The Daily Telegraph - Saturday

Two hours in the garden

With ever-changing weather, preparatio­n is key – these tips will help keep your garden in tip-top condition

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People say things are “like a roller coaster” too often, but nothing could be more appropriat­e when talking about conditions in our gardens during April. As gardeners we have to work with snow, frosts, drying winds – and then the scattered sunny days when we’re in T-shirts.

As the garden begins to grow, we can cautiously prepare our outdoor spaces for the full-on thrust of late spring and summer. It’s all about putting yourself in the best position for the season ahead – so preparatio­n is key – but remember to have fun with it too.

SCRUB UP

It’s not the most glamorous of jobs in the garden, but it can be one of the most rewarding: clean your patios and hard surfaces. Leaves and soil can build up in corners, weeds start to grow in any cracks, and some surfaces can get slippery and unsafe. To get your garden ship-shape for the

LAWN LOGIC

If your lawn is wet, don’t cut it – you’ll do more harm than good. If your grass is dry enough, start mowing but raise the blades, leaving the grass a little longer than normal. The idea is to gradually lower the cutting blades as the grass grows and thickens. Cutting the lawn too tight or too early can cause bald spots. If you fancy trying something different, introduce some unmown areas. You’ll be astonished by the number of flowers and grasses that appear. Cut winding paths through your new meadows – it can look beautiful. summer, get on top of those hard surfaces. Sweep away any soil or leaves that have collected, remove weeds and check under pots for slugs. Once all the debris is cleared away, a stiff brush and a drop of washing-up liquid in a bucket of water will help to remove any grime. If you like playing with gadgets, then try hiring a pressure washer (visit hss.com).

PROTECT FRUIT BLOSSOM

One of the joys of this time of year is the eruption of fruit blossom. But wherever you garden, you’ll have been lucky if you managed to avoid a cold spell recently. Fruit blossom can be damaged by hard or late frosts and this affects the amount of fruit we can pick. If possible, when your fruit tree is in bloom and a frost is forecast, throw an old net curtain or piece of horticultu­ral fleece over the tree at night. This will protect the flowers and your fruit crop later in the year. Plum blossom is particular­ly vulnerable.

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 ??  ?? i Flower power: consider leaving part of the lawn unmown
i Flower power: consider leaving part of the lawn unmown

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