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Spring Clean

It is time to give the garden a bit of a tidy after the spring - keep on top of the weeds as they will quickly take over. Perennials such as pulmonaria and early-flowering hardy geraniums need to be cut back to encourage a fresh flush of foliage; this will stop the borders from looking tatty.

Chop right down with shears and tidy up any straggly bits with secateurs. It seems brutal and will look a little bare for a while, but within a few days the plants will recover. Follow-up with a general-purpose liquid feed and mulch. Astrantia and nepeta also benefit from this treatment and, along with geraniums, may bless you with an extra round of colour.

Don’t get too carried away with the tidying - remember to leave the seed heads on alliums to provide interest later in the year. I apply a one third, two thirds rule: retaining a third of the allium heads and cutting back the rest. In the autumn I replace a third of the allium bulbs to allow for bulbs rotting, splitting or being eaten.

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