10 simple ways to bring your garden back from the dead this weekend

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Gently wash the glass panes and make sure you get into all the crevices. This may seem over the top, but the lighter the greenhouse the better plants will grow. Furthermore, pests overwinter in those hard-to-reach places, so get in there and flush them out – just think of those tasty tomatoes.

5. Grow cut flowers from seed

If you fancy growing cut flowers for the house, April is a perfect time to sow a few cosmos. These eventually grow into the most generous of plants for cutting – you will struggle to keep up with the amount of blooms they can throw at you. There are many different colors and shapes to choose from, so spend an evening browsing websites such as Thompson & Morgan, Sarah Raven and Plants of Distinction for some delightful options. Garden centers also stock a great range of cosmos as young plants if you’d rather get started straight away.

To sow these easy-going beauties, fill a small tray with peat-free compost then firm and water well to settle the level – ideally a centimeter or so below the top of the tray. Cosmos seeds easy to handle, so space them well: you will easily get 20 or so in a small tray. Lightly cover the seeds with more compost and, when seedlings are large enough to handle, prick them out into small pots. Keep in a frost-free place until the end of May, when they can go outside.

6. Clear weeds, feed and mulch

The old saying “One year’s seeds, seven years’ weeds” is very true: if we allow that first flush of annual weeds to grow, flower and produce lots of seeds, we’ll be chasing weeds around our gardens all summer – every year . Weeds are incredibly successful plants and have adapted to produce many generations of seedlings over a short period of time so it’s imperative to keep on top of them.

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To put yourself on the front foot this season, physically remove weeds with a fork and put them on the compost heap. Don’t compost perennial weeds such as bindweed, ground elder or docks (unless you have a specific bin for them) as they will return if your heap isn’t hot enough to destroy them. For most of us, perennial weeds are best burned or put into the household waste bin.

Once you have cleared the ground between plants, add a handful of Growmore per square metre, water well and add a 5-10cm layer of mulch – garden compost or well-rotted manure – to retain moisture and boost soil fertility.

7. Buy pots of tulips in growth for instant color

Hindsight is a wonderful thing: are you kicking yourself for forgetting to plant a few tulips last autumn? You may now be looking enviously at neighbours’ gardens, full of promising green shoots as these colorful bulbs emerge and form buds.

However, there is still plenty of opportunity to bring instant color and tulip-based glamor to your garden or patio. Garden centers have wised up: they know that many of us forget to plant bulbs at the right time, so they are now well stocked with potted bulbs ready to be slipped into borders and pots for late spring colour.

Any container is suitable for creating a display, as long as it has a few drainage holes to prevent bulbs from becoming waterlogged. Use a multipurpose, peat-free compost and keep bulbs damp but not wet.

I also use small thymes, heucheras or ivies to add a little extra interest in tulip pots.

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George Holan

George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.

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