Top Bank Holiday Weekend Gardening Jobs
Every May brings the luxury of not one but two long weekends – the May Bank Holiday and the Spring Bank Holiday, which fall on the first and last Mondays in the month. These additional holidays provide the ideal opportunity to get out and about in the garden. Here Madingley Mulch, specialists in outdoor gardening supplies in and around Cambridge, look at how you can take advantage of these extra days by carrying out some key gardening tasks.
Cut the Lawn
Now is a good time to give the lawn its first cut of the year, if you haven’t already done so. Put the mower on its highest setting to start with, to take the top level of grass off and to avoid putting too much stress on your mower – you can always lower the height later.
If your lawn has any bare patches, then now is a good time to overseed it. Rake the surface first so the earth is reasonably fine before you sow the grass seed. If the weather is warm, you ought to consider watering it for the first few days, and net the area as well if there are any hungry birds around.
Hoe off Weeds
Running a hoe over a bed or between rows of plants is sufficient to kill most young weeds, which are probably starting to poke their heads above the surface of the ground. Hoeing works best on a dry day with a light wind, so that any seedlings dry out on the surface rather than re-root themselves into damp soil. More persistent weeds such as bindweed or couch grass may need unearthing with a hand or border fork. When you pull out the root, take care not to disturb the roots of any plants you want to protect.
One way of ensuring that weeds don’t become a problem in the first place is to lay down a mulch or soil conditioner to stifle them. As specialist bark mulch suppliers in the Cambridge area, we exclusively stock Denise’s Delight and Tony’s Tonic, which are both highly effective in encouraging plants you do want to see flourish while keeping the weeds at bay.
Plant out the Summer Beds
It’s best to leave the summer bedding plants until the Spring Bank Holiday, as planting them later on means they are less likely to be damaged by frost. However, hardy annual species such as pot marigolds and poached egg plants should be able to survive even if the night-time temperature drops below zero. Half-hardy annuals, which includes other types of marigold, plus cosmos, nemesia and tobacco plants, should be grown from seed in a greenhouse first.
If your garden has a vegetable patch, then outdoor varieties of cucumber, and carrots, beetroots and potatoes can all be safely sown into the soil this month.
Cut Back Spring Flowering Bulbs – and Hedges
Early spring-flowering flowers, such as daffodils and snowdrops, should be deadheaded about six weeks after they have stopped flowering – which is usually during May. Cutting them back to the base of the flower stalk will prevent the plant from expending any unnecessary energy on producing new seeds; it will also help conserve resources in the bulb for next year’s blooms.
It’s also worth keeping an eye on your hedges, particularly if it’s a freshly planted evergreen variety such as holly or privet, as so-called ‘formative pruning’ should be carried out every spring for the first two years of its life.
Ongoing pruning and maintenance can be carried out on all older hedges, provided you’ve checked there aren’t any birds nesting in it first. This is because, under the terms of the Wildlife and Countryside Act of 1981, it’s an offence to destroy any nests while they are either in use or being constructed.
Madingley Mulch – Outdoor Gardening Suppliers in the Cambridge Area
At Madingley Mulch we supply a range of outdoor gardening supplies, including patio paving slabs, decorative stones and pebbles, lawn top dressing and fencing panels and posts. To view the full range, you can visit our online shop by clicking on this link.
We offer free delivery to all addresses within a 15-mile radius of our operation just outside Cambridge. There is a standard £20 delivery charge applied up to a radius of 24.5 miles, and we can also deliver further afield as well. Our weekly delivery routes include Huntingdon, Newmarket, Ely, Haverhill and Saffron Walden.
At the moment, because of the high demand for all gardening and landscaping products, it is taking us about three weeks to fulfil and deliver all orders. We will contact you the day before your delivery is due to take place.
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