It’s about to get really busy in the garden. March is the gateway to spring and the very last chance to get any winter jobs finished before the sap begins rising in earnest. So if you haven’t already, dig out your gardening gloves, secateurs and spade and get going with this month’s jobs…
Preparing the soil and plants
If you haven’t already, weed, dig and mulch your soil to prepare it for the growing season. Now is also the last month when you can easily move trees or shrubs before the leaves appear in April.
Lift and divide herbaceous perennials to increase your plant numbers and plant out summer flowering bulbs and corms like gladioli and lillies.
Before the growing season races away in April, May and June, make sure you’ve supported plants that will get tall, floppy or are likely to suffer wind damage. Tie in climbers, provide support for herbaceous perennials that tend to flop, and support plants like cardoons and eremuras before they need it. Now is also a good time to make and site pea-stick wigwams to support sweet peas.
March is a good time to plant bare root roses, as the soil has warmed up but growth is not yet romping away. Once planted make sure they’re firmed in well to avoid root-rock, fed with a good mulch or chicken manure and (once they really begin to come into growth) you can also feed them with a balanced liquid feed if necessary. If you have established roses, prune them to encourage a good structure and vigourous new growth.
Cut back early flowering clematis and winter flowering jasmine once they have finished flowering. March is also the time to cut back cornus and salix hard to the ground, to encourage fresh new growth for vibrant winter colour.
Prune overwintered fuchia back to one or two buds on each shoot and complete any perennial or grass pruning that needs completing.
Trim winter flowering heathers to stop them from becoming straggly and cut the dead and browning leaves from hellebores as the new growth emerges.
Deadhead winter pansies and daffodils, allowing the daffodil foliage to die back naturally without pruning.
Cut back last year’s hydrangea flower heads and cut the whole shrub down to about 1/3 of last year’s growth to maintain a good shape.
Chit your potatoes in March ready for planting out your early crop towards the end of the month. You can also plant out onion and garlic sets.
March is the time to refresh your potted blueberries, removing any old weedy soil and topping it up with fresh ericaceous compost.
Protect early flowering fruit trees like peaches and apricots from frost by covering them with horticultural fleece during cold snaps.
Mulch rhubarb to encourage growth but don’t cover the crown or it will rot.
Don’t forget to start mowing your lawn, but only on dry days on a high cut setting. If you’ve not done so already, edging the lawn will also add a crisp finish to the garden.
In the greenhouse, you can sow tomato seeds, re-pot orchids and start seeds off in pots, ready for the year ahead.
If you haven’t already, clean, sharpen and organise your tools.
We hope you can out into the garden and enjoy it – here’s to a super spring!