The good news is that summer is on its way, which means more time spent outside in the garden. After a winter stuck indoors sheltering from the elements, sometimes what we find outside comes as a shock. Gardens, dormant in cold weather, suddenly spring into life without us noticing and it is often a case of playing 'catch up'.
Avoid the garden galloping away by putting in place a few carefully laid plans. First of all, take a look at the garden tools, are they ready to use, or do they require any essential maintenance? Essential power tools, such as lawnmowers, need regular servicing to keep them in tip top working condition. For a lawnmower to keep cutting grass cleanly and efficiently an annual maintenance check is strongly advised. A basic tune-up, which includes checking spark plugs, air filter and oil change will put the lawnmower in excellent shape for dealing with a season of long, lush grass. Lawnmower tune up kits are a great way for the do-it-yourselfer to tackle this essential job; they include all the stuff needed to get the mower ready for action. Take a look over at Pat's Small Engine Blog for some great solutions to this annual task. Remember, taking time to perform basic maintenance jobs like this prolongs the life of the lawnmower, makes the job of grass cutting easier and the garden will appear smarter?
At the start of the growing season it's a good idea to check the state of the soil. Some gardeners like to add nutrients in the fall so there is time for them to be absorbed into the soil, while others prefer to add it closer to planting up; both methods work fine. If a vegetable garden is planned, specific types of fertilizer will be necessary depending on the crop and the existing state of the soil. Those who keep a well-managed compost heap should have plenty of well-rotted organic matter available to enrich the soil at this time of year. Give generously to the soil and it will give back in terms of a bumper harvest.
Sitting out in a garden full of summer color is one of life's great pleasures, so be sure to plant up plenty of flowers. Bedding plants are a great summer staple and will give any garden an instant lift; a trip to the local garden center will provide all that's needed for an injection of color. Consider classic summer favorites such as Geraniums, Petunias, Lobelia, Cornflowers, Begonias, Salvias, and Gazanias for a vibrant summer display. Gardeners who prefer to keep labor to a minimum plant hardy perennial blooms which return each year; consider Marigolds, Gaura, Rudbeckia, Verbena, Crocosmia, Echinacea and Lavender for a cottage garden inspired summer show that lasts and lasts.
There's a whole season of great gardening to get stuck into, so make sure it's a good one and be fully prepared. A well-tended garden is a joy to behold and a few hours hard work invested in the spring and early summer will pay dividends later on.