With what seems like an endless list of chores, the kids’ busy schedule and daily life whizzing by – getting into the garden and tidying it up in time for summer can fall further and further down your to-do list.
"Planning is key when thinking about what you want to plant"
But, with winter officially over, and March 12th marking National Plant a Flower day, now would be the perfect time to put those green fingers to work and spruce up the garden.
Potting plants is an easy way to welcome in the new spring season, bring some colour into your outdoor space and, one look at your radiant garden on a dreary rainy morning is sure to brighten up your mood.
Whether you've got a huge green garden or a smaller, modest-size space we've put together some handy tips from flower farmer and florist Nicola Cavanagh, which proves you don’t have to be a seasoned pro to revamp your garden.
What’s the right time to start planting your flowers?
She said: "It must be warm enough. This will vary according to plant type and of course where in the country you live. Plants are grouped into 'hardiness'. From the hardy ones that can withstand most temperatures below freezing for a length of time, to half-hardy. These plants can only tolerate frost for a short time and need warmer conditions. This is normally 10 degrees and above to survive and flourish.
"Planning is therefore key when thinking about what you want to plant.
"You dont want to race to the garden centre or nursery to buy a plant you love then plant it before the temperature rises, only to find it is going to die!
So don't go planting until the weather is consistently in the lower double figures! (Not that we'd expect to be hitting the barmy 30s at this time of the year!)
Where in your garden should you plant your flowers?
Nicola said the location of your garden and the aspect is also going to determine whether your new outside additions grow.
She said: "South facing is obviously going to receive a lot of sunlight, so will want sun-loving plants like lavender, Echinacea (purple coneflower), Salvia, Rudbeckia (black eyed Susan) and Delphinium."
What soil should you use?
"If your garden is new to you or you have moved house you may want to do a quick soil test using a kit to see if your soil is acidic or alkaline," Nicola said.
"This will again dictate which plants will be best suited to your garden.
"If your soil is alkaline, there is a large range of plants you can plant. With acidic soils, you are a little more limited but things like camelias, azaleas and skimmias love this soil."
How do you prep your garden beds?
Nicola said: "Spring is a great time to start your prep work in your beds. Firstly, weed over beds with a hoe. Then feed your beds with the crucial three soil nutrients; nitrogen, phosphorus and potassium. Plus add mulch to keep the water in, add nutrient and suppress the weeds - this can be done with well-rotted horse manure."
How to plant a flower?
Nicola said once you have selected your shrub or perennial you want to plant, warm up the ground - you can do this by covering your beds with black matting. When the sun hits the mats it will expedite the warming process. Then you need to give the plants a good soak for a few hours - simply pop the plants in buckets of water and allow them to take up as much water as possible.
She continued: "Dig a square hole slightly deeper than the pot size and wider than its circumference. Add some multipurpose compost or garden compost with some bonemeal to the hole and water it well. Next, place the plant in the hole and fill in with the garden soil.
"Water well throughout the first season especially during hot spells. Make sure you water early in the morning or later at night not in the heat of the day."