Spring In The Garden - A Helping Hand For Your Flowers
Snowdrops, winter aconites and crocus, so useful at providing an early pollen source for the bees, have now disappeared from the garden.
The bright sunshine yellow of the daffodils that herald spring are coming to the end of their flowering season, while the delightful tulips are taking over the exuberant garden display.
Yes, lovely followers of Boxworth Botanicals, we have reached the middle of spring. But what does this mean for the garden?
The First Bank Holiday in May
The bank holiday weekend in May means gardens all over the country get a tidy up. Each year at this time, the warmer weather seems to spur on the first efforts of those people who like their gardens, but have not had the time to get outside yet and get their hands dirty.
Of course, at this time of year the stands of flowers, grass, shrubs and climbers have all been moving inches per day over the last six weeks, making this first sweep across the garden an extensive one!
Make sure you have your hand cream ready for healing any cracking and to replace moisture lost while keeping busy working outside.
If you get bored of doing a mass tidy-up in the garden every May bank holiday, we offer you two tips for keeping the garden in a manageable state.
One of them requires about five minutes a day, and can be done with a cup of tea in hand…. or a glass of wine if you are that way disposed!
Tips For Making The Garden Manageable With Just 5 Minutes Work Per Day
1. Weed like a cow
Pull on a pair of gloves, pick up your glass of wine, then with your free hand go around the flower borders pulling out or ripping off the leaves of any weeds you see.
This technique, known as ‘weeding like a cow’, is beneficial in three ways….
Firstly, it means you don’t have to dig.
Secondly, you are not disturbing the soil and so bringing fresh weed seeds to the surface where they are exposed to sunlight and rain, helping them to germinate and grow.
Thirdly, it gets you close to your plants on a regular basis, because for this technique to work you have to keep puling off the new leaves of any weeds you see.
By removing the leaves you stop the plants soaking up sunlight, all important in a plants growth (and sunlight is great for us humans too!)
Eventually, the roots of the weeds you keep taking the leaves from will wither away and die, because they are not getting what they need.
We love this technique of ‘weeding like a cow’. Being this close to the plants in your garden, you get to know them better, understand how they grow, learn something about the texture of their leaves and the quality of their fragrance through the seasons.
A fragrant plant is always lovely to work near. We have written before about the power of fragrance…. but the gentle manner of this style of weeding and its habitual nature also allows you time to dream surrounded by flowers….
2. Mulch bare soil
Our second tip is also about preventing sunlight getting to plants you don’t want, but this time you don’t have to do any weeding - a mulch does the preventative work for you!
Mulching is a process of adding a chosen material to the surface of any bare soil in your garden, stopping sunshine hitting the weed seeds inherent in your soil bank - no weeds means no work, right?
Mulching material means homemade compost, soil conditioners, spent mushroom compost, cocoa shells, leaf mould, bark or wood chippings, gravel… even old carpets! Though old carpet doesn’t look great and won’t help improve your soil conditions the way an organic mulch like mushroom compost will.
Put a thick enough layer of your chosen (or available) mulch onto bare soil between plants either early in the year or late in the autumn, and you will reduce errant weeds by…. gosh, a huge percentage.
It really does make a difference.
Which mulch do we like the best? Homemade compost is brilliant, but for a fragrant mulch try the cocoa shells.
The whiff of chocolate in the air certainly makes gardening interesting!
Gardens To Visit
Now you know how to reduce weeds in the garden, you will have plenty of time to visit a few of the UK’s amazing, plant filled spaces and see how the professionals do it.
These are our recommendations for gardens in the South East - based on quality of the planting, atmosphere and the fact each gives you plenty of chance to experience the wonderful fragrances plants can provide….
- Great Dixter
- Helmingham Hall - which recently won a garden of the year award!
- The Topiary Garden of Charlotte Molesworth
- RHS Hyde Hall
We know many of our customers visit RHS Hyde Hall regularly, as we often meet you there during the fairs we attend.
It is always wonderful to say hello to you amidst the beautiful borders, so please do check out our events page to find out when you can next meet us.
Happy gardening fans of Boxworth Botanicals plant based skin care!
- Angela Deavall