Swift, star of BBC Gardener's World and boss of the
Plantroom, London's trendiest shop for gardeners new
or expert, doesn't always have long for his own Hackney
garden. He's often a 10-minute gardener - and we're
sure a lot of you are, too. Here's the first of his
If this is the first time you've thought about your
garden this year don't worry - you're not the only one.
And as the filthy cold and wet weather we had a couple
of weeks ago showed, you never know what's going to
happen at this time of year. You can get over-prepared
and lose plants to late-spring cold.
So it's not too late to do a few quick jobs, which will
help your garden look good for the rest of the year
and give your friends the impression you're naturally
greenfingered. All you need is some secateurs, a bag
or two of grit or gravel and some pelleted chicken manure
which comes with the superb brand name of 'Rooster'.
OK, you've got the kit, now walk around your garden,
balcony, roof terrace or whatever you have. Cut off
any of last year's dead leaves on the perennial plants
(they're the ones that die down to the ground in the
winter), but leave any new green leaves or shoots.
Sprinkle the pelleted manure around the bottom of each
plant- this is called feeding. Chicken manure is high
and therefore greens up the foliage
of a plant - its 100% organic
too. It works really well as a lawn feed either mixed
with water and applied with a watering can or sprinkled
evenly on the lawn and then watered in well. Don't overdo
it, as its strong (and smelly) stuff. (You'll find recommended
quantities on the package).
Now do exactly the same with your plants in pots, and
then cover the soil and pellets in the pots with the
grit or gravel to a depth of 5cm. This is called mulching,
it keeps in moisture and keeps down weeds. For the trendiest
mulch in town you can also use washed shells such as
cockleshells or crushed mussel shells. Your mulch will
also help to keep the dreaded slugs and snails out of
the pots, as will a quick spray of WD40 (yes, the motor
lubricant) around the outside rim of the pot!
Visit the Superstore to see our range of selected secateurs
reprinted with premission from Greenfingers.com