Spring is Here! – The design of my Hamburg GarDen Part III

My personal spring to-do list

For a long time I had planned to write an article about gardening. Over the years, I have acquired my own style, which is certainly not that conventional. I admit: for me, things always have to be simple, uncomplicated and quick. At the weekend, I want to spend time with my children instead of maintaining the flower beds. And during the week I have just as little time because of my business.

But I’ve also never been the type who puts all efforts in gardening. It’s definitely an advantage that I don’t particularly like gardens that look perfect down to the smallest detail.

Flower tubs on the terrace
Cutting dahlias

Here comes my personal to-do list. Perhaps my approach will inspire someone, that would make me happy!

I usually start right after the first warmer days in March. Now it’s time to tidy up: the leaves are removed from the beds, the seed heads of the perennials are cut off at ground level, the lawn is raked a little. I don’t do much more than that, as it is usually still very cold and the plants need to rest. Indoors, I start sowing at the end of March or beginning of April.

As soon as spring gets going, I start to pre-plant my dahlias. I first cut off all muddy or loose hanging parts of the dahlia tuber, water them briefly and put them in a flower tub first. The tubs remain outside, but if the frost strikes again I can quickly move them into my new greenhouse. Now is also the time to plant gladioli in a similar way. So far I was not a big fan of gladioli, but this year I’m trying some really interesting varieties.

Water the dahlia tubers…
…and plant them!

After that, the lawn will be mown for the first time and any bare patches are reseeded. I then apply an organic lawn fertiliser and that’s it. If you have a lot of moss or weeds in your lawn, I recommend scarification. Fortunately, I don’t need to do that at the moment.

Next, I will go through the beds again and fertilise with horn meal (in autumn I will add some compost to the beds). Since the soil here is quite fertile, a single fertilisation is quite sufficient for perennials. However, everything that grows in tubs, as well as dahlias or annual summer flowers, need a regular liquid fertiliser. But I won’t start until May or June.

Reseeding the lawn
Beautiful spring bloomers in tubs

I really love climbing plants, especially in small gardens they are indispensable. This year I have been working with hazel rods in various places in the garden. They are the perfect trellis material for me as they are simply beautiful and natural. On our balcony, for example, I used them to make a screen on which climbing plants can later grow. The jasmine will also get a framework of hazel rods. They always give the garden that certain something, they just look very British to me and I love that look.

The tulips explode!
Privacy screen made from hazel rods

At the end of April or beginning of May I go through the beds for the first time to pull the first weeds. You can’t start early enough, as the perennials are still small. I don’t dig up the soil because I don’t want to destroy the small seedlings of poppies or cosmos. For me, less is definitely more!

I’m going to plant a few more climbing plants on my new greenhouse (Clematis montana, one of my favourites!) And another beautiful winter bloomer: the Winter Snowball (Viburnum Bodnantense) ‘Dawn’.

Fritillaria persica with tulips
A little wow in the pastel bed

The next step is to put the annual summer flowers in the bed or in the flower tub, but I will definitely wait until mid-May to be on the safe side, i.e. frost-free.

Favourite daffodil Hungarian Rhapsody
Ornamental apple “Evereste”

Actually, there is not much to do at all. Most of the time I just sit in the garden and enjoy the incredible explosion of all my autumn planted bulbs. I’m putting them in rough quantities and pretty wildly. After the 6-7 months of winter grey, there can’t be enough blooms, colour and abundance at my place. They are my therapy to deal with the Hamburg winter weather trauma.

In this respect, my garden in spring has a completely different status than, for example, the garden in summer, which is actually less important to me. In summer, so many things are beautiful: the garden, but also the coast, foreign countries, Lake Constance, the Alps…. But I really need this spring garden!

Photos: Jora Dahl, Lisa Meinen

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