The First Sign of Spring

Many gardeners will have noticed spring slowly creeping in to their gardens over the past few weeks; as plants start to form small buds full of hope for the coming months. For me the first sign that spring is fast approaching is when snowdrops start to flowers. To me this marks a milestone in the gardening calendar and that things are set to really take off in the plant world.

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While traditionally snowdrops are said to appear just as the first snow beings to melt, I think they are a very welcome sight in the garden even though we had little if any snow this year. The flowers look so delicate you are almost afraid to get too close to them as they look as though they will break. This is far from the case and I would encourage you to get as close as possible to appreciate the true beauty of the flowers.

Snowdrops are very much one of the great spring flowering bulbs that add colour to a garden when it desperately needs its. However when bulb planting season comes around each year they are often the ones that are over looked in favour of more colourful and showy bulbs that appear later in the season. This is a trap I have fallen in to far too many times that I care to admit. This year however I broke the cycle and planted some in my own garden.

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Snowdrops work best right at the edge of a border where they can be seen easily. I am also a fan of planting them in small terracotta pots so they can be placed around patios or front doors. If you visit the Botanic Gardens in the coming weeks you will see this done to great effect in one of the smaller glasshouses.

All is not lost if you did not plant snowdrops last autumn but still want to enjoy some in your garden. Some good garden centres will be selling flowering ones in pots which can be planted in to the garden to be enjoyed. This option will work out more expensive than just buying the bulbs however.

This week in the garden

  • Be on the watch for harsh frost and ensure to protect tender plants.
  • Now is a good time to tidy and organise garden sheds and greenhouses in preparation.
  • Check all tools that they are in working order. Mend or replace any broken ones.
  • Continue to deadhead winter flowering plants in window boxes and hanging baskets.
  • Treat footpaths and driveways for moss.
  • Avoid walking or working on lawns as much as possible when damp

An edited version of the above article appear this week in the Kildare Post.

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