Spring gardening tips from head gardener, Skye Buchanan


Get set for a stunning spring garden with these easy, yet effective gardening hacks

 words Adrianne Webster 

After a long winter, most of our gardens look weather-beaten (to put it kindly). But with longer days and the faintest hint of sun warming our faces – and plants – we’re turning our sights to how we can spring clean our gardens ready for a season of growing.

It’s no secret that gardening has a myriad of benefits – and it’s not just us who see the benefits of greenery. Studies have shown that green spaces can lower levels of stress and reduce rates of depression and anxiety, reduce cortisol levels and improve general wellbeing.

A robin in a spring garden

What’s more, Tokyo and Exeter Universities found such robust evidence for the positive effects of gardening on health, they have been calling for governments and health organisations to promote gardening as a wellness tool. So an investment in your garden is, by extension, an investment in yourself.

With that in mind, we caught up with Skye Buchanan, the head gardener at Links House at Royal Dornoch, for his tips on the best plants to grow in Scotland and the jobs to do now for a thriving spring garden.

Skye the head gardener at Links House at Royal Dornoch looking after the spring garden
Skye looks after the gardens at Links House at Royal Dornoch

5 plants to plant now

These are the five plants Skye recommends for spring blooms…

Bellis perennis (common daisy)

A summer classic, the cheerful daisy is great for borders and beds and has a very long growing season, so you’ll be treated to flowers throughout the year. They can reach a height of 10cm, so ideal for adding a variety of heights into your beds.

Pulsatilla vulgaris (pasqueflower)

Also known as blue tulips or April fools, these purple blooms can handle exposed or sheltered spots, and can be planted in any direction, making them a hardy addition to your spring garden. Great for plant beds and pots.

Primroses and polyanthus

The bright, joyful primrose is robust enough to withstand spring chills and provides plenty of colour to window boxes, beds and containers.

Forget me not/ myosotis

The humble forget-me-not deserves its day in the sun for its ability to instantly add a vibrant flush of powdery blue to your outdoor spaces. A favourite for a reason.

Pansy and viola

Pansies and violas are cold tolerant, making them perfect for harsh Scottish weather in the spring. They look particularly showy in hanging baskets and beds, adding a splash of purple and yellow to your garden.

Pansies in a spring garden

Jobs to do in the garden now

“You should start by cleaning paths and treating them with iron sulphate,” says Skye. This’ll kill moss and algae, making sure stonework is dry and bright.

“Next, move on to washing down the green house (if you have one) and getting it ready for sowing seeds,” he recommends. The best vegetables and plants to start sowing now are broad beans, carrots, spinach, peas, salad leaves, leeks, parsnips, beetroots and echinacea, coreopsis, lupin or achillea.

Concentrate on getting your plant beds prepped, recommends Skye: “Doing some edging of beds and paths make your garden stand out and look good and ready for spring.”

Next? Tackle any pesky weeds. “Doing a bit of weeding and getting to places that you can’t normally get to in summer like taking out any perennial weeds that are hard up against plants is a good job to get started on in the spring,” he says.

Then it’s on to mulching ready for spring planting. “Mulch your beds with homemade compost or any organic matter you can use like manure or well rotted bark,” explains Skye. “This could also be the last chance to split and divide plants and move them before spring.”

Head to these gorgeous gardens around Scotland if you’re looking for some inspiration

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