Even in the smallest garden there is always plenty to do. March heralds the start of spring when plant growth in the garden begins to accelerate. Here is a handy list of vital jobs to be doing in the flower garden during March to help you keep on top of your gardening at the start of a busy new season.
As growth begins to put on a spurt in the flower bed, tidy up by cutting back old growth and then top dress with compost. This will not only protect emerging new shoots from late frosts but also feed the soil and give your plants a good start. Now is also the time to divide and replant large clumps of perennials. Most of the time this can be done by digging up the whole plant and making a clean cut all the way through with a clean sharp spade. If you haven’t already done so, place growing supports over tall-growing perennials before they grow up too much. Towards the end of the month you can plant out new shrubs and perennials.
Prune shrub roses making sure you cut cleanly to low new shoots, making sure you sprinkle some granular fertiliser around the base. Honeysuckle that has become overgrown can also be trimmed back at this time right back close to the base of the plant. Once spring flower bulbs such as narcissus have finished flowering you can cut the dead heads off but leave the green growth to die back for at least six weeks to help regenerate the bulbs for next year.
Now is the time to propagate some of your favorite perennials. Take cuttings of delphiniums by removing strong new shoots and placing them in potting compost. This can also be done with echinacea and phlox. There are some shrubs that can be propagated by layering, which involves wounding a shoot and burying it in soil to encourage it to root. Shrubs that can be propagated in this way include rhododendron, honeysuckle and forsythia.
Sow sweet peas in pots at the beginning of the month and then plant out towards the end of the month if the weather is not too cold. At the end of March hardy annuals can also be sown outside. Tidy up any garden planters filled with early spring displays and replace any that have gone over with polyanthus and primulas. Also plant out lily bulbs in containers for a stunning summer display.
Jo Poultney is a RHS qualified gardener who has recently set up a business selling garden planters and garden related gifts via a website.