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Spring clean your garden and prepare it for a glorious summer

February 26th 2014
By: jon.acquarone

This time of year can be a tricky one for gardeners; the sun stays out for a little longer, lulling us into a false sense of security.  But there can still be sharp frosts so delicate plants and seedlings still need to be protected at night.  The winds can be fierce too, so do remember to look after the vulnerable parts of your garden.
 
The winds can help dry out the soil so take time to dig over your flower beds and borders and incorporate mulch wherever you can.  Time spent doing the boring weeding and removing moss from the soil, paths and driveways will mean that maintenance later in the year is kept to a minimum.
 
If you have any fruit trees (standard or bush - apple or pear), it’s time to prune them before the buds appear. Perennials need cutting down now if they’ve been left over the winter and so do grasses – even if they look fine now, they’ll need cutting back to encourage healthy regrowth.
 
Now is a good time to check over your garden tools, especially if they’ve been tidied away during the winter.  Check the lawn mower works or maybe book it in for a service.  Have a look at your garden furniture and tighten any screws and fixings – get the oils out ready to treat the wooden furniture and prepare it for the summer as soon as it is warm enough.
 
Don’t forget the flying visitors to the garden – if you’ve been feeding the birds, don’t stop yet, they’ll have grown used to regular food supplies.  If you want to make your own fat balls to treat them, then they’re easy to do using scraps of food and fat.  Just remember not to use turkey fat (it doesn’t set like lard) or anything salty.  Mix melted lard or suet and mix it with porridge oats or cheese and then leave them to set in the fridge overnight.  The rough guide is two parts fat to one part dry ingredients.
 
Why not take part in one of the bird spotting surveys that go on during the year – watch your garden for an hour and make a note of all the birds that visit.  Even in the most built up areas, there’s a huge variety of our feathered friends.  It’s a great activity for the children too – use a bird book or the internet to identify any unusual birds.