• The Villages Mag

Green fingers and muddy boots

Hello, I am Alan Bethell, a few of you may know me as a local tree surgeon (which I am) but I have been working full time in gardens since I was 16 and I will be 40 in April so I have witnessed the seasons pass reassuringly over the last 24 years.

March is just around the corner, the days are getting a little longer, and although the sun (when it shines) is still low in the sky it has little heat to it. There are always a few days, especially in the latter half of February, when I notice this and know spring is rapidly approaching. This has already encouraged some of the bulbs, woken from there winter sleep, to slowly and gracefully push through the surface of the soil, what are small grass like stems now will soon be a display of delicate flowers lining the ground and you may even see the first bees of the season if its warm enough.


If we get a few dry days, we can be encouraged back into the garden even if the temperature is still a little low. With less leaves on plants it’s a great time plan the garden. You can see which plants are getting to big for their space, and if you have plants, trees or shrubs that need relocating now is a good time to do this as the plants can concentrate their energy in producing and protecting the roots before nutrients are really needed to produce new shoots. The soil is moist so there is a much less need for watering, a layer of well-rotted homemade compost or some woodchip placed around the base of your plants will certainly help to keep the roots warm, prevent drought and provide vital nutrients for your plants to thrive.


If you are thinking of some large changes to your garden this can be a great time to start, some species of hedge can be cut back hard and within weeks there will be new growth providing the new screen and often revealing huge amounts of hidden space.


Even if you haven’t got green fingers, everyone can get their boots muddy enjoy your outside space!


Alan Bethell

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