Your Tasks for March
Are we all raring to go as Spring really starts to kick in? The Winter was so wet and, on most days, too miserable to be bothered doing anything in the garden. Feeding the birds is probably the most I did. I was disappointed by the variety of birds at our feeders on the three days of the Big Garden Birdwatch, unlike Mrs Hoy who ticked loads of boxes. Next year I'm spending the weekend at The Wildfowl Trust Slimbridge to even things up, not that i'm a poor loser. The forced bulbs that we have in the house should be planted in the garden. Do not cut the leaves back but do take care of the root system. Buying snowdrops in the green at this time of year is the best way of naturalising them in to the garden.
The R H S things to do list for March –
1. Protect new spring shoots from wind, frost and pests.
2. Plant shallots, onion sets and new potatoes.
3. Plant Summer flowering bulbs.
4. Lift and divide large clumps of perennials.
5. Top dress containers with new compost.
6. Mow lawns on dry days.
7. Cut back Dogwood and Willow.
8. Hoe and mulch weeds to keep under control early.
9. Start feeding the fish and using the pond fountain.
10. Prune bush and climbing Roses.
While top dressing containers with new compost, look out for the Vine Weevil larvae and, if found, treat early with a pesticide. Don't delay on this or the plant will be ruined. Trim Winter flowering Heathers with shears as the flowers start to fade as this will stop them getting leggy and promote strong new growth. Cut off old leaves of Hellebores to expose the flowers. You can divide Hostas now before they come into leaf and Primulas after they have flowered. Dahlia tubers can be potted up now and, when the new shoots reach three to four inches, cuttings can be a taken. Dip the end in rooting powder and pot up and seal in a plastic bag until roots start to show. New plants grown this way will give you more Dahlias and a better display. Sweet pea seeds can be planted directly into the soil at this time of year, which will prolong the flowering season, along with the the plants you have grown on under glass. Hardy annuals can be sown in pots to give great colour to the garden and they are good for filling in any gaps you may have. The Village Show in September is a fantastic annual event in Wenvoe with some outstanding exhibits and is well attended. To keep this show running it needs some volunteers so if you could help in any way it will be very much appreciated.
Garden centres will be tempting us with all their new season young plants which are very hard to resist. Caution is needed as these plants have been grown in a strictly controlled environment so care will be needed when you get them home, especially from the cold and wind. When buying your compost check the bags are not too light as this will mean the compost is dry. It is quite difficult to get it back to the right moisture content and will mean a lot more work before you can use it. If you're buying mulch then the opposite is true – the dryer it is the easier it is to spread and it will go further.
Take care and happy gardening