March: Spring is here!
If you’re reading this and there’s a blanket of snow outside then I’ll have to ask you to bear with me…but SPRING IS HERE!
The start of March is often the ‘real’ start of the gardener’s year. With longer hours of daylight and warmer soil, our gardens are a hive of activity. Some plants, like our spring bulbs, are early risers, making the most of the extra light afforded by the absence of foliage on surrounding trees and shrubs. Others are just beginning to emerge from their winter slumbers, perhaps cautiously waiting to be convinced that spring really is here.
This month's star plants
Ask people to picture a March garden and most would think of bulbs, and not without good reason. Few plots are without the cheerful optimism of daffodils (Narcissi), grape hyacinths (Muscari), or crocuses. Their welcome splash of colour is an obvious indication of the end of winter. But elsewhere in the garden the are a host of other plants making their own contributions to the early springtime scene.
Plants such as the flowering quince (Chaenomeles) and Forsythia drip with flower, screaming for the attention often denied them later in the year when other plants are of greater interest. Then there are Camellias (see picture above) which, if your soil permits, provide a spectacular display of magnificent flowers, and can be grown in large pots if required. Do try to avoid east-facing positions for Camelias though, because exposing frosted blooms to the glare of the early morning sun will cause them to thaw too quickly and incur unsightly damage.
This month's garden jobs
March can supply the keenest gardeners with a seemingly never-ending list of tasks, but the rest of us are perhaps better concentrating on giving the garden a good spring tidy. If we have a warm dry spell, the lawn will probably need to be mown, but watch out for bulbs and keep the blades high for the first few cuts. It’s also a good idea to re-define the edges of your turf using a half-moon iron- few things give the early spring garden a bigger lift than a neatly finished lawn. (On the other hand, if the next few weeks are cold and wet you are probably best to keep off the grass to reduce the risk of causing any damage by heavy feet or machinery on excessively soft or wet soil.)
Next, work through your planting beds and borders, removing the final remnants of last year’s display. Cut back and compost any dead material from herbaceous perennials, but be careful not to damage this year’s fresh growth. Adding a compost mulch at this stage gives welcome protection from any frosts, as well providing nourishment for the soil. As Easter approaches the garden centres tend to have bulk savings for bags of compost, so this needn’t break the bank.
March is hugely exciting month- full of optimism and the promise of what’s to come. It can also be a very busy month for gardeners, but whilst you’re out there working please take the time to appreciate what the plants are doing.
Tythorne Garden Design provides professional fixed-fee garden design solutions for customers in Grantham, Stamford, Newark and surrounding areas. Let's see how we can help you to enjoy your garden more. Call us on 07900 224 239 or 01529 455 355.