March Gardening Tips 2023 - Squires Garden Centres

March Gardening Tips 2023

Hurrah, the days are lengthening and there is more opportunity to get outside and get gardening as March progresses. It is a good time to plant all sorts of hardy plants from trees and shrubs to perennials, roses and climbers. Lots of fabulous new plants are arriving in the garden centres from now on, so there is always something fresh and seasonal to see and the plant areas are constantly changing as new stock comes in throughout the spring. This makes a garden centre a really exciting place. There is always something new and beautiful to see in every department.

Spring flowering bulbs really come into their own in March. It is a good opportunity to take a note or photo of any flowering bulbs you particularly like in your own garden or in a park or garden and decide what you might like to plant next autumn. Make a note, or take a photo, of any gaps you might like to fill with pot grown bulbs now or with bulbs in the autumn.  Dead head daffodils and tulips when their flowers start to fade. Cut the blooms and compost them, but leave the foliage to die down naturally so it can go on photosynthesising to feed the bulb for next year’s flowering.

I mentioned this time last year that we were creating a new border at home with a cream, pale yellow and blue theme. Well, it didn’t do too badly in its first year despite the cold spring and then hot summer. I think we may have lost a lovely white scabious over the winter but otherwise the roses and perennials are shooting nicely. To add to our first roses, Desdemona and Vanessa Bell, we planted Claire Austin and Malvern Hills to climb the fence and Nye Bevan towards the front of the border. The lupins, one cream, one white, did well and two honeysuckles are looking strong. Calendula and annual phlox which we grew from seed filled in the gaps . We are about to decide which annuals to grow from seed this year. Hardy annuals can be sown from seed in late March, either where they are to flower or in trays and pots to be transplanted later. Any further spaces can be filled later with tender bedding plants when the danger of frost is over.

Another new rose for us last year was Strawberry Hill. On the recommendation of Chris, who manages our plant area at Milford, we planted two to grow up obelisks in a new border against our house. Interplanted with blue clematis they looked pretty good in their first season. We are really excited to see what they do this year. March is the time to prune established roses (other than ramblers). Prune to an outward facing bud using a good pair of clean, sharp secateurs.

Do give the garden a welcome feed as it bursts into life. A general fertiliser can be applied to borders and watered in unless rain is forecast. Then mulch well – perhaps 6 to 10 cm – with garden compost, composted bark or bark chips to keep the moisture in and the weeds down.  Shrubs, roses, trees, climbers and perennials will all benefit enormously.  Overcrowded clumps of herbaceous plants (cottage garden plants) can be divided and replanted,  increasing your plant stock at no cost whatsoever. And you can take cuttings of any fuchsias and pelargoniums you may have overwintered to give you new plants that will flower this year.

Lawns really took a pasting in the hot, dry spell last summer. March is a great time to sow a new lawn, or repair worn patches.  As the month progresses, it may be time to cut the lawn again. Set the mower blades high to avoid scalping. Rake (scarify) the lawn to get rid of debris, dead grass and moss. Aerate badly drained areas of the lawn with a hollow tined fork. Try to avoid walking on waterlogged lawns and working in sodden borders to avoid soil compaction.

In the vegetable patch onion sets and shallots can be planted now. Put Seed Potatoes in a cool, light position to chit (sprout) for planting later. Early varieties can be planted towards the end of the month. Broccoli, Cabbage, Kale, Parsnips, Peas, Radishes and Spinach can be sown outside towards the end of March and then covered with cloches, or a little later in the season you can buy young plants to grow on. Many varieties of tomatoes and chillies can be sown now in the greenhouse, on a windowsill or in a conservatory.

Spring is on the way and I hope you enjoy the simple beauty nature has to offer this month and all that the garden has in store, from blossom to birdsong.

With my very best wishes


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