This is a collaborative post in partnership with Hillier Garden Centres.
Are you spending more time in the garden now that spring has arrived? As the weather warms up and daylight hours increase, we naturally want to make the most of our outdoor spaces – but in reality after the winter months there’s usually some work to do before we can sit back and relax.
If your garden is looking a bit neglected right now, there are lots of things you can do to get it ready for spring and beyond.
The most obvious option is to introduce some lovely new plants to perk things up, but there are also plenty of spring gardening jobs that you can tackle to set the garden up for the next few months.
To help you get organised, here are my top plant picks for spring colour and interest, plus a quick list of perfect spring garden jobs. I’ve used the Hillier online shop to create this guide; it has a great range of plants and garden equipment to inspire you.
To help you get your garden ready for spring, I’ve also got a £50 gift card for the Hillier online shop to give away to a lucky winner. You’ll find more details on how to enter at the end of this post.
Hillier online shop
You will no doubt recognise the name Hillier from their chain of garden centres. If you’re a fan of RHS Chelsea Flower Show you’ll probably also know that Hillier has a long history of gold medal winning gardens (one of which I had the pleasure of visiting in 2019). What you might not be aware of is their new online shop, which launched last year.
The plants in the Hillier online shop are grown in their Hampshire-based nurseries. These are the same nurseries that provide all those medal-winning show garden plants, so you know you’re going to find lots of wonderful varieties and a real focus on quality.
In addition to an impressive range of plants, the online shop also stocks a wide selection of seeds, garden tools and equipment. It’s basically an online garden centre and a one-stop shop for gardening all year round.
Great plants for spring garden colour and interest
Need to get your garden ready for spring? Here’s my selection of great plants from Hillier that will give your garden colour and interest throughout spring and beyond.
Forsythia x intermedia ‘Discovery’ JOHN MITCHELL
If you’d like to kick spring off in style, Forsythia x intermedia ‘Discovery’ JOHN MITCHELL is a fantastic hardy shrub that really delivers on foliage and flowers. The white margined leaves contrast beautifully with the deep red stems, and in early spring the plant is covered in gorgeous pale yellow blooms.
This stunning shrub will eventually reach a height of 2.5m metres and a width of 2 metres, but you can easily keep it under control if you’d like a more compact plant.
Pieris ‘Flaming Silver’
Keen to add a little heat to your spring garden? Go for Pieris ‘Flaming Silver’. The new leaves on this compact evergreen shrub are bright red and really stand out against the older green leaves. You also get clusters of white flowers from mid spring.
Pieris japonica are native to Japan, and enjoy woodland conditions and partial shade. They thrive in acidic soil, so you may need to use ericaceous compost when planting.
Phormium ‘Yellow Wave’
After the long winter months I’m always craving lots of zingy green in the garden, and Phormium ‘Yellow Wave’ certainly delivers on that. It’s evergreen and clump-forming, with impressively long leaves that will add bags of texture and movement to borders.
If you’ve got large containers in the garden, phormium is also ideal for combining with spring flowers in pots to create height and structure.
Erysimum ‘Bowle’s Mauve’
Wallflowers are invaluable when it comes to early spring blooms. Erysimum ‘Bowle’s Mauve’ has deep pink flower spikes and grey-green foliage, and will reward you with flowers well into summer.
As well as making the garden look lovely, wallflowers provide a rich source of nectar for butterflies and other pollinating insects.
Dianthus ‘Raspberry Sundae’
Dianthus (or pinks) are great plants for the late spring garden, and they will keep on flowering into autumn. The candy-pink blooms on Dianthus ‘Raspberry Sundae’ stand out beautifully against the grey-green foliage, and have a splash of deep pink in the centre for added interest.
Dianthus are small plants, so they’re well-suited to the front of a border or a container display.
Lavandula stoechas ‘Springbreak Princess’
French lavender flowers earlier than English lavender, so you can use it to fill the garden with colour and amazing scent from late spring.
I love the contrasting shades of purple on Lavandula stoechas ‘Springbreak Princess’. It’s a great plant for a sunny spot, and you can plant lavender in pots or borders. And of course, the bees adore it too.
Gardening in spring: perfect jobs to tackle
If all these spring plants have inspired you to get busy in the garden, here are some general maintenance jobs you can start working on. They’re all perfect garden tips for spring and will definitely help to keep things looking good right into summer.
Growing plants from seed is a low-cost way to bulk out your plants, and it’s also a brilliant gardening project for children. Early spring is a good time to start, as the risk of frost lessens and the warmer days encourage germination.
You could focus on edible crops, or go for some easy flowers to grow from seed. The Hillier online shop has an extensive range of popular and unusual flower seeds.
Stay on top of weeds
Everything grows so fast in spring – and that includes the weeds. Staying on top of them by weeding little and often is a good approach; you won’t have to find a big chunk of time for the weeding, and you’ll give your plants more room to grow. Tackling weeds when they’re still small is also a lot less hard work; a good hand fork should be all you need.
Your lawn is probably growing again by now, and if that’s the case it’s time to start mowing. Keep your mower blades high for the first few cuts to help new shoots develop.
If the grass has become compacted over winter, now is a good time to aerate it by using a garden fork to make holes at regular intervals. You can also make a tired-looking lawn look instantly smarter by using a lawn edger to neaten up the edges.
It’s never too early in spring to start keeping an eye on garden pests! Slugs and snails will be active now, and if your garden is home to lots of seedlings or young plants they will make a beeline for them.
Creating physical barriers is an eco-friendly way to keep slugs and snails under control. Crushed eggshells work well in borders, and copper tape will deter them from munching container plants.
Deadheading your flowering plants on a regular basis is a low-effort way to keep them flowering for as long as possible, and it’s well worth getting into the habit of doing it as soon as the spring flowers start to appear.
Removing dead flowers and seed heads from your plants encourages them to produce new blooms. You can use your fingers to do this, but a pair of snips makes the job quicker and easier.
Look after garden wildlife
Many species of garden wildlife are busy raising young at this time of year, and there are some simple things you can do to help them out.
Providing a source of food and water will make life easier for wild birds. A bird bath with shallow steps will also be visited by pollinating insects, while a feeding station is ideal for smaller gardens or outdoor spaces that don’t have trees to hang a feeder in.
I’ve got lots of other ideas for making your garden more wildlife-friendly in my garden for wildlife post.
All the plants and products I’ve included in this post are available to buy in the Hillier online shop. Which one is top of your list to help get your garden ready for spring and beyond?
Win a £50 Hillier online gift card to get your garden ready for spring
I’m giving away a £50 gift card to use in the Hillier online shop. To enter, follow the instructions in the Rafflecopter widget below. Good luck!a Rafflecopter giveaway
GIVEAWAY CLOSES: 8TH MAY 2022 11:59PM
UK ENTRIES OVER 18 YEARS OLD ONLY
FULL T&Cs IN THE RAFFLECOPTER ABOVE
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Hillier are providing the £50 gift card for prize purposes.