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Wednesday, 2 March 2016

This Month in your Garden - March

Daffodils that come before the swallow dares and take the winds of March with beauty

William Shakespeare


March heralds the start of spring gardening and you could say by mid-March spring has arrived. The weather is looking fairly typical with sunny days but beware the frosty nights. Last month we commented on the early daffodils appearing, this month we can begin gardening in earnest.

The frosts will have been beneficial to the soil, breaking it down and now it’s time to get going, preparing seed beds and in mild areas even sowing hardy annuals and sweet peas. Otherwise you can be sowing seeds in small pots or trays of compost to germinate in a warm place. But if you don’t have a warm, bright place, temperature 10C (50F) to grow the plants on, wait until April or early May.

A tip when sowing seeds in compost trays: let the compost come to room temperature because cold compost will inhibit germination. In early spring, plant herbaceous perennials such as Astrantia, Geranium and Oriental poppies, along with summer-flowering bulbs, making sure the bulbs have good drainage. Plant and move snowdrops, winter aconites and hardy cyclamen and split polyanthus after flowering to make several plants. Sow under glass everything you like from antirrhinums to zinnias for swathes of colour come summer, or buy plug plants of your favourites to grow on for planting out after the frosts have gone.

  • Plant Anemone coronaria in well-drained soil
  • Take spring cuttings of tender bedding plants such as pelargoniums, marguerites and petunias
  • Sow summer bedding plants in a heated propagator or under glass
  • Keep autumn-sown sweet peas in a sunny position in the greenhouse
  • Plant layered carnations, chrysanthemums, dahlias, pansies and violas but heed frost warnings
  • Protect new shoots from slugs
  • Top dress containers with fresh compost
  • Deal with weeds before they deal with you
  • Divide flesh-rooted plants such as hostas
  • Plan a crop of cut flowers for summer


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