Top gardening tips for the lockdown Easter weekend

Easter is the perfect time to get your garden looking beautiful

Easter is the perfect time to get your garden looking beautiful - Credit: Halfpoint -

With the weather looking good for the Easter weekend, it’s the perfect time to get your garden looking beautiful again – and don’t forget to sit out and enjoy it once the hard graft is done.

Peter McDermott, head gardener at the market leading online gardening supplier You Garden

Peter McDermott, head gardener at the market leading online gardening supplier You Garden - Credit: Archant

Gardening is a fun way to get outside for some fresh air and physical activity – it’s also a social event that every member of the family can get involved in.

More and more research is highlighting that gardening has a positive effect on health and wellbeing too. The Royal Horticultural Society (RHS) is currently collating scientific research, and it’s only a matter of time before we can ‘blueprint’ a garden for optimal health and wellbeing, so that besides cultivating beautiful plants that delight our senses, we can also grow food and even cure minor ailments in our gardens.

Easter is the best time to get into your garden, this year more than any other! We’ve teamed up with Peter McDermott, head gardener at Enjoy Gardening More, to give you some top tips on what to be getting on with over the long weekend.

Prep your lawn

Give established lawns a pick-me-up. Remove thatch (a build-up of dead grass) by going over it with a lawn rake and then apply a spring lawn feed to boost growth. Redefine untidy edges with a half-moon tool and a piece of timber as a cutting guide. Aim to leave a vertical edge, 7.5cm deep.

Tidy bulbs

• Dead head spring bulbs such as daffodils as the blooms fade to prevent bulbs putting energy into producing seeds. Leave the foliage until it turns brown.

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• Plant summer-flowering bulbs such as freesias, lilies and gladioli.

Titivate beds and borders

• Keep an eye out for red lily beetles. These pests may look pretty, but they will chomp their way through flowers, leaves and buds of lilies and fritillaries. The adults are shiny scarlet, while their larvae are covered in a black, jelly-like substance. Check plants regularly and if you find any, remove and dispose of them.

• Mulch beds and borders with garden compost, leaf mould, composted bark or other materials to lock-in moisture and prevent weeds from growing.

Pamper plants in pots

• Keep pansies, violas, daisies and other spring bedding plants going for longer by pinching off flowers as they fade.

• Protect plants from root munching vine weevil grubs by drenching compost with Nemasys Vine Weevil Killer, a biological control containing nematodes (microscopic worms).

• Pinch out the growing tips of bedding plants with your thumb and forefinger to encourage bushier plants.

Look after plants undercover

• Inspect plants indoors for pests. Greenfly, white fly, mealy bug and red spider mite can spread quickly, so control by hand or introduce a biological pest control to prevent the problem getting out of hand.

• Many windowsills and greenhouse benches will be heaving with containers full of developing seedlings. To prevent seedlings from becoming weak and leggy, give them their own pot when the first set of real leaves appears above the rounded seed leaves.

Don’t forget trees and shrubs

• Check tree ties and loosen if necessary to prevent them from biting into the bark as the stem expands outwards.

• Give shrubs a quick boost by scattering a general fertiliser over the soil – Growmore granules or chicken manure pellets are both ideal.

• Frost damage on tender shrubs looks unsightly, so prune back any damaged shoots to allow healthy growth. If you have an exposed garden, or live in a cold area, wait until next month when all danger of frost has passed.

• Keep azaleas and rhododendrons looking good by pinching off fading flower heads above a new set of leaves.

Take time for yourself

Don’t forget that after a day of grafting in your garden, you need to take time out to enjoy it, so just sit back, grab a book and your favourite cuppa and just indulge yourself in the sounds and scents of nature.

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