Friday, 23 March 2007


Let’s have a look at some things we can be getting on with in the garden this month.

Order bedding plants
Order baby fuchsias, geraniums, marguerites and other young plug plants from mail-order suppliers. It's also a good time to order summer-flowering bulbs, such as dahlia, gladioli and eucomis.

Pruning shrubs
Prune away one or perhaps two flowering shoots from large mahonias each year, after flowering. This will encourage a succession of new replacement shoots to grow up from the base. Old, leggy shoots can be cut right down to ground level or you can stagger the length of stems to create a more interesting shape. The stems of dogwoods, willows, hardy fuchsias and ceratostigma should also be pruned back hard this month to encourage fresh, brightly coloured new growth. Cut down tall stems on Buddleia davidii to emerging shoots lower down the plant, shaping the shrub to control its size.

Divide perennials

Lift and divide congested clumps of perennials or plant new ones. People gardening on light soils may have completed this task last autumn, but those of us on heavy clay soils benefit from waiting until spring when conditions are warmer and drier.

Pruning clematis
Summer-flowering clematis varieties that blossom on the current season's growth, such as Clematis 'Etoile Violette', need to have last year's growth pruned out now. Cut any tangled old stems down to a pair of new shoots near ground level as soon as possible

Divide snowdrops
Lift and divide any congested snowdrops after flowering but while still in leaf. Carefully tease the clumps apart and replant the bulbs at the same depth they were before.

Sprinkle general-purpose organic fertiliser along the base of hedges and around trees and shrubs, followed by a generous mulch of rotted compost.

Planting begonia tubers
Plant tubers now in trays of moist compost, barely covering the top. Study the tubers carefully before planting and you will notice that they are convex on one side and concave on the other. The concave side should be uppermost in the pot. Keep them in a warm, bright position, watering when the compost dries out. Pot each one up individually when shoots are 5cm to 7.5cm (2in to 3in) long.

Trim heather
Trim winter-flowering heathers with shears to remove flower-heads and to shape the plants. Take care to remove only the blooms, never cutting back into old wood.


Paths and patios
Use a pressure washer or cleaner to clean paths, steps, paving and patios.

Check that mowers and garden machinery are in good working order and ready for the season ahead

Create bowl arrangementsBrighten up your home with a seasonal bowl arrangement. Try including such plants as ferns, hypoestes, kalanchoes, ivies or spider plants, and individual plants can be replaced when needed. Alternatively, look out for air plants. These plants collect moisture from the air and do not need soil. When planted around an ornament they make a bold statement


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