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What to do in the garden in March’

spring flowers

Early Spring is a great time to start getting your garden prepared, planted and pruned for an exciting year ahead.

Preparation

To give your garden a healthy start, feed all trees, shrubs and even hedging.  If the soil is workable, dig in at least 5cm of compost, well rotted manure or general fertiliser into your beds to prepare for the season ahead.

Planting

March is a good time to start planting, although wait until early April in freezing conditions or if the soil is waterlogged.

Plant herbaceous perennials, including Geranium and Astrantia and tender summer flowering bulbs such as Gladioli or Lilies, this month.  To provide colour in the garden, hardy annuals can be sown in pots or outside in mild weather.

The right foliage can also bring interest to your garden, for example at this time of year, Heucheras come in a range of colours and have a very distinctive leaf. A classic combination is Heuchera green spice with a backdrop of the larger Heuchera plum pudding.

Late March is also ideal for moving any evergreen shrubs or trees into new positions. They will have a better chance of survival at this time, particularly if well established.

spring flowersPlant Scheme

If you want to try a new scheme with four seasons of interest, here’s an idea that will really excite a large border. Amelanchier lamarkii trees are great for the small garden, although they eventually grow to 20m they are slow growing enough to keep under control, so plant as a multi stemmed tree to achieve a large shrub effect and surround with snow drop and crocus bulbs, then an outer ring of iceberg roses, Dicentra spectabilis and Buxus cones.

In early Spring the Amelanchier will be laden with beautiful white star shaped flowers, contrasting with the flowering Dicentra and the evergreen Buxus. As the dicentra die back and leaves on the tree unfold, the roses will bloom, overlooked by the Amelanchier in leaf eventually producing black fruit in Summer. The roses often remain in flower as the Amelanchier leaves turn a striking red in Autumn, lighting up the Buxus. After the leaves  have fallen, the snow drops flower beneath the tree followed by the purple Crocus, and so the process starts again!

Pruning

tree blossomHardier evergreen shrubs, such as Prunus or Laurel hedges, Photinia and Aucuba and most Summer flowering deciduous shrubs, such as Buddleja, Lavatera and Hydrangea  can be pruned in early March.  This is also the time to tidy any overgrown climbers, such as Jasmine, Ivy and Rambling roses, and prune standard or bush roses, before their leaves unfurl.

After pruning finish up by applying a generous 5-7cm (2-3in) mulch of well-rotted garden compost or manure around the base of the plants.

Happy gardening!

James Lanwarne

Lanwarne Landscapes Ltd

[email protected]

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