Spring – the season when the garden and wildlife starts to emerge from its long winter sleep. Displays of spring flowers add a welcome dash of colour, buds appear and the wildlife starts to wake up. For many winter can be a long period of enforced time spent indoors but as the weather becomes warmer, the nights start to draw out and spring bulbs bloom, now is that time that a little preparation in the garden can help reap the benefits at the height of summer.
Most garden lawns are looking a little damp and soggy at the moment but if you follow a few simple steps now they have the best chance of being a healthy swathe of green. Begin by aerating to allow some air into the soil but be sure to use a hollow-tine aerator rather than your garden fork. Next spend a little time scarifying – whilst it won’t remove the moss it will help to create a thicker lawn and the moss will finder it harder to invade. Regular mowing over the summer months will guarantee to keep your lawn in great shape, but don’t forget to regularly sharpen the blade.
Recent trends towards ‘grow your own’ have meant many of us now have a vegetable patch in your garden. If you are thinking of creating one or if you already do grow your own, now is the perfect time to prepare the ground. Cover the area with carefully secured polythene for two weeks to let the weeds die back and the soil to heat up and then prepare for the seeds and plants by giving it a good weed and rake-over.
But with a vegetable patch come the potentially unwelcome intrusion of slugs – often seen as the scourge of the garden. But before you reach for the slug pellets which can harm other wildlife, try some natural deterrents like egg shells or pine needles that make it hard for them to get over; create a slug shelter to encourage them to a specific area away from the veg and plants or introduce plants that deter slugs using a natural chemical such as astrantia, fennel and rosemary.
Perhaps the idea we love best for deterring slugs is the introduction of wildlife into the garden. Toads, newts, hedgehogs and song thrushes are natural predators of slugs and will take care of the problem for you. And what better way to introduce wildlife than by creating a garden pond. A pond can transform the atmosphere in a garden, adding colour, movement, light, reflections and sound. Even the smallest of spaces can benefit from some water which can even increase the sense of space. Introduce a pond to your garden and sit back and watch the pond skaters, water boatmen, toads, newts and birds start to arrive and guarantee your garden is teeming with life and colour in a few weeks’ time.