Hurrah! It’s spring, and summer is sneaking up quickly too. If you’re not filled with the joys yet, don’t feel too bad. Chances are you just looked out the window, saw the garden and thought, ‘what happened?’ Yes, you might be ready to spark up the grill and have a party. But, unless you’ve got a team of groundsmen (or you’re a passionate type who’s been out taming the wilderness all winter) there’s probably work to be done before you start in on the marinades. Relax and breathe. Step away from sharp tools and think small for starters. It takes a bit of time to get a garden back after winter, so what you want are a few fast fixes to inspire you right now.
Cut the Grass, It Makes All the Difference
It might be the garden dullest chore, but there’s nothing like neat grass for instant transformation. If you’re not sure about timing, watch spring flowers: once the first petals have fallen, you can usually think about digging out the lawnmower. You might have put yours away in perfect working order last year, but a quick spring maintenance check is always a plan. Set your blades at the highest position. And, take it gently: a brutal attack on your sleepy, post-winter grass won’t lead to a lush, summer lawn.
Paint Some Plant Pots for Quick Colour
Nothing says ‘close the blinds until June’ like a collection of sad, scruffy terracotta plant pots. But, fresh, painted, they’re a great way to add brightness to bits of the patio and garden before nature takes over and does her magical flowering and blooming thing. You don’t have to be meticulous. Just choose a colour scheme, pick the right paint and cluster pots for best effect. Even empty, they’ll gladden your little heart, we promise.
Go Wild with Chives on the Patio
Cute, purple-flowering chives are one of the first spring herbs. They grow like wild without a fuss and look great before almost anything else. Plant them in pots on the patio (ideal if you have glazed external bifolds so you’ve got something pretty to look until the rest of the garden wakes up). And don’t forget, chives are delicious now it’s coming up on salad season.
Get out the Garden Furniture Fast
Even if it isn’t time to give up on cosy sweaters completely, a little bit of sun can usually be found somewhere in the garden about now. Get your furniture out as fast as possible, we say. Give it a clean and freshen up, then find a spot and lay claim to a bit of the light. It’s amazing how much happier a tired garden looks with just a chair or bench out in the sun and ready for summer.
It’s Never Too Early to Barbecue
True barbecue enthusiasts don’t let winter get in the way of their passion. You might not be ready to join that hardy band just yet. But nothing wakes up the garden like a hint of grilled deliciousness in the air and spring isn’t too early to light charcoal and get cooking. Plus, the sooner you start, the more time you have to perfect those rubs and secret sauces before the hungry hordes descend in July and August.
Sow a Few Seeds as Soon as Possible
You can start plants pretty much anywhere with a bit of daylight in spring. So think about getting simple herbs growing at the kitchen window, sowing early vegetables in pots on the patio or giving giant sunflowers a head start in soil trays under glass. And if everything doesn’t thrive, don’t worry. Even a few green shoots at this time of year will cheer you up, guaranteed.
Let Your Eyes Deceive You
The sun is amazing and great at highlighting every sad plant, bald patch of lawn and dismal area in the garden. Ease gently into the outdoors and be a little kind to yourself when you can. Sure, you have to do a bit of practical gardening during the day. But take advantage of warmer, longer evenings too. Put some seats on the patio, invest in a chiminea, add a few comfy cushions, light strategically placed candles and create a small, magical space. Forget what lies in the garden beyond, close your eyes, relax and make like it’s high summer. Sounds unrealistic? Give it a go - if it doesn’t work right away, pour a glass of wine and try again.
And, if all else fails, go out and buy yourself a few new plants. Or visit a National Trust garden and enjoy the labour of others while you wait for your own green space to really get going.
This is a collaborative post.