March

''Life begins the day you start a garden.'' – Chinese proverb

Grow Your Own

There’s so much you can sow from seed this month – try crops of lettuce, salad leaves, spinach (for salads as well as for cooking), beetroot, to name but a few and they can all be sown directly into the garden soil, or into good-sized containers of compost if that’s where you want to grow them. The important thing is to sow little and often, and not to fall into the trap of sowing too many seeds at any one time – this way you’ll hedge your bets and ensure at least some of the sowings have perfect conditions….and you’ll be able to enjoy the harvest for longer too. Seed potatoes can start to go into the ground in milder areas too and maybe some onion sets as well?

pots and patios march

Patios & Pots

If patio pots are looking a bit dull and winter bedding plants somewhat worse for wear, why not add in a few pots of bulbs. Perhaps crocus or miniature daffodils or some early season bedding plants. These can be planted in gaps in the container and will provide a good splash of colour to keep up appearances until it is time to get ready for summer bedding and all that has to offer. Once you’ve done some re-planting, use a brush or damp cloth to clean up the sides of the containers and remove algae and soil splash.

Houseplants

Now that light levels and temperatures are on the up, many houseplants will be growing more rapidly, and that’s the roots as well as the stems and foliage. This means a suitable feed will really help to keep them in good shape. If you can, use a feed formulated for the type of plant you’re growing – the specific formulations for, say flowering or foliage houseplants, can make all the difference to how the plants respond. 

Beds & Borders

It is a good time to fill gaps in flowerbeds and borders, with a plentiful supply of gorgeous herbaceous perennials available now and with soil conditions starting to warm up too. After planting, water them in well and then mulch the soil surface - this will help to reduce the need to water later in the year and should also have a weed-suppressing effect. But don’t forget the established plants in the border, they too would love a good mulch and, as with the newcomers, mulch to a depth of 6-8cm, making sure you don’t actually apply the mulch over the plant itself. It is also a good time to start sowing hardy annuals’ direct into the soil where they are to flower. There are lots to choose from including annual rudbeckias, cornflowers, larkspur and love-in-a-mist.

Trees, Shrubs and Climbers

You’ll need a good, sharp pair of secateurs this month as many widely grown shrubs will benefit from some pruning. Dogwoods (Cornus) and willows (Salix) grown for their stunning winter stems, can be cut back now as this will encourage plenty of new stems to develop and produce the gorgeous display again this winter. Others including shrubs, roses and Caryopteris will benefit from being pruned now too. 

Lawns, Ponds & Water Features

This is a good time to take a long, hard look at your lawn and then set to work to make any improvements. It may well have taken a battering over the winter months, so start by raking off any old leaves, twigs or other debris which has accumulated over the winter months. Next, consider re-seeding any bare areas, having first improved drainage if necessary. Larger bald areas can even be replaced by cutting out the damaged area and then carefully inserting a square of better-looking turf from some less high-profile area. Ponds and water feature would benefit from a bit of a spring clean too, cut back any winter-damaged pond plant foliage and carefully scoop out any debris.

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