march in the garden
March can be a fickle month with sudden cold windy blasts from the east and frosty snaps - yet with a hint of spring. On a sunny, still day you can feel the strength of the sunlight against your face. The sun is starting to warm the earth and waiting for buds to swell on branches can feel like forever - yet it is starting to happen, there is always something new to experience in the garden this month.
| At Toddington manor it is possibly the busiest month for us as everything bursts into life - plants, seeds, grass and weeds!|
Already in our long borders, herbaceous perennials including peonies, hemerocallis (day lily) iris and aconitums (monkshood) are bursting through the soil accompanied by multitudes of spring bulbs (alliums and bluebells).
| It is the best time to prune late summer flowering shrubs such as buddleias, fuchsias, caryopteris and hydrangeas now the worst of the winter frosts are over. Also, coppice shrubs such as cornus, willows and corylus grown for their winter stems.|
Lawns would benefit from a little attention this month. Lightly scarify the lawn with a wire rake to remove any thatch and winter debris before mowing. After you dig out the lawnmower from the back of the shed, check that the blades are sharp and replace if necessary.
Oil and lubricate before use and then check that the mower is cutting correctly. If your mower has height adjustment, set to the highest cut and gradually reduce over the coming weeks.
The spring sunshine brings to life yellow and blue planting schemes, note as you look around for wild flowers, intense drifts of bluebells mingling with pale yellow primroses, and forget-me-nots naturalised with daffodils - nature never gets its colour schemes wrong!
Spring is just around the corner now everyone - so Happy March gardeners,
Linette Applegate - Head Gardener at Toddington Manor.