TIPS FOR THE GARDEN IN MARCH by Karen Aitkins
March is officially the first month of spring, and we can breath a sigh of relief that we got through such a dull and wet winter. March was originally the beginning of the calender year and was changed in the eighteenth century to January. The Anglo Saxons called it Hydl monath which means stormy month. Maybe that’s where the saying “March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb” comes from. Problem is the lion seems to have been roaring all winter with winds gusting up to fifty miles an hour on occasions.
Hopefully our gardens have survived all the high winds and we should start to see real growth now. Bulbs will be shooting upwards and the traditional daffodils that adorn our gardens in the spring will be in abundance. Because of the mild winter we have had most people have started to cut their lawns already. Be careful with the first cut to set the lawn mower high so as not to damage the lawn. Make sure the grass is dry enough too.
The weather in march is very changeable so make the most of the dry fine days and don’t forget the clock go forward at the end of the month so more time to spend in the garden. There will still be sharp frosts at this time of year so don’t be tempted to put out young bedding plants. As the garden wakes up so also do the weeds so make sure you keep on top of the weeding. Invest in a good quality mulch, not only does this prevent weeds it helps feed the plants and stops them drying out in the summer by retaining water.
This is the traditional time of year to prune roses. Don’t be shy to prune them back quite hard they will respond by coming back even stronger with more blooms. Cut away any diseased or dead wood. Always prune to an outward facing bud and use sharp secateurs. Burn any diseased prunings.
An interesting way of planting which has become quite fashionable is to plant vegetables in with other shrubs and plants. This gives a lot more colour and texture to your borders whilst being useful. Beetroot, courgettes, chards and artichokes can look amazing in amongst other flowering shrubs. Just remember what they are and where you planted them if you want to eat them. Put in a little stick as a pointer with a label on it.
Start planning how you want your garden to look. Get ideas from magazines and the internet. Don’t be put off by price. Quite often an idea can be revised and simplified to the same effect. You can have a garden that looks like Chelsea Flower Show you just have to make a few changes. Imagination doesn’t cost anything.