“In the spring, at the end of the day, you should smell like dirt.”Margaret Atwood
Spring officially starts on the first of March but then the daffodils, crocuses and primulas seem to
have been telling us that in the southern counties for the past couple of weeks. But what a mixed bag of weather we’ve had across the whole of the UK in the past few weeks. Now, hopefully we can look towards getting our hands dirty in the garden.
You should be seeing the benefit of any digging and preparation you’ve done in borders over winter. Forking them over, while mixing in organic matter with the soil broken down by the frosts, will get your planting of perennials and biennials off to a good start come April. As the soil warms up so do slugs and snails and it’s a source of incredulity to see how quickly they can inflict so much damage to emerging Hostas, Delphiniums and lupins. Nematodes are a good way of reducing the slug and snail population or organic slug pellets to kill them without potential environmental damage. They need dealing with now.
It’s a good time to lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials, which will give you more plants and ones with new vigour. Summer flowering bulbs can go into the ground or containers, which you will have top dressed with fresh compost. You’ll probably be mowing the lawn by now if it’s dry. Remember not to cut the grass too short to begin with. Oh, yes, you’ll be doing plenty of hoeing and mulching to keep those weeds at bay.
- Plant out Sweet Peas grown in autumn or sow seeds now
- Prune bush and climbing roses
- Cut back dogwood (Cornus) and willow (Salix)
- Take spring cuttings of tender bedding plants such as pelargoniums, marguerites and petunias
- Sow under glass a list as long as you like from antirrhinums to delphiniums, dianthus to hollyhocks and penstemons to zinnia and everything in between
- Grow perennials from seed, lupins, pinks, delphiniums
- Split polyanthus after flowering to make several plants
- Plant layered carnations, chrysanthemums, dahlias, pansies and violas
- Start feeding the fish