one thing on his mind = BBQ.

This is when the man of the house takes over the kitchen and produces our family meal. No butting in or ‘interfering’ he knows exactly what’s to be done.

He’s in paradise as he fires up his ‘baby’ and to be fair he doesn’t create that much of a mess either as all his cooking is done outside.

bbq sardegna

We’ve been together for almost 10 years and as March enters our lives every year he starts talking about the upcoming bbq season, he was looking at his charcoal bbq the other day and asking me how long he’s had it, I am sure he’s thinking of investing in a new one very soon.

This weekend he put together some chicken kebabs to kick the season off and they were very tasty, simple cubes of chicken interspersed with whole mushrooms, baby tomatoes and green pepper. They were very good dad.

chicken kebabs

I’m hoping, along with the rest of the country I imagine, that after such a wet miserable winter we’ll be treated to a marvellous spring summer allowing lots of outdoor time and good food eaten from Dad’s bbq, with that in mind I’d like to put together a BBQ section here on Mari’s World over the next few months and to kick off I’m collecting all my BBQ recipes done so far together

Tex Mex Grill Steaks

Coronation Chicken

Coleslaw 

Tiramisu

Cranachan Trifle

Pavlova

Plenty more to come