During March, nature stirs into growth as the weather improves and the soil warms. Drifts of bright daffodils highlight that spring is really here.
In the latest issue of My Weekly magazine, our expert Susie White is encouraging us all to get growing with simple hints, tips and some gorgeous photos from her own garden.
Meanwhile Dobbies garden centres are on a mission to get everyone’s gardens looking their best this season for maximum enjoyment. Tasks range from feeding flower beds to planting up window boxes for a burst of colour.
As spring officially begins on Saturday, March 20, it’s a busy time in the gardeners’ calendar and there is plenty to be getting on with.
Follow expert tips from Dobbies resident gardening expert and Horticultural Director, Marcus Eyles, to get your garden into shape for the months ahead…
- Plant pots, hanging baskets and window boxes with a cheerful display of early season bedding plants. You could include Pansies, Violas and potted bulbs.
- One of the most economical way to fill your tubs and baskets with colour this coming summer, is to grow your own bedding plants from young plants. There is a comprehensive range at Dobbies. Plant up immediately into small pots to grow on in a warm frost-free greenhouse, conservatory, or windowsill.
- Spring clean the terrace with a jet-wash and take the opportunity to give the fence a fresh coat of stain for the new season.
Beds and borders
- Hoe borders to remove weeds, applying a thick layer of mulch over the surface to lock in moisture and help keep weeds at bay. Mulch, such as manure, also helps to improve the soil and give plants a well-needed spring boost.
- Feed borders with a general-purpose fertiliser, applied and lightly forked in as per the manufacturer’s instructions. Don’t forget to feed your hedges too.
- Winter flowering Heathers that have started to fade can be lightly trimmed now with a pair of shears, to help keep them tidy, compact and encourage new growth.
- Prune summer flowering shrubs, such as Buddleia, Lavatera and hardy Fuchsias as soon as heavy frosts have finished to allow for fresh new growth bearing this year’s flowers.
- Deciduous grasses left uncut to shelter overwintering insects as well as for their winter display should be cut back now to make way for striking fresh new foliage.
- Support wildlife by planting new hedges, trees, and shrubs.
- Plant new cottage garden plants. Planted now, they will establish quickly to put on a good display in the summer.
- Re-invigorate existing plants that are tired or congested by lifting and dividing before planting in their new positions.
- Insert plant supports around any existing clumps already bursting into spring growth. By doing so now, the overall look is more natural and you can avoid any plant damage.
- Hardy annuals such as Nigella, Centaurea and Calendula can be sown now, in gaps where they are intended to flower. Super scented Sweet Peas can be sown outside now too, ready for picking later in the summer.
- Plant summer flowering bulbs, such as Gladiolus and Lilies, where they are to flower. Dahlias and Begonias should also be started into growth now in a frost-free place.
- Prune your bush Roses now before any new season leaves start to unfurl, remove any dead wood and cut to an outward facing bud. Top dress with manure and Rose feed for strong healthy growth and maximum flowers.
- Depending on soil conditions, prepare new lawn areas for sowing in April. Once cultivated, make sure the area is firmed and level ready for sowing.
- For instant results you can lay new turf, leaving it undisturbed for a few weeks to allow the new roots to establish.
- Straighten lawn edges with a half-moon lawn edging iron.
- Later in the month apply a spring/summer https://www.dobbies.com/gardening/lawncare lawn feed high in nitrogen.
- If mild enough, and the lawn is showing signs of growth, give it the first light cut of the season, keeping blades on their highest setting.
Fruit & vegetable garden
- Plant soft fruit now, such as Raspberries, Blackcurrants and Blueberries. All will establish well if planted in well prepared beds or pots.
- Mulch and feed existing rows of Raspberry canes and fruit bushes with manure.
- Plant Rhubarb, remembering to allow enough room for them to develop to their full size. Add a thick layer of manure around your new plant to help retain moisture and keep weeds at bay.
- Protect blossom of Apricots, Peaches and Nectarines from any late frosts.
- If you haven’t done so already, prepare vegetable beds for spring planting by removing weeds and forking plenty of manure. These will also help to keep the soil drier, for easier seed sowing.
- As weather and soil conditions allow, plant shallots, onions, and early potatoes. At Dobbies, you can choose from an extensive range of varieties, including up to 40 varieties of Scottish grown seed potatoes.
- If space allows, consider planting an Asparagus bed. One of the most prized of all vegetables, once established they reward you with a spring bounty of delicious spears for many years to come.
- Keep an eye out for slugs and protect your plants with safer slug killer that contains ferric phosphate or Slug Gone deterrent that is made from wool.
In the greenhouse
- Continue to prick out and pot on seedlings and cuttings.
- Pot up and grow on young plants of your chosen summer bedding plants ready to plant out when all risk of frost has finished. Growing from the young plug plant stage is an economical way to raise good numbers of plants, and is ideal for those who didn’t get have time to sow seed earlier in the season.
- Sow tender annuals in a heated propagator.
Find out more at www.dobbies.com
Don’t forget our inspiring 5-page spring gardens special feature in this week’s My Weekly! Pick up a copy or subscribe here.
For seasonal gardening advice and trend insights, tune into the Dobbies gardening podcast. Host, gardener and writer Louise Midgley, is joined by a series of special guests. Listen on Spotify and iTunes for happy gardening this spring.