Garden jobs for spring

by James Alexander-Sinclair

I am always in a panic at this time of year - there are so many things that need to be done. All before the end of March. So, the time has come to make a list.

Spring buds on branches of a treeFebruary is a thoroughly miserable month: the ground is too muddy, the rain too chilling, the light bleak and most people are feeling fed up: really the only good thing about it is that it is shorter than the other months. 

But, as that ghastly month closes, if you look closely then spring is visible everywhere. We have buds fattening as quickly as a troupe of bun-loving chubbies and the pointy shoots of bulbs push themselves through the cold soil. These are stark reminders that soon things will need to be done. Spring is a bit like a rollercoaster: you get very slowly winched up through the long days of winter until you teeter on the top. Then suddenly it is downhill rush as everything starts sprouting and growing and flowering and, unless you are careful you will run out of time to complete all those things that need doing before the spring. 


I am always in a panic at this time of year - there are so many things that need to be done. All before the end of March. So, the time has come to make a list. 

Things I need to do before spring: 

(i) A huge pile of manure has just arrived and I need to get that shovelled onto the borders

(ii) I have to get supports into the borders before things start growing - luckily we live in some woodland so I can coppice some hazels. 

(iii) Order vegetable seeds - actually this bit has been done already by my very efficient wife. This year it is a relatively modest order as we rather pushed the boat out last year so have plenty of leftovers that are still viable. 

(iv) Plant the seeds that my very efficient wife has ordered. 

(v) Divide grasses and some herbaceous plants

(vi) Prune and tie back climbing roses. 

(vii) Cut back willows and dogwoods - although this can wait a bit. 

(viii) Plant bare-rooted trees - last chance motel, ladies and gents. 

(ix) Prune fruit trees - done most of them but have a few to finish off. 

(x) Find and plant something to plug the gap in the borders where I dug out a veronicastrum in a fit of pique.

Better stop writing and start doing. Anything interesting on your last-minute panic lists?

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Gardeners' World Web User 01/03/2010 at 17:53

February 28th, over an inch of rain, March 1st, early frost followed by sunniest day for a very long time. Wonderful! I was out in the garden first thing, armed with my to do list, a lengthy document, cleaning the pond pumps, replacing the filters and UVC lamps, weeding, sorting out the climbers and a dozen other things. Brilliant start on the list, but the best bit of the day, sitting in the morning sun on a bench, with a cup of coffee, admiring the crocus display, as courting birds twitter overhead. After such a bad winter today has been very rewarding

Gardeners' World Web User 01/03/2010 at 20:46

So true i have been waiting for this day all winter beautiful.

Gardeners' World Web User 01/03/2010 at 21:39

Pears, pears, pears! I finally ordered two minarette pears from Ken Muir today, after much faffing and wandering off on quince tangents. Bad weather is no excuse, I should've done it ages ago but couldn't bring myself to go for minarettes, afraid they'd look like those bizarre, over-fruiting, containerised midget trees in magazines. But I shall train mine at a jaunty angle side-by-side on my sunny wall, and hope for the gracious cordon effect. Interestingly also spent my lunch hour Vitax-ing all the roses while removing our cat's and dog's little presents from around the garden. Out with the old poo, in with the new. Go, March! Sheila Averbuch -- Stopwatch Gardener

Gardeners' World Web User 02/03/2010 at 12:27

Dear James, I have to finish applying wood preservative to my trellises before allowing anything to grow up them. I started the job last September and have done 2.5 trellises so far. I also have to fix a hole in my pond liner. These are two very boring, horrible jobs and I've been hoping they would just go away. But they haven't. Kate

Gardeners' World Web User 02/03/2010 at 13:30

Just had a wander round my garden, looks like ive lost a few plants and even my ceonothus and red robin look like they have bit the dust, the ground is frozen solid along with the pond and water butt, a little snow on the ground ,its an open aspect garden so gets no protection but i must say the dog woods look lovely and the few snowdrops. I am hoping it warms up soon!!

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