Spring Gardening for Summer Entertaining

April, 2012 · By Coryanne Ettiene

I grew up watching my grandfather tend to his beloved fruit trees.  Some of my fondest memories from my childhood involve watching him nurture his garden and then generously passing out bundles of citrus each summer.  He taught me the importance of patience, the beauty of giving the gift of food and the happiness that can be found in quietly tending to a kitchen garden. My grandfather had the gift of a green thumb, his love of nature and gentle spirit always brought a calm into the garden…somehow the birds were always singing and the bees always buzzing when he stepped outside with his watering can.  On the contrary, my kitchen gardening skills are anything but tranquil, and my thumb is anything but green.  I have to approach gardening with a mechanical check list.  For me, gardening success only comes when I work at it, calculate it and take pleasure in the small victories rather than harp on about the wilted herbs, bitter squash and pests that nearly always result when I step outside with my watering can.

Each spring I take a deep breath and venture outside with wild aspirations of a garden my grandfather would be proud of.  And this year is no different, I long for a summer garden  full of color to brighten the view from my kitchen window, and make my outdoor entertaining more delightful.

Advice on spring gardening for summer entertaining

Sow Grow Cook:  Planting your vegetable garden now will give you the summer harvest that every cook longs for.  Read my tips for a cooks garden here.

Bring the outdoors in:  Spring is the perfect time to use your kitchen window for showcasing bulbs, herbs and bedding plants.  Be creative with how you display them.  Using shallow bowls, tea pots, cocktail glasses or even the traditional vase allows you to plant bulbs indoors, giving you fresh flowers without the expense of buying cut stems each week.

Brighten your outdoor view:  Container planting is a great way to liven up a patio or urban garden.  If space allows, clusters of blooms along paths provide a welcome trial that will brighten up your outdoor entertaining space.  If you fancy planting bulbs this month, stick with summer blooms Canna, Crocosmia, Dahlias, Gladiolus or Rain Lilies.

Focus on your lawn. Your grass is at its most fragile right now and needs plenty of TLC to nurse it back to life after a long cold winter.  Give your lawn a good feed and re-seed, then keep it moist to encourage germination. Once it starts to grow, keep it trimmed within an inch of its life — mosquitos love resting in your cool lawn as much as you do — the shorter and more frequently you mow your lawn, the less likely they are do seek shelter in it.

Shop smart at the garden center:  If you are anything like me, shopping at the garden center at the first signs of spring is like entering a grocery store on an empty stomach, leaving you with a trolly bursting with random plants, excess gardening accessories (oh aren’t those gloves pretty?) and a bill that makes you ban all cafe coffee for the next month.  Brush up on your garden center tactics with my guide to shopping smart here.

5 Spring cleaning tasks for every garden:

  1. Get your garden tools in shape for the busy season by sharpening your mower blades, replacing any damaged tools, ensuring you have gardening supplies stocked in your shed.
  2. Look over your garden steps, decking, paths, fences to check for winter damage and repair replace as needed.
  3. Tidy up your garden furniture by giving everything a good wipe down and polish, then repair or replace any broken equipment.
  4. If you have children, now is a good time to review your garden toys and get rid of anything broken that cannot be fixed, they have outgrown or that you are just tired of looking at.
  5. Check your garden lighting, replace or repair where necessary.

Recommended Reading:

Garden hostess gifts  |  Coryanne for Celebrations.com

Sow Grow Cook  |  Housewife Bliss

Successful Garden Center Tactics  |  Housewife Bliss



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