March is our busy month. Hopefully you will have had enough good days to get out and do your winter tidy-up and pruning but if not, now is the time to do it early in the month.
Sowing and Planting
You can sow hardy annuals outside now in their allocated position.
Shrubs and bare-roots can still be planted happily in March and if the weather is mild, perennials can go out at the end of the month. You are often safer waiting a couple of weeks until spring is well established.
Pruning and plant management
Deadhead your spring flowering plants such as pansies to keep them flowering. Remember to take the whole head or stem if it looks untidy and this will force the plant to keep producing new flowers.
Tidy up hydrangeas now. The brown flowerheads can now be taken off, cutting down to just above a pair of healthy buds. You will know the time is right when those buds start to swell. If the shrub requires renovation, cut a quarter of the older stems down to the base.
There are some vigorous shrubs which can be pruned now to avoid too much growth over the summer. Elder, buddleja, dogwoods and cotinus are examples. You will know in your own garden what starts to take off around this time!
Remember with evergreens to wait until new growth starts to appear if you need to give them a prune too.
Divide and replant snowdrops whilst they are ‘in the green’ which helps them to establish better.
Divide larger clumps of hostas and other herbaceous perennials such as rudbeckia and heleniums. This way you can increase your stock and extend the reach of each plant by creating swathes and groups which blend into each other, enrichening your borders.
Take off the top layer of compost/detritus/moss etc. from your pots and apply a layer of fresh compost to give those plants a boost and to make the pots look smarter.
Sow broad beans outside, if you have not started them out under cover.
Feed all your established fruit trees and bushes. Potash will encourage fruiting. To assist them in resisting bug infection a spray with Vitax Winter Tree Wash will pay dividends.
Chit potatoes in a warm bright position to develop nice strong shoots. Rub off all but a couple of strong shoots and concentrate on developing those.
You can still move dormant shrubs at this time, before they burst into new growth.
Maintenance and Planning
Get on top of weeds from the word go! Use your hoe to lightly scrape off the new young shoots in your flowerbeds, leaving them on the surface to die and rot back into the soil.
Power-wash your slabbed areas and terraces and then treat your gravel and paved areas with weedkiller before the weeds start to grow.
Dig manure into beds where you will be growing crops (carrots do not like this, so avoid that area).
Give your beds and borders a god mulch with compost, manure, or leaf mould.
Prepare seedbeds if you intend to sow areas of your garden. Dig over the bed, breaking up clumps of soil with the back of your rake and then rake to a fine tilth.
Keep buying your Summer-flowering bulbs!