As the month that finally ushers in Spring, March has plenty of activity in store for keen gardeners. With dozens of seed sowings in the greenhouse and outside, rejuvenating plants and borders and resuming the regular chores of trimming lawns and hedges, there is barely enough time to admire the plants already in bloom. Bees and even butterflies that have been coaxed from their winter quarters on the warmer afternoons will readily appreciate the deep blue flowers of muscari and scented hyacinths mingled with drifts of golden daffodils. Shrubberies begin to take on an interesting appearance with stems of lemon-flowered forsythia and the cerise pink of flowering currant looking colourful amongst the evergreens. It’s also an ideal time for redesigning neglected areas of the garden.
Indoor Seed Sowing
Planning ahead for the summer months is when a greenhouse becomes invaluable. Dozens of pots and trays line the shelving as they are filled with seeds of half hardy annuals such as French marigolds (tagetes), nicotiana and alyssum. Emerging seedlings from earlier sowings will need to be shaded from the sun on excessively warm days to prevent the delicate leaves scorching. Humidity can quickly build up encouraging damping off disease or botrytis which causes the stems of seedlings to suddenly wither. Ventilating the greenhouse for a few hours every day during milder weather can help prevent it.
Outdoor Seed Sowing
When there are large patches of bare earth in the borders an inexpensive way to create a colourful display for the summer is to sow drifts of annuals such as Californian poppies (escholzia), pot marigolds (calendula) and nasturtiums. Rake over the soil until it is a fine tilth then sow patches of seeds and water lightly. A low growing plant for the front of the display could be the poached egg plant (limnanthes douglasii). Such a concentration of beautiful flowers throughout the coming months will guarantee the arrival of butterflies, hoverflies and bees.
One of the most popular flowers for hanging baskets and tubs is the trailing begonia which is available in a range of brilliant colours. The tubers can be started off now in the greenhouse or on a sunny windowsill. Place them the right way up in boxes or pots of damp potting compost. Dahlias are favourite cottage garden plants which can be transplanted into the garden once the frosts have passed. Their tubers can be potted up now along with the begonias. Any geraniums and fuchsias that have been in a dormant state since the autumn can now be revived. Tidy the plants by removing dead foliage and weak stems then place into pots of fresh compost and water well.
A New Start
March is perfect for reassessing your garden and planning new features. Garden Club London is brimming with eye-catching, affordable ideas that will turn your garden into a spectacular showpiece of bright colour and stylish design.