Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer. ~Geoffrey B. Charlesworth
March sees spring bulbs out in force with days often being bright and sunny, if a little windy. Buds are appearing all over the garden, as are the weeds! The days get longer as the clocks go forward and life starts to slowly reawaken from the long sleep of winter.
This seems to be the time of year more than any other when I really notice how in sync we are with nature, spring feels like waking up after a long sleep and starting to feel full of energy and vitality again, so too in the garden as bulbs are forcing their way through the soil and buds are forming on the tree’s. New life is visible everywhere, people seem happier and the birds seem to sing that little bit louder.
The sun is here starting to warm the earth, it is all starting to happen under the ground, there is always something new to experience in the garden this month. With spring being probably the busiest season in the garden, there is much to do but be warned that late frosts are still likely to be careful not to put anything tender to risk.
The early spring sunshine brings to life yellow and blue planting schemes, my favourite for pots and baskets. Note as you look around for wild flowers, drifts of bluebells with pale yellow primroses, daffodils and forget-me-nots, nature never gets it wrong.
The lawn is likely to show real signs of growth this month. Start mowing with blades at their highest settings and slowly lower over the next few weeks to prevent stressing your lawn. Now is a great time to start making repairs to any worn or damaged areas of your lawn.
Butterfly Bush (Buddleia)
Prune the butterfly bush Buddleia davidii hard back to a framework of older wood at 60-120cm. Shoots will already be starting to grow but don’t worry. Cut hard back to the size you require, even if it leaves the plant entirely leafless. This plant will come back time and time again and is one of the garden’s fastest and most prolific growers. Flowers will be on the ends of this year’s growth.
Use clean, sharp secateurs to prune bush roses (hybrid teas and floribundas) now, if you haven’t already done so. First cut off all dead, damaged or diseased stems and thin, spindly twigs. Note that hard-pruning increases strong growth, so cut back weak shoots hard (to leave only about 1in of last year’s growth) cutting above an outward-facing bud; leave about 2-3in of last year’s growth on stronger stems. Shrub roses need less radical pruning. Take out about one third of the oldest and thickest branches at their base, using a pruning saw. Tidy up the remaining stems by trimming over the top to reduce height by about 4in.
Other things to do this month
· Prune bushes and shrubs to encourage new growth
· Feed fruit trees
· Plant summer bulbs around the garden borders
· Plant a spring container
· Clear debris and old stems from beds and borders as well as weeds and follow with good mulch of compost or bark
· Divide and replant congested perennials
· Dead head any early spring flowers and bulbs as they die off
· Remove weeds and reseed lawns if needed
· Spring clean paths and driveways removing stubborn weeds
· Now is a good time to plant or move evergreens, as the weather warms up and root activity commences, but before new shoots have opened.
Spring is so very nearly upon us, so happy March Gardeners.