March in the garden

Garden bulbs and plant colour

Spring bulbs

Daffodils, crocus, Narcissus, Erythronium, Anenome and many other bulbs planted last Autumn, are now on display. The verges are coming alive where the councils and local groups have had the foresight to get together and organise community activity to enrich the open spaces for all of us passers by to see and enjoy.

Hellebores

In our gardens the Fritillaria meleagris (snakes head fritillary) with its white and pinkish bells and checkerboard markings and other hellebores are doing their job of filling the more shady areas of our gardens.

Forsythia and Ribes

This is one of the first flowering shrubs. The prolific display of yellow is complemented by planting a Ribes sanguineum Pulborough Scarlet (flowering currant) with dark red tubular flowers next to it.

Amelanchier lamarkii

A striking large shrub/small tree. It produces starry white flowers in profusion before the leaves emerge with the bonus of stunning autumn colour and berries which start out red, fading to black as they ripen.

Clematis armandii

An evergreen clematis which will cover any bare fence or pergola. It produces large sprays of waxy white flowers.

Daphne bholua

 A slow-growing evergreen shrub – “Jacqueline Postill” which has intensely fragrant clusters  of pretty pink blooms.

Slugs and Snails in the garden

As soon as spring arrives so do the slugs and snails. Creatures which can shred a Hosta or tender Delphinium shoots overnight. During the spring and summer slugs emerge, especially during spells of wet warm weather as this draws them out. Slugs and snails are able to consume vast amounts of tender plant growth disproportionate to their small size. They are a problem in the garden and the vegetable patch, damaging early shoots from our emerging  plants. Most slugs and snails are nocturnal which means night time is a good time to spot and dispatch them. They lay their eggs in the soil where they remain over winter growing into mature slugs. There are remedies: nemetodes, for instance, which are organic but require a lot of work; beer traps are the same. Slug pellets are the most popular but are toxic to pets, wild animals and birds and get into the water.

March jobs to do in the garden

Potting

Re-pot pot-bound plants using fresh compost and check for vine weevils. If you have a greenhouse, it’s a good place to keep containers planted up with bedding for later in the year. Keeping them in the greenhouse for a few weeks helps the plants to get well- established in the containers before exposing them to the weather. Vegetable and bedding plants need to become accustomed to the harsher outside weather gradually.

Dead heading

As soon as they look untidy, deadhead daffodils by removing the flowerheads and seedpods behind them. Never cut the foliage away.  Weed and tidy your borders before the onslaught of the coming months. Lift and divide herbaceous plants on a dry day. When you replant them, they will be raring to go. Don’t forget to water them in.

Frost damage

Go around the garden checking for frost damage. Cut back any affected stems. Do not be tempted by a short warm spell to plant summer annuals.

Soil preparation

Prepare the ground for planting by digging the soil and then levelling it.

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