For many people, spring is their favourite time of year, when the frost of winter waves goodbye, the evenings get lighter, and plants begin to flower, beautifying their outdoor spaces.
Unfortunately, the good weather also means that your last remaining excuse to avoid tending to the garden has now been eliminated, which means getting out there and ensuring everything is in place for the summer.
Whether you have a small patch of lawn, bursting borders or an entire allotment, there are plenty of tasks that can keep you busy at the weekend and help to sow the seeds of a successful summer.
Mowing the lawn
The most simple garden chore can also be among the most physically tasking, but the fact is that a freshly mown lawn can be a sight for the eyes and a scent for the nose.
Some people may understandably want to get the job over with as soon as possible and therefore rush through the task, but those who adopt a targeted and deliberate approach may find that they benefit in the long run.
Gardeners’ World advises mowing your lawn regularly from spring onwards, which will not only encourage healthy growth, but will also deter weeds. By summer, it may be necessary to mow the grass at least once a week, but during dry periods it is best to leave the lawn uncut as longer grass will stay greener in hot weather.
Another tip is to check that the blade of the mower is set to the correct height - raised a little at the start and end of the season - with somewhere between 2.5cm and 4cm recommended.
Weeding out the unwanted
Weeds are the bane of many gardeners’ lives, but – even if they are only a mild inconvenience to you – there is little doubt that eliminating them helps to create a prettier garden.
For some, the main problem associated with weeds is identifying exactly what is a weed and what is a flower, as some pests are actually quite pretty.
As well as obvious candidates such as brambles, thistles and stinging nettles, the likes of meadowgrass, valerian and speedwell all fall under the weed category.
Pretty examples such as buttercups, dandelion and clover can all also do more harm than good, so Gardeners’ World advises having the right weedkiller stocked up to literally nip problems in the bud. A list of common weeds is available here.
When it comes to planting, there are still some flowers that can benefit from being sown at this time of year, as we detail in our 2016 garden planting calendar.
For those who have hedges, the brighter and drier weather represents a great time to trim them back, although take care to check for any birds’ nests before doing so.
Nature lovers may also wish to adorn their garden with bird-friendly equipment, ranging from baths, food tables and hanging nut and seed dispensers, to actual bird boxes that can encourage a family of bluetits to make a home outside yours.
Other manual tasks such as raking any leftover leaves off the lawn and soil, turning over topsoil to create a solid black colour, and regularly watering plants to maintain healthiness, can help to put your garden in the best possible position for a bright and successful summer.
Gardeners’ World offers a wide range of advice to gardeners of all abilities with gardens of all sizes. More information and tips are available on its website.