Summer’s coming! Time to get your garden looking bloomin’ lovely
How to spruce up your garden with a minimum of fuss
It’s been a long dark winter. But the nights are drawing out and there’s a little less rain on the horizon meaning now is the time to get out into the garden! And an attractive garden isn’t just good for when you want some fresh air, it can add a whopping 20% to the value of your house too.
So what are you waiting for? Follow our inspiration tips to make your outdoor space sing.
Emma, of Swansea, makes a colourful display using pictorial meadows seed mix. “I scatter the seeds into the patch of ground outside my house,” she said.
“The flowers that bloom are really beautiful with reds, yellows whites and blues. Once planted, they need very little care, which is great for me as I don’t have loads of time to spend in the garden.
“Everyone who sees them comments on how lovely the display looks. One lady even posted a note through my door to say how happy the flowers make her on her way to work.”
Grass is so last season! Add a delicious scent to your garden by planting creeping thyme in an area of earth, instead of laying the usual boring turf.
Emma said: “The thyme grows really easily and looks really interesting around stepping stones. The colours are beautiful, deep greens, whites and a hint of purple too. And the smell is wonderful. It’s much easier to keep than grass too and needs much less trimming.”
Early spring is an ideal time to plant herbaceous perennials such as Geranium, Astrantia and Oriental Poppies, all of which will benefit from the longer growing season. Bents Garden & Home advises gardeners to plant in well prepared soil to get flowers blooming from early summer.
Spring and summer flowering shrubs such as rhododendrons and azaleas can also be planted now as well as tender bulbs such as Gladioli, Lilies and Dahlias. Plant these at fortnightly intervals over a period of a few weeks and you will get a succession of beautiful blooms.
The magic of maples
Create an attractive focal point in your garden with Japanese maples, the Horticultural Trade Association’s ‘plant of the moment’ for April.
“The perfect choice of tree for any small, compact or courtyard garden, these plants are perfect for brightening a shaded corner, or elegantly overhanging a pool or water feature,” it says. Colours and leaf shapes vary but their intricate forms and
Colours and leaf shapes vary but their intricate forms and wide range of colours will brighten your outdoor space no end. Choose a sheltered place to plant one. Maples prefer well-drained soil containing plenty of compost to lock in moisture and ensure the ground never dries out. Spread a deep mulch of leaf-mould, compost or shredded bark over the soil around maples to retain moisture and reduce annual weed growth.
A few simple beds or some edging can really transform the look and feel of drab spaces. Corner beds are especially good for small urban courtyards. WoodBlocX have single and multi-level options, or you can give them your specifications for a free bespoke design.
Wooden planters are also a really good choice for courtyards or to flank a front door. They are smart, can be painted any colour you like, and won’t crack or corrode. Putting some bright bedding plants in them will brighten a dreary area and make it a pleasure to be outside.
Kevin Revell, plant area manager at Caerphilly Garden Centre in South Wales, has a tip to help bees and pollinating insects in the face of falling numbers. “There is no better plant than lavender to attract them,” he said.
“Given a sunny position, this plant will bring the garden to life in summer. Butterflies and moths too will be attracted by a range of flowering shrubs from hebes to buddleias and honeysuckle.”
He added: “Don’t forget to tolerate a bit of damage caused by their caterpillars and avoid using toxic sprays which cause unseen damage elsewhere in the environment.”