March garden plant maintenance

March garden plant maintenance in Wokingham and Maidenhead

Berkshire and surrounding areas

Garden maintenance in March

Snowdrops

Spring! March the first month and the garden is coming alive with the colour of spring bulbs: Crocus, Daffodils, scented Narcissus, Fritillaria meleagris (common name’ Snakes Head Fritillary’) and the delicate Erythronium. So much depends on the weather in March, sometimes it’s spring but other times wintry! This has an effect on whether the soil has warmed up ready for planting. If it’s cold and frosty, care should be taken not to plant anything the frost will damage unless, of course, you have the time and inclination to cover with a fleece or cloche. However, there are warmer days and increased daylight so it’s generally a good time to sow seeds for later.

Warmer soil means warmer slugs! They really enjoy snacking on Delphiniums, Hosta and Lupins and Gardeneer can advise you on all the planting and slug protection needed for your garden.

Hanging baskets do well in the greenhouse at this time of year and helps the plants to become established enough to cope with exposure to the weather.

Planting Dahlias and Lilies at this time works well as both of them look absolutely fantastic, quite showy. Dahlias grow best in well-drained soil and sheltered conditions so they thrive in the south. They can be grown in more exposed areas but need to be protected from frost and lifted before the winter.

Lilies make a great statement as they are tall, often scented and go well with other plants. Get the bulbs going in pots in March as that’s cheaper than buying plants later in the year. Pick a good-sized pot, fill with suitable compost, plant three bulbs to a pot and cover with more compost. Keep the bulbs in a sheltered spot or in the greenhouse until they are established. The pots are ideal for placing on the patio or filling up gaps in the borders.

If you’ve been inspired by snowdrops when out for a walk, March is the time to plant then. They are best planted as small plants not bulbs as it’s quite difficult for them to become established from bulbs. Better to buy plants now and plant in clumps. Snowdrops are a woodland plant and do not like too much sun, so are best planted in a shady place and close to or under a shrub always looks nice.

For a summer display, sowing flowers from the wide variety of seeds available means growing plants which you rarely see in the garden centre. Specialist seed catalogues have a fantastic range of seeds and it’s fun to watch something unusual develop and grow.

For the vegetable plot, March begins the planting season, so it’s worth improving the soil for better yields. Most vegetables do better in soil enriched with organic matter such as well-rotted manure, chicken pellets or compost. Digging the soil and mixing in organic material will break up the soil, ensuring it is not compacted, in preparation for the growing season. Crops such as salads and carrots like a fine soil and stones are a hindrance. Raking the plot to render the soil finer makes it easier to plant into and creates a better growing medium.

If you have not yet had a chance to get the garden ready for the season, call Gardeneer and ask for one of our teams to come and tidy up for you. The teams are able to start regular maintenance for your garden and this can even include lawn treatment to help control the dreaded moss!

Garden maintenance in March

  • Summer flowering bulbs such as gladioli and crocosmia can be planted later in the month. If you stagger the time of planting over a few weeks, you will be able to enjoy a longer flowering period throughout summer.
  • Potted hyacinths and narcissi should be removed to a cool place such as a shed window until they die down. Alternatively, plunge the pots in a cold frame.
  • Start successional sowings outdoors of carrots, brussels sprouts, parsnips, radishes, summer spinach, broad beans and parsley.
  • Where practical, daffodils and narcissi should be deadheaded to avoid diverting energy from the bulb.
  • Buddleia davidii and its cultivars should be hard pruned now. Aim for an even, open framework of older wood, on which each year’s wands can grow.
  • Strawberries will appreciate a liberal application of good compost or well-rotted manure. Make sure new fruit trees on walls have plenty of water in a dry year.
  • Watch out for slug damage to the young shoots of early perennials and trap or poison as preferred. Slugs love a drop of beer!