Here we show you some of the things we do in the garden throughout the year. Below are some key seasonal jobs to consider in March…
Is It Time For Spring Jobs?
Whilst meteorological spring began on March 1st, astronomical spring doesn’t begin until March 20th. To know for sure in your area, try to observe the micro-climates in the areas of your garden, and head outside!…
Are the weeds popping up and daffodils starting to flower? Is the grass growing and greening? (Resist the temptation to mow and give it a chance to recover from the summer burn, and leave it a little longer for wildlife and to reduce room for weeds).
Regardless, the majority of spring jobs should be held off until after the last frosts, usually between end of March and mid April down here in Brighton & Hove.
Below are some things not to do right now and some of the tasks to get on with!
What Not To Do!
Now is not to the time to get out in the garden and to start hacking away at the dead plants. Many should be left for not only the wildlife, but because they add interest and beauty to the garden in the cooler months. Start by getting yourself out there to enjoy what’s interesting in the garden, without a daunting task list – Once you’re out you’ll soon find yourself immersed in the little things that need doing and tidying.
Leave Hydrangea’s Alone!
Leave Hydrangea pruning until after the last frosts (around the end of March in Brighton), not only to provide some protection, but also because they look fabulous. When it is time to prune, we find the RHS provide the best guide.
What Can I Do?
Get out and sow some seeds in pots and then bring them indoors for an early start! We like to start off with carrots, cucumbers, onions, cauliflower, peppers (capsicums), chillies, broccoli and leaks. Follow the instructions on the packets and remember to use deeper pots for root vegetables and don’t disturb their roots when planting out later. If you have a fairly frost free vegetable area go ahead and plant out your onion sets, early spuds and shallots.
Plant out summer flowering bulbs – A quick google will give you lots of help on this one!
Cut away some leaves on Epimedium and Hellebores now to allow room for the flowers to pop in early spring.
Prune your bush and climbing roses if you haven’t already! Aim for a goblet shape and cut out inward facing stems. Prune down to a node that’s facing the way you want the plant to grow. The RHS guide is a good place for further information.
Take root cuttings now and before it’s too late but avoid a frosty morning! Great for Oriental poppies, Anemone hupehensis, Acanthus, Echinops, Phlox, Verbascum, Primula denticulata, Indian bean tree, Chaenomeles, Sophora, Lilac, Robinia, Clerodendrum, Aralia, Ailanthus, and a few climbers including passion flower. Google for more.
Dig out the plant; cut off pencil-thick roots close to the crown and cut into approx. 5cm (2 inch) lengths; don’t take more than a quarter & get the plant back in the ground as soon as you can; place on a tray of moist compost/grit/sand & cover with 1cm (1/2 inch) compost; water lightly and store somewhere cool & frost-free (greenhouse, cold frame, cool conservatory are ideal). Pot on when shoots emerge and plant out next year!
Tidy Garden, Tidy Mind
A messy or disorganised garden will affect your clarity of thought… It will also give the slugs and snails a place to hide! And stagnant water a place for the mosquitos to lie in wait! Sweep up the leaves, wash down the paths, remove debris from & clean pots (check for frost damage too), clean the greenhouse, dig over the soil (as long as not soaked or frozen) and apply mulch (we really need to maintain moisture now the summers are warming) now to ready yourself for spring. Check out your climber supports before they bloom. Open up cold frames and greenhouses on warmer days to air and help with mildew and reduce disease. Divide the snowdrops – Just wait for them to finish flowering, dig up whilst still green, split in half, replant. … And feed the birds – leave any slugs you find out for them too.