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Gardening Tips - March
Cumbria in Bloom are greatly appreciative and indebted to Jersey Plants Direct for their contribution to these tips on the month to month jobs to be done in the garden.
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March Gardener's Calendar
It can be difficult to keep to a schedule in March, as the weather can be so fickle. Generally, you can enjoy the beautiful spring perennials such as Bergenia, Rock Cress and Aubrietia.
Easter and British Summer Time, at the end of March, highlights the approach of summer and hopefully some warmer spring-like weather and of course longer days.
Sowing and Planting
Plant summer flowering bulbs such as Dahlias, Begonias, Agapanthus and Alliums. Bulbs should feel firm to the touch and should be free from mould. Bulbs prefer good drainage, so when planting put a handful of grit at the bottom of the planting hole.
Plant herbaceous perennials such as Geranium, Anemones, Aquilegia and Hellebores. Spring is an ideal time to plant perennials and also to consider what might complement your existing borders. Now is the time to order these perennials.
Sow summer bedding plants under glass or in a heated propagator. A great range of summer bedding plant seeds are available now from Jersey Plants Direct. Or if you don’t have a greenhouse order plug bedding plants and let us do the hard work for you.
If you didn’t have time to sow Sweet Peas indoors earlier in the year, don’t worry you can now sow Sweet Peas outside if you live in milder areas. Sweet Peas are easy to grow and by July you should be enjoying the scent and colours of these wonderful flowers.
Tidy your garden – Cut back, prune and divide.
Dead head early spring bulbs such as daffodils, leaving the foliage to die down naturally – this will help the bulbs put their energies into next year’s displays instead of making seed. Also, dead head winter flowering pansies and other winter bedding. Pansies will continue to flower well into Spring and even early summer if attended to frequently.
Cut back ornamental grasses and other perennials that have been left for their winter interest. March is your last chance to prune summer flowering deciduous shrubs such as Buddleia, Lavatera and Hydrangea. This will help rejuvenate them and bring them into flower in the summer.
Divide Snowdrops, Hellebores and Polyanthus-type Primulas after flowering.
Now is the best time to dig up your Hostas and divide them. Gently loosen the soil around the Hosta clump and then lift it using your fork. Split the clump and make sure you plant them straight away to avoid the roots drying out.
Prune your Roses for best results. Remove dead and damaged wood and cut diseased stems back to healthy growth. You can cut any Rose bush and hedge back by up to a half.
March Garden Maintenance
Deal with weeds, which are starting to burst into growth just like everything else in your garden. A hoe makes short work of clearing a large area. Always hoe on a sunny, dry day to prevent the weeds re-growing.
Mulch helps keep down weeds and maintains a cool and moist soil. This month mulch and add organic matter to heavy clay soils. Compost or shredded leaves are good because they add nutrients to the soil. You can improve the drainage of your soil by working in plenty of organic matter.
Feed borders with a general-purpose fertiliser to add the nutrients your plants need for healthy growth.
Protect plants from frost - If the weather is mild remove winter coverings but make sure the risk of frost has passed. If frost is forecast, use fleece to protect the new leaves.
Make sure new growth on Lilies and Delphiniums are protected from slugs and snails. These pests love Hostas, which are just starting to grow. They will go for the kill and take the shoots before the leaves open. A good tip is to use some beer or citrus skins daily to trap them. Alternatively try our biological control for slugs that is watered onto the ground for 6 weeks of protection.
Plant your Early Potatoes such as Pentland Javelin and Red Duke of York. Sow seed indoors for Tomatoes, Sweet Peppers, Salad and Courgettes. There are plenty of varieties of Tomatoes to grow. Now, hardier varieties can be grown outdoors, but remember they are native to a hot climate. Jersey Plants Direct have lots of vegetable seeds for you but also a range of jumbo ready plants if you would rather let us do the hard work for you!
Prepare supports for Peas and Runner Beans.
The Lord Cavendish of Furness DL., Mrs Olive Clarke OBE, JP, DL., Mr Paul Rose, Mrs Eileen Kirby
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