There’s been an upsurge in gardening over the past few years. Faced with more time at home under lockdown, a lot of us turned to our gardens to keep fit, stay busy and enjoy some time in the fresh air. It’s no surprise that we found wielding a trowel and pushing a wheelbarrow fun and satisfying.

Gardening helps people to reconnect with the natural world and with living things. It is also rewarding to see plants grow and flourish and there’s nothing fresher than homegrown produce. Creating a beautiful outdoor space also helps us to unwind and it’s a great place to entertain.

What to do in the garden in spring

Spring is in the air, the trees are in bud and flower, insects are on the wing and new shoots are pushing through the earth. The light and warmer weather bring to life masses of spring blooms and foliage. It’s good to see nature waking up, but that also means more spring gardening jobs such as trimming and pruning so your more vigorous plants don’t take over the whole garden. There’s also lots of sowing, potting on and planting out to be done.

So, whether you’ve got a new suite of garden furniture on order or are giving everything a good brush down and an airing before setting up, there’s plenty to keep you busy outside. Here are just a few of the ways you can make sure your garden gets off to the right start this spring…

How early should I start prepping for spring gardening?

Early spring is a great time for getting the garden ready for the year ahead. You might even have started propagating a few things indoors in January and February. If not, now’s the time to look through your seed box. When you’re ready to start your spring planning, get the catalogues out or go online and get your orders in.

Maintenance and cleaning

Fix

It’s been a mild and windy winter so check for damage to fences, retaining walls, decks, sheds, trellises, gazebos and arbours – and repair, sand down, reseal and repaint as necessary.

Wash

Clean bird baths and feeders with a wildlife friendly disinfectant to prevent the spread of disease, clear debris from ponds or water features and jet-wash patios, statuary and brickwork.

Maintain

Other spring maintenance jobs include giving your greenhouse a thorough clean with hot soapy water to get rid of any pests and diseases and let the light in. Clean all your pots, propagators and seed trays with soapy water. Add a splash of bleach to the soapy water mix to spruce up weather-worn plastic tables and chairs.

Planning and preparing

Visit

If you’re after some larger items for your garden – such as barbecues, ponds or gazebos – pop along to your local garden centre or visit a garden show to see the latest trends in garden features and design. When it comes to outdoor seating, lighting and patio furniture, it’s always best to try before you buy.

Lawn care

Edge your lawn and rake over lightly to remove leaves, twigs and moss. Apply lawn care fertiliser late-March to April, on a day when the grass is moist.

Soil care

Spring is also a good time to clear out your flower beds and give your soil a top dressing. Add some fresh compost to pots and tubs with established plants in too.

Prune

Chop back unruly plants such as lavender, sage and rosemary. Prune floribunda and tea roses and tame woody shrubs such as buddleia, hardy fuchsia, lilacs, hydrangeas and hebes. Tidy up leggy trees such as birch and maple and evergreens such as yew and juniper. If flower buds have formed, the general rule is to wait until after the blooms have faded and cut back in summer. Look forward to early rewards from spring blooming plants such as camellias, magnolias and fruit trees such as plums and cherries.

Planting and growing

Order

Order your summer bedding and hanging basket plants, such as begonias, geraniums and busy lizzies. If the weather turns cold, you’ll need to be prepared to nurture them indoors or in the greenhouse until mid-late May.

Buy local

Look out for local plant or seed swaps. Plants grown in your local area will be more accustomed to your soil and weather patterns, so will not need to acclimatise as much to their new surroundings.

Divide

Lift and divide established autumn-blooming perennial plants. Evergreen shrubs can also be moved in early spring before new growth appears.

What are the best flowers to plant in spring?

  • If you want a summer garden full of blooms, start planting bulbs such as pansies, dahlias, gladioli, lilies, nemesia, crocosmias and polyanthas.
  • Sow hardy plants and half-hardy annuals, such as sunflowers, nasturtiums and marigolds.
  • If you’re planning a spring vegetable garden, you can sow tomatoes, salad, spinach, squash, cabbage, chard, broccoli and herbs such as parsley and coriander indoors. When the soil is loose enough to work, sow onion sets, peas, parsnips, turnips and beetroot outdoors. Check seed packets for preferred soil conditions and exact planting times.
  • Late spring frosts are still a possibility so be prepared to cover emerging buds or foliage if a particularly cold snap is forecast. Don’t use plastic to cover tender plants – old sheets and towels, or microfleece are perfect.

Insuring your garden furniture, fixtures and fittings

If you have our Saga Select home contents insurance you are covered up to £1,000 for loss or damage to your plants, lawns, shrubs and garden contents within the property.

It’s easy to underestimate the value of your garden contents but when you add up all your patio furniture, barbecues, sheds, tools and plants, it’s worth a lot. If you’ve decked out your garden with the latest kit, you might be interested to know that our higher level of cover, Saga Plus, offers up to £5,000 instead. This includes all the above, plus we'll even cover professional design fees and expenses where required.

If you have our higher value home insurance, Saga TailorMade then all plants, shrubs and lawn etc are covered for up to 5% of your contents sum insured and to the full sum for any other garden contents as standard.

Call us on 0800 068 3410 to discuss the right cover level for you.