March Gardening Tips

Time has come now to assess winter losses and plan for replacement plants to be planted. The sun is finally out and days are gradually getting wormer.

It will be good to take into account these plants which did not survive the ‘’extreme low temperatures’’ and choose more robust ones for this season.

Little and Big Jobs For March

  • Check stored fruit and vegetables and remove any damaged or mouldy produce to avoid spoiling the rest.
  • Seed potatoes are available now. Chit them (allow shoots to form) by placing them in a light, cool, frost-free place.
  • Moss will start growing on lawns before the grass, so now is the time to start killing it with ferrous sulphate.
  • This is your last chance to plant bare-rooted raspberries. Prune the canes of summer-fruiting types to 10in after planting, and autumn-fruiting varieties down to ground level. Hellebores may show distorted foliage which is the result of stop-start growth caused by lower temperatures. New shoots should now grow normally.
  • Check outdoor containers are regularly watered, particularly those sheltered by house porches or eaves.
  • Netting over brassicas may have been weakened by snow and need attention to deter ravenous birds.
  • Clear leaves from around snowdrops so you can see their flowers emerging.
  • Put up bird nesting boxes this month – it’s the last chance before tits start looking for a suitable residence.
  • Ventilate your glasshouse or conservatory on mild days to help prevent fungal problems.

Borders Work

Many of our gardens have been battered by a second hard British winter in a row, but this is a chance to reassess borders.

  • Try reintroducing old favorites better equipped to deal with cold winters as alternatives to slightly tender plants.
  • Remove lime scale from outdoor water features, by using standard lime scale detergents; you do not need anything fancy. Also for any of the Solar Powered Water Features make sure that the solar panels are clean, so they let enough light into the solar panels.
  • Olive and bay trees may fail in freezing conditions, so instead plant standard Elaeagnus ‘Quicksilver’ AGM, the evergreens Ilex aquifolium ‘JC van Tol’ AGM or Viburnum tinus ‘Gwenllian’ AGM.
  • As the sun is coming out, in exposed gardens, try lacy purple or yellow-leaved elderberry (Sambucus nigra) instead of Japanese maples. Plant shrubby lilac Syringa x laciniata or Erysimum ‘Bowles’s Mauve’ AGM instead of rosemary.
  • Dormant shrubs and perennials allow you to assess the need for structure. Trees with eye-catching bark, such as birches and maples, are beautiful all year.
  • If flowers are your passion, choose for a succession of seasonal colour.
  • Measuring and drawing the garden should clarify plans; view the garden from inside the house and from different angles.
  • Consider moving or replacing damaged, overgrown or badly placed shrubs.

Useful Kit and Garden Decorations – Water Features

Traditional spades have straight blades, short shafts and D-shaped handles. Spades with long shafts are available, but Wisley gardeners favour a type known as a Cornish spade, with a long plain handle and pointed blade.

These are easy on the back and make light work of even quite hard soils. The only drawback is that they don’t bury weeds and manure as neatly as straight-edged spades. Solar water features are particularly attractive for the garden as they are very easy to install and do not need any of the long winded cables. At Home2Garden we have introduced a brand new ranged of the Solar Water Features for the coming season!

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