Spring has sprung so work’s begun

It’s that time of year when a little lightness starts to lift the spirits. The end of March means sunshine and smiles – and a sense of needing to be outdoors soaking up any rays Yorkshire is lucky enough to linger under.

It’s officially Spring, we lost an hour when the clocks sprung forward which didn’t help the hangover after a friend’s 30th birthday party, but it was too exciting to stay feeling sorry for ourselves for long. It’s time to get things done!

A well-spent Mother’s Day was a fabulous time to wonder at all the amazing things we could create in the garden. Dave had built a big flower bed on the sunniest side of the house last year which has spent the winter looking sad and empty. Now we could finally start playing with colour, texture and shape, planting the seed quite literally for something pretty special by the time summer comes around.

Here’s what we did:

Operation tidy up:

Rose ~ I was pretty sure I’d killed off a gorgeous pink rose my friend Katie had bought me as a housewarming gift this time last year. But there’s hope yet!

  • Lifting the rose out of the pot revealed tons of white roots wrapped around the soil – it needed a bigger pot. We teased the roots loose around the sides and base to help it find a home in it’s new bigger space.
  • A new pot was found and stones placed in the bottom to cover the base (just to stop soil from falling out). Paper would also do just as well if you have any magazines lying around.
  • We mixed soil and potting compost (and here you would also add slow release fertiliser granules if you had any) and filled the pot up to the height of the plant.
  • With its new home ready we took to work chopping off all the dead stems and twiggy / straggly ugly bits, then also cut away any inward growing stems as this will mean any new growth will form a nice outward shape.
  • Next, we were ruthless and chopped outward stems down by half their length up to an outward facing bud. Cut the stem in a diagonal as you would with cut flowers.
  • Finally we popped the newly pruned rose in its new pot, filled in soil around it until tightly bedded in and then topped with potting compost! A good water and it’s good to go.


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New beginnings in the flower bed:

With planting it’s best to divide and conquer. Think of it as though considering a bunch of flowers – groupings that go together because of their varied heights and complimenting colours. There’s more to it of course such as light and shade, but it’s a good starting point.

Section 1: Along the fence

  • This section is a little bit pic n mix at the moment with a small number of plants already there. We shuffled the fern back to the corner where it’s shadier and left the foxgloves where they are for now as seem happy enough. The ground is part shade part sun depending on the time of day.
  • We marked out a path line in front of the fence using an old decking plank.
  • In front of this we planted a row of lady’s mantle which will create a frothy yellow fizz of flowers over summer (June – Sep). My mother-in-law-to-be and garden guru Susan often refers to Sarah Raven as a garden expert so I’m going to use her links to plants where possible. I used Susan’s cuttings and you can be pretty rough and ready snapping off the stick-like roots to plant quite shallow in the ground.
  • Sadly this activity was not without tidying up. We cleared the ground as we went. There were A LOT of weeds but no pain no gain and it was a good workout too!
  • In between the fox gloves we also planted pretty little primulas – mine aren’t this colour but this gives a good idea, and the best part is they have flowers now (March – May) so something nice to look at sooner. They need shade when the flowers go so they can hide under the foxglove leaves. A good pairing!

Section 2: In the main bed

  • Again we divided this space in two with a makeshift path using bits and bobs of stone and old planks for now to create the right shape.
  • We decided to line the path with tall plants as brushing against plants creates a fun atmosphere / experience when everything is fully grown and full of life. I always like gardens with secret walkways and bits to discover, this is a mini version of that.
  • The tallest plants to go in first of all are verbena banarensis. This will be joined by white cosmos (may not be this exact one) and tall alliums – all great for arranging indoors too.
  • From there we fanned outwards with middle height plants next and short neat plants at the front which will drape over the decking edge.
  • I’m not loving the heather which was already in here but I’m putting up with it for now and trimmed it back so a nice green bun. It looks a little better and the new interesting things are helping to distract me!

That’s all for now!

~ Green Fingered Girl x