The Gardener's Guide
Get your gardening tools at the ready - March's gardener's guide is a long one! As spring inches ever closer, it's time to begin pruning, planting and preparing for the warmer weather as your garden begins to bloom into life.
- Prune roses now to encourage strong new growth. Buddleia, cornus, hydrangea, clematis and overwintered fuschias can also be pruned to increase growth habit.
Deadhead winter pansies to stop them setting seed and encourage flushes of new flowers throughout the spring. Daffodils can also be deadheaded as the flowers finish - let the foliage die back naturally.
Fork up emerging shoots of perennial weeds and remove every bit of root.
- Prune out any wind-damaged branches on trees and shrubs.
- Clear away soggy stems, old plants and weeds, then dig over the soil - compost them as you go.
- Check any supports, ties or stakes you placed last year haven’t been damaged by storms or harsh December weather.
- Mow your lawn when it's dry and needs a trim, and re-cut the edges with a half-moon edging tool. Don't overmow - let your lawn grow to fill your garden with natural colour and bee-friendly beauty. Find out more top tips to create a sustainable garden here.
- Continue to leave food out for garden birds as their breeding season begins.
- Dig out a new pond or install a water feature to attract more wildlife to your garden.
- Fertilise your flowerbeds by digging a 5cm layer of compost or well-rotted manure to prepare for the growing season ahead. While you're at it, don't forget to top up veg planters with compost and good quality topsoil, and weed and mulch asparagus beds - asparagus has shallow roots so weed by hand to prevent damage.
- As the soil warms up, your garden may have more visitors than usual. Slugs love the emerging delicate shoots of herbaceous plants, such as Hosta, Delphinium and lupins. Start protecting your plants to keep them safe from slugs as they grow.
- Fruit and veg
- Plant shallots, onion sets and early potatoes, spacing them 10-15cm apart, and keep the bed free of weeds.
- Sow tomatoes, chillies, sweet peppers and aubergines in pots indoors.
- Sow your first batch of hardy veg like spinach and cover with cloches or fleece.
- Plant your strawberries in a hanging basket to keep the fruits away from slugs.
- Plant lilies, dahlia and other summer-flowering bulbs in pots and borders.
- Plant new roses and other shrubs and climbers against trellises.
- Plant snowdrops to prepare for next year's wintery display.
- Fruit and veg
- Now's the time to order annual bedding plants, ready to planted in beautiful containers and hanging baskets.
- Order fruit trees for planting this spring. If space is limited in your garden, we suggest growing dwarf fruit trees.
- Buy vegetable plants to get your vegetable garden off the ground.
Written by Francesca Hadland