Gardening: Spring clean for the summer

MARCH is the time for a thorough spring clean around the garden; the time to tidy away the leaves and dig over borders in preparation for summer.

Duncan Cuthill, horticultural guru at Dobbies Garden Centre at Melville Edinburgh, gives his top tips for getting your garden in tip-top shape.

“Early spring is the best time to divide and replant overcrowded perennial herbs like mint, chives and marjoram, before the plants are actively growing. This is also a great time to get your beds off to a good start by spreading a slow release fertiliser around emerging plants. Some of the best plants to get started in March include glory of the snow, primrose, tulip and cherry.

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“Start mowing the lawn as the warmer weather sets in; this will stimulate growth. A spring lawn treatment and feed will also help to promote growth, keep your lawn healthy and help keep weeds and moss under control for months to come.

“Warmer weather unfortunately will also stimulate weeds to grow as fast as plants. Be sure to remove weeds whilst they are still small and growing relatively slowly, and mulch bed and borders to keep the unwanted invaders under control. It will save you hours of work later on in the summer season.”

Duncan continues: “March is also the ideal time to spring clean your greenhouse inside and out to get rid of any lingering pests and diseases so you’re ready to start sowing and growing.

“Numerous vegetables can be sown this time of year but be guided by the weather and sow only if conditions are right as new growth can be vulnerable to frost.

“Finally clean and repair your garden tools. Don’t get carried away by the large array of tools available - be selective and buy only essential tools and those that you will use. For 2013 Dobbies has a new range of Essentials machinery; such as a 1000w lawnmower for just £45.”

• For more hints and tips, you’ll find Duncan in the plant area at Dobbies Garden World, Melville Nursery, Lasswade, Midlothian, EH18 1AZ. Visit or call 0131 663 1941 for further information on products, advice and events.