Newsletter March

Reminders and ideas for garden tasks at this time of year. Let me know if you want to talk through any of them.

Early Spring jobs

Pruning

Cut back/prune Buddleja, hardy fuchsias, perovskia, deciduous Ceanothus. Lavatera can be pruned now and some hydrangeas (not mopheads).

Prune variegated evergreen shrubs that are reverting to plain.

Finish rose pruning before the leaf buds are too big to avoid damage.

Cut back stems grown for winter colour (dogwood, willow, bramble).

Cut back ornamental grasses & perennials left for winter interest.

Prune passionflower & winter jasmine to 2-3 buds from main framework.

Clearing and tidying

Deadhead winter bedding.

Re-edge beds, leaving a space between the planting and the lawn to prevent grass spreading into the bed.

If not already done, cut the old leaves off hellebores to show off the flowers and avert disease problems later in the year.

If you are going to use weedkiller, now is the time to start using it. Otherwise hand weeding starts in earnest.

Planting

Deciduous trees and shrubs can still be planted and moved.

Still ok to plant roses.

Plant herbaceous perennials.

Sow sweet peas outdoors.

Plant summer -flowering bulbs

Propagation

Lift and divide herbaceous perennials when the soil isn’t frozen or waterlogged.

Divide clumps of snowdrops.

Divide hostas.

Odds & ends

Top up pots with new compost if needed.

Last chance to mulch beds.

Think about putting in another water butt if you have space.

Put up supports for climbing, heavy and large herbaceous plants so that they can grow through them, rather than trying to squish the plant in later.

It can get very hot in the greenhouse if the sun comes out, so make sure that you can open windows if needed.

Slugs and snails will start cruising the borders and pots looking for fresh new shoots of lilies, delphiniums etc. Best to protect as soon as possible.

Wildlife

Tree pollen is around now if you are a hayfever sufferer.

Frog and toad spawn has started appearing. Don’t move spawn between ponds in different gardens as it may spread amphibian diseases (and pond weed!).

Birds are starting to pick nesting sites and defend their territory.

Check feeders and water regularly, break pond ice to provide drinking space if needed.

Indoors

You can start repotting those house plants that are in vigorous growth. Only repot if they have clearly outgrown their pot (roots fill the pot) and you are not keeping them pot-bound to encourage flowering. A plant suffers stress when it is repotted.

Start feeding, again for those plants that are growing well only.

Mid-March till about the end of June is the best time to take cuttings for most houseplants.

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