April 4th In Danny Clarke

Danny Clarke's top tips for gardening in spring

Read our six top tips for getting your garden picnic-ready this spring, courtesy of Danny Clarke, a.k.a. The Black Gardener

Lay down the lawn

With the promise of showers and a rise in temperatures, now is a good time to lay a new lawn. Get to your nursery early on a Monday morning for the latest delivery and the freshest turf – you don’t want the stuff that’s been left hanging around for too long.

Insider tip: Turf needs around two weeks to take root. Don’t walk on it too soon. When you’re laying it, use boards to walk on the bits you’ve put down.

Don’t mow too low

Mow your lawn regularly but keep the mower blades (or settings, if you’ve got a Miimo) high, and gradually lower them as you edge closer to summer. If you cut too harshly you’re encouraging diseases by exposing the lawn and also leaving more space that will allow weeds to compete for space.

PHOTOGRAPH

The Honda Miimo is the champion of gardening

This cool dude cuts the grass in three modes without any help from you

Divide and allow plants to conquer

Splitting late-blooming perennial plants — such as Geranium, Heliathus, Anemone — can save you a small fortune. Either lift them from the bed and find natural splits, or take the spade and divvy into quarters. This improves their vigour, but make sure the frost is gone and the rain’s en route. Replant into other parts of the garden or pot them up for gifting to someone later in the year. 

Manure your beds

Dig well-rotted manure or a layer of compost into your beds now so they’re prepared for the growing season. Ideally, start composting your own eggs, peelings and organic waste. This’ll give you better soil quality. Alternatively, buy from someone you trust – you don’t want to be importing weeds or even chemicals.

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Creating compost

Best way of using all those peelings, eggshells and teabags for tip-top soil quality

Time for cut backs

Cut back any dead foliage on your plants and ornamental grasses to make way for new growth. The bits that have gone brown should be cut down and left – the birds will benefit from this too as they’ll feed on what was beneath. Similarly, deadhead daffodils and tulips as the plants finish flowering. Doing this promotes more growth in the future, so next year will be even better!

Don’t forget the pots

Even if it’s been raining, you should still check any potted plans to ensure they’re well watered, there’s no guarantee the rain found them. Unlike those in a bed, their roots can’t go foraging for water. Check the soil is moist just by popping your finger in the soil.

PROFILE

Danny Clarke

Bio

Dannahue ‘Danny’ Clarke discovered his love of gardening after living in exotic countries all over the world. In 1997, he set up his gardening business after graduating from Hadlow College where he studied garden design. He specialises in all aspects of gardening design and construction; from turfing, fencing and decking, to pruning, cleaning and paving.

Passions

Cricket, football, travel, gardening.

Motto

“We come from the earth. We return to the earth – and in between we have gardens.”