How’s your garden looking…?
All this Spring-has-sprung sunshine can only mean one thing in our house: it’s time to send Mr C out into the garden with a list of jobs. And in my role as, er, ‘supervisor,’ I thought I’d check in with a couple of experts to see how he… I mean, we can get our garden into tip-top shape.
Our garden isn’t huge – and what with the trampoline in one corner, the footy goal in another, and the great big veg patch in another, there’s not a lot of room for anything else. And what else there is tends to get piled up on what we laughingly refer to as ‘the patio’ – a small (like, tiny) square of paving slabs next to the shed. In an attempt to create somewhere we can actually sit and enjoy the fruits of our (well, Mr C’s) labours, I got Doyles Steam Cleaning, based in Kings Langley, to come and steam clean my patio (not a euphemism).
After the very lovely Doyles chap had politely managed not to laugh at the diminutive dimensions of our patio – and after he’d hazarded a guess at it being at least 10 years (and I think he was sparing my feelings) since it was last cleaned, he got to work. As soon as he started, the patio started changing colour. It started off a very grotty grey with black spots, and it ended up a sort of cream colour. I had no idea that was what was lurking underneath.
It took no time at all – I’d barely had time to drink a cup of tea and it was all over – and there was no mess left over, nothing to clear up, job done. And the relief on Mr C’s face at not having to add that particular chore to his list was definitely worth it.
Of course, now, with a lovely clean patio, the rest of the garden clearly needs some attention. So I turned to Berkhamsted-based garden expert Helen Reeley of Reeley Landscapes for some advice about what I should be adding to Mr C’s list of jobs. Obliging as ever, Helen came up with 3 things to keep him busy over the next couple of weeks:
Clear the decks. There’s bound to be a lot of dead stuff lying around in the garden at the moment, and now is the time to start clearing it, cutting it back, and getting rid of it. All those dead leaves and old stems? Get rid of them.
Declare war. It’s been a mild winter, relatively speaking, which means that we’re in for a bumper crop of … slugs. Horrid things with no discernible purpose, they’ll lay waste to anything you plant – unless you strike first and strike fast. Beer traps work well: sink shallow trays filled with beer into the soil and the slugs will make a beeline for them — then drown. Check for slugs’ eggs, too: they’re tiny, white and translucent, and you’ll find them inside flower pots, under bricks, and so on. Scrape them off and squash ‘em. No mercy.
Get sowing. Anything that will cope with a frost, you can sow outside already – if it’s hardy, go for it. Sunflowers are a good one to start now – plant 4 to a bucket, then transplant 4 of them into the garden once they’re big enough. Leave number 5 in the bucket and see how tall it can get. Or go for something beautiful and edible, like Calendula. Anything that’s a bit tender will need a bit of pampering (don’t we all?), so sow those indoors and keep them by a sunny window until the chance of frost is past. Ipomoea (Morning Glory) are a good one to start indoors now, and then once you’ve planted them out and they start flowering, they’ll carry on until the frosts start again next winter.
Reeley Landscapes, 07708 643 313.
Doyles Steam Cleaning, 07889 288 555.