As we leap forward into Spring this month, no matter what the weather is doing we cannot ignore our garden any more. For it is in March that growth steps up a gear, early flowers supply a vital nectar source for emerging insects and the dawn chorus cacophony can be heard loudly as we head out in the morning.
By now, the planning done over winter months should be finely honed, so now is the time to get some early work done and get out in the fresh air. They say if March comes in like a lion ( which it certainly did here with Storm Jorge!), it will go out like a lamb – so I for one am looking forward to some more spring-like weather to come.
Here are a few things we can make a start on:
1. The soil – time to feed the soil with some good organic fertiliser. Over the winter nutrients may have been washed out of the beds and plants in containers will have used up their quota with last year’s growth, so give them a boost with a spring feed.
2. Support – before those perennials get leggy, pop some supports around them before that growth makes it difficult. Supports may be custom made items designed and purchased for the job or simple twiggy stakes recycling prunings from elsewhere in the garden.
3. Planting – as the soil warms up but growth is still early, any trees and shrubs that you haven’t managed to plant in the autumn, or over winter due to frost or water-logging, will get a chance to establish well if bedded in now.
4. Paths – these may need repair or your design may require new ones to be built. Get in there now before plant growth makes it difficult to get at the space.
5. Lawncare – while fashion is turning away from the traditional “striped” lawn and encouraging a move to alternative meadows and groundcovers like camomile and clover, many will still take pride in the green space. First cuts, drainage, feeding and reseeding are best attended to as warmer, showery days provide improving conditions.
6.Pruning – cutting back old, dead or damaged parts of shrubs and perennials is easier now while the skeletons of most can be seen clearly. Now is a good time to tidy and generally clean up to prevent disease and other problems later in the year.
7. Perennials may have developed into clumps too big for their spaces last year, so lift and split them, replant with a good feed.
One of the best bits of gardening is the sharing of plants with other gardeners. If you have surplus left from your splitting and replanting then there is usually someone not too far away happy to accept a free plant. You may even get something new in exchange. Happy March gardening!