Is it spring yet?

There’s always high hopes mixed with unpredictability during March.  All the promising signs of spring wherever we turn ... bright yellow daffodils, deep blues of the grape hyacinths, the ongoing blooms of the hellebores… Oh!  I could go on, but it might all disappear overnight under a sudden blanket of snow!

I’ve come to the conclusion that we are two weeks ahead in the garden here.  I’ve noticed that what was flowering this time last year has passed its best or gone over by now.  I’m rather hoping Mother Nature will bring a few cold snaps to slow things down a little, so that I can enjoy all of what’s happening around the garden throughout this month. 

The official start to the spring season in meteorologists terms is on 1st of this month, for most of the northern hemisphere.  In astronomy terms (and mine), the first day of spring occurs on the vernal equinox on the 20th March.  This is where the length of day and night are equal. 

The signs of spring are different for so many of us, like the first blossom, new buds on the trees, or the change in birdsong.  Either way, we all know it’s here!

This is one of our busiest times in the garden, the race to have all the beds and borders prepped ready for our open garden, and the summer months.  With the  alternating help one day a week from Rowan and Hannah (my amazing gardeners) not forgetting Mr Robin at my side, we’ll definitely be ready!

Here’s some of the jobs we are getting on with here..  

1- Cut back grasses and any other herbaceous brown stems

2- Cut back buddleia, salix and cornus stems

3- Rose feeding begins

4- Split and divide perennials 

5- Pot up dahlia tubers

1- This is possibly one of our biggest jobs here during March, as we have a lot of perennials and an increasing amount of grasses here.  With some, not all, grasses I take a pair of shears to them and cut them back right to their base.  I tend to use secateurs for the herbaceous plants as their stems are thicker.  I’m very mindful to only cut away all the brown spent flowers from last year, leaving any new/green growth that is emerging.

2- We have a handful of different Buddleias (butterfly bush) here that are hard pruned now.  You don’t have to do this, however I highly recommend it because this creates a tidier shape and promotes more flowers too.  Some other shrubs you can give this treatment to are salix (willow) and the colourful stems of 3+ yr old dogwoods before they come into leaf.

3- Roses are hungry plants, and are starting to wake up from their winter dormancy. Throughout this month and as the ground begins to warm up, they rapidly develop new leaf growth, by giving them a slow release granular feed at their base will set them up for the growing season ahead.  We use TOPROSE 

4- In the UK this job can be done in autumn and or early spring.  I find March is a perfect time because a lot of perennials are throwing up new shoots, which helps to remind us of where and what they are and how big their clump is.  Digging up and dividing will help rejuvenate the whole plant and its flower production.  This job is worth doing every 3-5 years depending on the plants growth and vigour.  What’s great about dividing, is that you get plants for free.  It has helped us to fill out lots of borders here over the years.

5- I’ve been growing dahlias since 2017 and have found them to be an incredibly useful addition to the garden, not only do they produce an abundance of flowers for the house, they extend the growing season right up until the early frosts.  If you love dahlias or are thinking of growing them, now is your last chance to order some while stocks last!  I have usually ordered and have received mine by now and am ready to pot them all up.  Before you begin, make sure you have written out your labels and cleaned your pots to prevent any possible diseases that might affect your compost and tuber!  It’s important to make sure your pot isn’t too big or too small for the tuber to fit into and lastly once you have potted them all up, only water once until you see shoots beginning to appear, and keep them in a bright frost free place. 

If you’re looking to try them out, I have a whole section of some of my favourites plus our own ‘Laundry Garden jewel dahlia collection’ over on the Crocus website, hand picked by me, that I think you would love! 

It’s such a great time to be out in the garden, even if it’s doing the smallest of things! 

My recommendation of the month is:

Book- Grounded in the Garden by TJ Maher

Instagram @patthana_garden