We’ve made it! We’ve endured the long, dark nights (and days, too) and made it through the winter all the way to March. It might not feel very spring-like out there while we wait-out the grip of a particularly arctic ‘blast’ of weather, but everywhere now determined crocus are turning their faces to the sun, daffodil buds are shooting defiantly skywards and even perennials like sedum and roses have buds set, ready and waiting for their moment in the sun.

Flowers and shrubs…

If you’ve had a store of gladioli corms tucked away for the winter then now’s the time to get them out, check them over and replant them for the coming summer.

If you took hard wood cuttings last year then check them over as they may be ready for planting out or potting on.

Prune shrub roses now if you’ve not done so already to create a balanced, open shape and promote vigourous growth. If you’re looking to increase your selection of roses then now is also a good time to buy and plant bare root roses.

We all like a ‘freebie’ and there’s no better way to create extra plants than by lifting and dividing perennials. For full tips on this search the RHS website.

Prune group 1 clematis after they’ve flowered, shaping the plant to fit the available space and remove dead wood. You  also need to prune group 3 clematis down to a pair of strong buds about 20cm from the ground. Group 2 clematis can be lightly pruned back to two strong buds, to remove any damaged wood, but you don’t need to prune these until after they flower in the summer.

You can sow hardy annuals and order plug plants now, to increase your show of flowers in the summer.

Cut back cornus and willow almost to the ground to encourage brightly-coloured, new growth for the winter.

Cut back winter flowering jasmine to 5cms from the old wood to re-shape and promote new growth.

Deadhead hydrangeas and cut back to 1/2 or 1/3 of last season’s growth.

Fruits and veggies…

If you want to increase your stock of fruit trees then March is a great month to do this. Plant them in well and give them a good drink.

Prune autumn raspberries back to the ground, to encourage new canes to grow. Trim summer raspberries back to the level of their supports.

Feed your blueberries with an ericaceous mulch or feed to increase fruit production and plant health.

Protect peach, apricot and nectarine blossom from the cold and frost with fleece (then cross your fingers that the blossom survives the next band of ‘arctic’ weather!)

Prepare your veggie patch by digging in green manures (if you grew them), spreading compost or mulch, and thoroughly weeding the area.

Plant out chitted potatoes towards the end of the month if the weather is not too cold.

Sow tomato seeds in a heated greenhouse if you have one and bring strawberries in to the greenhouse too, to give them a head start.

Other jobs…

Weed patio areas and clean off algae.

Top up pots and raised planters before plants come into active growth.

If the soil isn’t too wet, then re-cut the edges of lawns; in heavy clay areas it may still be too wet and soggy to do this yet.

Build, repair or check over your composting bins ready for prunings and clippings in the spring and summer.

Position water butts now so they can collect the last of the winter rainfall.

Last but not least…

Keep dreaming of the longer, drier and warmer days. They surely have to arrive soon!