March – the time of year when we start to notice the days getting longer, the sun makes an appearance, and spring bursts forth in all its multi-coloured glory! March is also the time when many of us venture out into our gardens for the first time that year, rolling up our sleeves to tackle the many chores that winter has left for us. With the garden springing into life, the to-do list is a long one but, for those novices out there, here’s a quick guide for to what to do in the garden this month.
Top jobs this month
1. Warming temperatures and moist soil is a dream for slimy critters, such as slugs and snails. Stop them having their wicked way with your plants by taking steps now. There is a host of chemical-based options out there but, for more sensitive gardens, why not use crushed eggshells, copper bands or chemical-free pellets and sprays to keep your garden a kill-free zone.
2. Spring bulbs are the first colourful display that signal a change in the season. Use your time in March to cut off deadheads - from Daffodils to Hyacinths - and allow the foliage to die back.
3. If you’re planning ahead for summer colour, now is the time to get your hands dirty and get summer-flowering bulbs in the ground. Look out for Allium, Lily, Bergonia, Freesia, Gladiolus and Sparaxis.
4. Raised beds and containers also need a little TLC, come spring. Dig over beds, add fresh compost if you’ve had excessive washaway over winter, and add a nutrient-rich top soil for maximum growth of fruit and vegetable plants.
5. If the rain holds off, why not get out the mower and give your lawn its first cut of the year? Remember to go steady, setting your blade to a little higher than normal to avoid overstressing the lawn plants.
6. Tidy borders and remove weeds before they get too established. Add a good heap of compost to your beds and dig in, so that new and existing plants can enjoy a rich nutrient feast to help them make the most of the growing season ahead.
7. If you share your garden with some fishy friends, then now is the time to start giving them their dinner once again! Remove pond heaters and switch the pond fountain back on to ensure maximum oxygenation.
8. Feed ericaceous plants, such as Rhododendrons, Azaleas, and Camellias, with an ericaceous fertiliser. The term Ericaceous simply means ‘acid lovers’ or ‘lime haters’!
9. Grab your secateurs and trim back climbing and bush roses. Do bear in mind the advice from the RHS regarding pruning roses: “Cuts should be no more than 5mm (¼in) above a bud and should slope downwards away from it, so that water does not collect on the bud. This applies to all cuts, whether removing dead wood, deadheading or annual pruning.”
10. Finally, get out into the garden and just enjoy it! Grab a cuppa or a tipple of your choosing and take the time to watch the garden change with the season. Listen to the birds tweeting in the trees or just feel the sunshine on your face. Summer is coming and it’s going to be glorious!
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