You too could have borders as bright and cheerful as Tamsin's.

With spring finally here, now is the perfect time to pick up that spade and get back into the garden. Fortunately, our Open Gardens ambassador, Tamsin Westhorpe, is here to share some practical ideas for the coming weeks.

1. On a dry day give your lawn the first cut of the year. Raise the height of the cut first time before lowering and cutting again.

2. Repair your garden furniture now ready for long summer days lounging in the garden. Give plastic sets a good wash with soapy water. Wooden pieces can be repainted but make sure you rub them down first.

3. Treat yourself to a few seeds. Hardy annuals such as love-in-a-mist can be sown direct now.


4. Install a water butt to catch those April showers.

5. Buy summer flowering bulbs for pots and borders.

6. Prepare the vegetable patch for sowing or planting. Add well-rotted farmyard manure or home-made compost.

7. Clean the glass of cold frames and greenhouses. On fine days you can leave the door open to ventilate the space.

8. Now is a good time to use a heated propagator to grow tomatoes. You can always buy young plants instead.

9. Plant up containers for spring – polyanthus will give you instant, reliable colour.


10. Plant new trees now. This will give them a chance to get established before summer.

11. Divide your herbaceous perennials. You can either pot up the new plants to give to friends or replant them in another part of the garden.

12. Encourage birds to the garden by feeding them and keeping the bird bath topped up with clean water.


13. Tie in the new stems of clematis.

14. Deadhead faded daffodils but don’t remove the foliage until it has turned yellow.

15. Plant chitted (sprouted) potatoes in the ground or potato grow bags.

16. Carrots, radishes and cabbages can be sown in the veg garden.

17. Now is a great time to plant strawberry plants in baskets, pots or the ground. A sunny spot is essential.

strawb 2

18. Repot container grown plants and mix a slow-release feed into the compost.

19. Be on pest and disease alert. Slugs and snails will be active in the garden – it’s time to put out the beer traps!

20. Plan a new border. Ornamental, herbaceous perennials will thrive if planted now and there is so much choice at garden centres and nurseries this time of year.


Did you know that sharing your love of gardening could help the British Red Cross?

  • Share your garden, window-box, allotment or communal space and be Proud of your garden.
  • Open Gardens: visit 200 gardens all over the country – including some never seen before by the public.