Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Time to prepare for Spring

WITH the nights becoming noticeably lighter, you can fit in a few more garden chores in preparation for spring.

When weather permits spray young seedling weeds that are appearing through the beds and borders, around paths and driveways. This will reduce the risk of a sudden rush of weeds as the ground warms towards the spring.

Get out there and give the lawn a trim - you'll be amazed just how tidy it will look.

Reform lawn edges now with a half moon tool and improve any curves by using a hose pipe as a guide.

Powerwash hard surfaces such as the patio or decking as this can become dangerously slippy at this time of year.

Preparations should be made now in the vegetable garden for early sowings. Dig or rotovate the plots and throw the ground up in rigs or beds as this will make planting and sowing easier.

Hot sandy or gravel soils which cause concern in dry summers often provide the most furnished areas in the garden through the winter months, apart from the absence of flowers in several months of the year. Perfect examples include Viburnums, Laurels, Photinia, Rhododendrons, Conifers and Holly. These will also provide a wind break and give a great structure to the garden through the winter.

The garden's greatest enemy is wind and this month often proves to be the stormiest. You cannot stop the wind but it can be slowed down to create a micro climate in your garden. Fences, walls and artificial screens will help stop this up to a point, but the best way is with plants. Hedges are excellent wind breaks and grow far more quickly than you might imagine, especially if they are nursed with a temporary fence or shelter screen while they develop.

Groups of trees and shrubs also make great shelter devices and have the added advantage of reducing noise.

Plant up areas most affected densely at first, but be prepared to thin out later.

The best time to plant shelter trees and hedges is now, this will allow the young plants to settle in before the summer.