LATE MARCH IN YOUR GARDEN
- Feed Beech hedging with Growmore granules
- Spray fruit trees and bushes with a fungicide
- Feed Rhododendrons, Azaleas, Pieris and Camellias with ericaceous (acidic) plant food
- Prune forsythia and flowering currants as soon as the flowers have faded
- Sow seeds of dwarf and climbing beans in deep pots
- Remove forcing jars from rhubarb plants and let them grow uncovered
- If you have a greenhouse you can sow herbs, including basil, chives, fennel, borage, parsley and coriander into pots or trays
- Plant out some groups of gladioli in borders to add extra colour and height
- Spread a compost mulch around border plants to suppress weeds
- Put pond pumps and fountains back into pools, thoroughly cleaning filters first
- Clean out bird baths and bird feeders
- Check tree ties are not too tight or cutting into bark, and loosen if necessary
- Now is a good time to cut back any overgrown ivy
- You can plant new asparagus beds or try growing the asparagus pea, lovely flavour without all the hassle!
- Continue planting potatoes, shallots and onion sets and feed spring cabbage with a high-nitrogen fertiliser
- Cornflowers and other wildflowers appear between narrow blades of native grasses in meadows and cornfields. It's easy to recreate this effect in your garden and the plants can be raised from seed, directly where they are to grow, in March and April. If you don’t have the room to plant an area of your garden with a Wild Flower meadow. A container planted up and placed on your patio will attract bees and butterflies to your garden.
March sees the emergence of new shoots on trees and shrubs and it also heralds the beginning of a new gardening season, when people step out into their garden again and there are the usual tasks to greet them, lawn care (now is the time to tackle moss with Osmo moss remover), pruning, and re- planting areas lacking in colour. Over the last number of years there is a problem coming to light with leylandii hedging, anyone who has leylandii wishes they hadn’t. The dilemma is what to plant instead of it. Thirty years ago when I started out it was the most popular hedging plant but times have changed and people are looking for a little bit more than just a screen. If you are looking for a straight forward fast growing evergreen hedge not that’s not as unruly as leylandii, I recommend Thuja ‘Brabrant’ and there is one called Thuja ‘Smargad’ which grows reasonably quickly with a nice trim shape which means little trimming. Laurel is still a very popular evergreen hedge and there is a new variety called ‘Movita’ which has a smaller leaf and a darker green colour all year round. Portuguese laurel would be my choice as it has a glossy green leaf smaller than normal laurel with a compact growth habit and it is also extremely hardy. If you are living in the countryside a Beech looks perfect with the surroundings, the secret to getting a great looking hedging is to buy the best quality, Beech you can find with a good root system, this paramount to its success. Copper beech even though it is slightly more expensive makes a superb showpiece hedge making it perfect, in town or country gardens. You can, of course, form a very interesting informal screen by using a mix of species such as holly, beech, rugosa roses, cotoneaster, spindle, hazel and wild cherry and this will give you a different effect, far from the manicured trimmed hedge. Take care though not to over mix the species. Whatever you decide now is probably the best time to do it; you have about three weeks left to plant bare-root plants like Beech. Prepare your soil well, consider your choice carefully (is it shady? is it wet soil? How high do you want it to grow?) and get planting!