Window to the Garden
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Gardening is a fascinating and rewarding hobby or profession. Having said that, there are times when it can also be frustrating!

To the left, you will find a selection of Links that should alleviate disappointments, give you a few ideas and get more from your garden.

The Garden Focus section covers all you will need to develop your garden.

We have long been aware of the many benefits of gardening, keeping us active in both body and mind to name but two. The garden itself benefits us in many other ways and today, one of the most significant benefits is that our gardens have become a vital custodian within the landscape we all live in. A wide range of wildlife is looking to our garden for refuge and even survival. As more of our countryside is built upon the garden can only gain in significance. The Wildlife section looks at a range of ecological issues to help us, as gardeners, lend a hand.


The jobs we should be getting on with,
or at least think about getting on with!

Rising temperatures, increasing bird song and lengthening daylight all mean one thing
...Spring has Sprung!

Early SpringEarly Spring Mid SpringMid Spring  Late SpringLate Spring

When is it Spring for you?
Click Here!
Shall I prune, dig or irrigate?
Click the cloud!
Whats the weather up to?

I also have a website featuring my paintings - perhaps you might like to visit!


WttG News

Trees, Shrubs and Roses:

Early SpringClean, sharpen and oil your secateurs and loppers - your going to need them! Providing hard frosts are not forecast, prune your roses and remove the rose prunings from the area. As their flowers fade, prune shrubs that are in flower now. This is also the time to start pruning summer flowering shrubs. Begin to sort out your weeds - annual weeds can be forked-in but remove perennials.
Mid SpringLightly fork over the beds to break up surface compaction. Following the instructions given on the label, mid-spring is a good time to apply a top-dressing of an organic fertilizer such as Bonemeal. Remove winter protection from tender shrubs during the day, but put it back if frost is forecast at night. Begin planting and transplanting evergreens, including conifers, providing the weather is not too cold and windy. Prune spring flowering shrubs as soon as the flowers fade. Lightly clip winter flowering heathers as their flowers fade. Normally this is the time of year to mulch your trees, shrubs and roses; as well as preventing weeds, there are many advantages when using a mulch, particularly if it's organic - The surface of the soil is kept cool in summer, the soil structure is improved and it looks nice! Perhaps it’s greatest virtue today however, is retention of soil moisture. As to when it should be applied, the condition of your soil is more important than the correct time during spring. The ideal soil condition would be - moist and warm and free from perennial weeds. The ideal time then would be after a few days of prolonged light rain that preceded a day or two of warm sunshine. Watch your local forecasts and aim to replicate as near as possible these conditions and when you do apply the mulch, apply a good thick layer. If the optimum soil conditions have not been met by the end of spring, delay until they are met - mulching very dry soil will do more harm than good as it will trap subsequent rainfall, preventing it penetrating the soil to the roots of plants where it’s needed!
Late SpringContinue pruning spring flowering shrubs as the flowers fade throughout the end of spring. Keep an eye out for weeds and remove them as they appear.

Herbaceous Perennials, Annuals and Bulbs:

Early Spring Carefully fork over and fertilize your borders and beds, removing all perennial weeds as you go. Finish dividing mature perennials. Plant up new perennials and propagate chrysanthemums. Sow hardy annuals, such as sweet peas in-situ into borders or beds. Remember to dead-head spring flowering bulbs. Plant summer flowering bulbs and divide snowdrops. Sow tender annuals towards mid-spring and keep them warm; i.e. indoors, in a conservatory or in a warm glasshouse.
Mid SpringSow perennials and complete sowing hardy annuals, plant out sweet peas that were raised in cold frames or indoors. Continue planting summer flowering bulbs. Stake tall growing lilies and plant out dahlia tubers. Get the hoe out and keep it in use - at least once a week…be careful of your emerging seedlings!
Late SpringProvide support for the taller growing perennials and pinch out the tips of vigorous growing  plants to make them bushier. Plant chrysanthemums and remove the central tip to encourage a bushier plant. Thin the hardy annuals sowed previously. Tie-in sweet peas. Feed spring bulbs when they finish flowering. That hoe should be working overtime now! Providing frosts are not forecast, at the end of spring plant out tender annuals.

The Lawn:

Early SpringIn early spring, rake the lawn lightly to remove surface debris. Lightly fork over the soil and rake level that was dug in autumn or early winter in preparation for spring sowing. Cut the grass with the mower blades at their medium height and mow as necessary.
Mid SpringIf the weather warms-up, by mid-spring reduce the height of cut slightly. Sow seed for a new lawn. If required, apply feed & weed to established lawns towards late spring, but only just before rain is expected.
Late SpringReduce the height of cut to summer levels during late spring. Adopt a weekly mowing regime. Repair humps, hollows and damaged areas of lawn. When applying lawn sand to established lawns, now is the time to apply but only do so if rain is expected.
Talking about rain, by now there may not be much of it about! Water is a valuable resource and should not be wasted on keeping a lawn green! Cutting the grass correctly, i.e. not too short, is far more beneficial at keeping grass greener for longer.

Fruit and Vegetables:

Early Spring Apply a base dressing of organic fertilizer and fork over the soil. Leave to settle for a few days before sowing early onions, broad-beans, parsnips, radishes, lettuce, carrots and peas and cover with cloches. Sow cauliflower, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, and cabbages. Plant shallots and early potatoes. Prune sour cherry trees, such as morello. When other stone fruit come into leaf, particularly peaches and nectarines, remove and destroy curled or pink blotched leaves as they appear. Lightly fork over beds growing fruit and fertilize as for shrubs. Remove weeds before they get out of hand! Begin earthing-up early potatoes as their shoots emerge.If the weather is dry, begin irrigating your fruit and vegetables to keep the soil moist.
Mid SpringRemove cloches by mid-spring and begin successional sowings. Finish planting early potatoes and begin planting onion sets, spinach, late cabbages and maincrop potatoes. Sow ridge cucumbers, outdoor tomatoes, celery and French beans under glass. Mulch fruit bushes and trees, (refer to mulching trees & shrubs). Continue to remove and destroy curled or pink blotched leaves from stone fruit as they appear. Keep an eye on weeds and remove them before they get out of hand! Begin earthing-up early potatoes as their shoots emerge. The rain-butt will be a great asset now - particularly if there’s water in it!
Late SpringContinue successional sowings, Harden-off produce raised under protection. Sow celery, leeks, courgettes and marrows under glass and sow runner beans towards the end of spring. Continue earthing-up early potatoes. Hoe the bed regularly. Prune restricted fruit trees by removing side-shoots down to four or five leaf clusters from their base. Continue to remove and destroy curled or pink blotched leaves from stone fruit.

The Water Garden:

Early Spring With a rake - remove overcrowded oxygenating plants, old water lily shoots and any other rotting plant material from ponds in early spring. Look out for frog/toad spawn and avoid disturbing it - if you have fish in your pond you may want to consider isolating the spawn for release when the tadpoles are more capable of surviving being added protein for the fish! Clean the water pump, (if there is one).
Mid SpringDuring mid-spring - attack that overgrown water lily! Also, divide overgrown bog and aquatic plants. Plant-up the pond if and as required. Keep blanket-weed under control.
Late SpringConclude the planting and continue raking that blanket weed! Now is a good time to clear or rejuvenate an overgrown or neglected pond.


Despite what the weathers up to, water outside containers to keep the compost moist. Water and increase the temperature of tender plants in containers that have been over-wintered somewhere cool. Towards mid-spring, plant up new containers with hardy plants. Tidy up  invasive plants and begin the feeding regime of existing, permanent containers or renew the compost/re-pot. Refresh or replace the mulch around the top of the containers.
Mid Spring Re-pot/take cuttings from tender plants that were over-wintered e.g. pelargonium. Continue watering/feeding and keep vigorous plants in check - bearing in mind when their likely to flower; delay or be careful pruning summer flowering shrubs to avoid spoiling their display! Keep on the look out for weeds - yes, even in your pots!
Late Spring Towards the end of spring, plant tender plants and leave them in a warm sheltered position, protect them at night if frost is forecast, (bring them indoors or into a greenhouse/cold-frame). Put existing tender plants outside for the summer - but again, keep an eye out for late frosts. Keep up with the watering/feeding regime.


Images of Spring Images of Spring
Images of Spring Images of Summer Images of Summer

The information on this website is provided by David Howlett - a qualified Gardener, Garden Designer and Tutor. Whilst studying at Writtle College his design for a garden for less-abled people was exhibited at their stand at the RHS Chelsea Flower Show. His gardening business ran for fourteen years. Over recent years David has concentrated on, "Spreading the word" and is now a Tutor of Horticulture. In order to help give an insight into this vitally significant and diverse subject, he developed a course he called 'Window to the Garden.' The course has been very popular since it’s launch and much of the information supplied here is based upon it. His latest course, 'Gardening for Wildlife' forms the basis of the wildlife section. He also helps the young students on their vocational horticulture courses run by Writtle Horticultural College, in conjunction with The Plume School, Maldon, Essex.


Based in Essex, England About Links Courses Contact
HA Home HowlettArtwork on Facebook! Follow HowlettArtwork on Twitter!
The Soil The Plant The Wildlife The Seasons Seasonal Planting Planting Combinations
Sense Appeal! Garden Focus WttG Visitors' Gardens Garden Beauty Garden Questions NPTC Courses