Nurture nature

Spring is here and it is a wonderful time in the garden.

The early flowering shrubs are blooming, the trees are full of vigour and there is enough moisture in the ground to make it a very special year for growth.

So how do you capitalise on such a moist spring?

Make sure there are plenty of nutrients in the soil for the plants to use. Slow release or well-rotted organic fertiliser is the way to go. Although the ground may be moist, the top layer is drying out with the wind and the sun (and lack of rain), so any fertiliser added now will need a good watering in so it can reach the roots.

Remember to mulch your plants so that any water that does wick to the surface is not evaporated. Pea and bean straw are a great organic option.

What else is going on around here at present?

Well, we have been working hard preparing gardens for Garden Marlborough and it is really fantastic to see gardens having come of age.

One of my experienced landscapers once said to me, "Gardens never look as bad as when they are just finished".

This is of course not exactly true but even the very best designs need time to mature and grow and so having been invited back to prepare some of my designs for Garden Marlborough I am thrilled to see such a huge transformation.

Many people, particularly the guests of Garden Marlborough, get to see the titillated, manicured gardens as they are now.

Few of us get to see them as they once were and even less of us are fortunate enough to be able to create a concept, control its creation and manage its growth while looking after its wellbeing.

This is what we do and we just love it - especially when it is nice and sunny!

Each garden is like a child that needs careful nurturing throughout its life but especially during the early years when weeds can out compete the plants.

Garden design is not just about the creation of a concept that ticks all the boxes specified by the client.

Creating a much-admired concept is a fantastic achievement but the most important part of creating any new landscape or garden is bringing it to life.

To do this you need time and money. The more time you have the less money you need and vice versa.

The columns I write and you guys read are aimed to help you understand the principles of good design and the art of precision implementation, so you can spend your time more wisely and hopefully end up with a better result for less money.

Another great way to invest is to experience gardens first hand. You can go on pre-arranged tours or pay a little more attention to street gardens and parkland as you stroll by.

Use the camera app on your smart phone to get online identification of interesting plants when you get home or view gardens on screen.

Remember my favourite phrase - "make a plan" - do this and stick to it and you'll create what you set out to do.

Making the plan and being bold enough to stick to your ideas can be tough especially as you may stumble across plants or pots on special . . . but if you stray you might be unravelling all your hard planning!

The Marlborough Express