YY Gardening

In the Garden with Bob Davison
March Gardening with Bob Davison
Welcome back

I’ve just spent two weeks gardening in County Cork, preparing and planting up a coastal garden for a client. The weather, whilst occasionally wet and squally was mostly kind, although when the wind does get up you really experience why any coastal planting needs to be able to tolerate a strong wind.

We were fortunate to have some established  Scots Pines within the garden, to design around and draw influence from. Whilst inland specimens would get fairly tall, these had been buffeted and stunted by the coastal conditions. What this treatment had left were three giant, bonsai looking pines; twisted red stems with  a low spread  of layered branches containing the lovely green needles. Climbing up into the canopy and cutting out the dead wood was more satisfying a job than I can remember and left them looking worthy of a Japanese temple garden.

With a wind-burned face and exhaustion from days hauling things up and down slopes, I left my newly planted trees and shrubs to establish themselves with the help of a network of drip hose and a good covering of bark mulch.

So back home now there is much to get on with:

Borders
Bob Davison March

Dividing Perennials

Divide and move around herbaceous plants such as Alchemillas and Hostas. Whilst the garden centres are eyeing up your wallets this time of year, think of the source of new planting stock which is free- the plants you already have in the garden.

Weeds are coming up earlier than everything else as annoyingly. One that really makes me curse is the Hairy bitter cress (pictured) . Has it ever truly stopped growing ? It flowers, sets seed and flings them everywhere within the space of a couple of days. Although it’s not a deep rooted one and can be pulled out easily we find it almost impossible to keep on top of.  It’s really important you run a hoe around on dry days to keep these marauding irritants at bay.

 

Hairy Bitter Cress at large

 

Spring Pruning

-Prune back hard your late summer flowering Clematis, such as ‘viticella’. This rule extends to many plants and shrubs that will flower on this seasons growth such as Buddleia, Spirea japonica, Lavatera, amongst others.When carrying out pruning it is good practise to apply a general fertilizer around the base of the plant. A good mulch with compost or leaf mould will also greatly benefit the plant over the coming months.
– Mophead Hydrangeas can have their flower stems taken off now. Take them down about 30 cm to a pair of healthy green buds.
-Finish off any rose pruning this month and mulch, keeping this away from the stems.

 Veg Garden

-In the Veg garden we’ll be planting out onion sets and garlic (our choice are ‘Stuttgarter’ and ‘Red Baron’). Sow broad beans ; last year our second crop was planted too close to the first and we had a bad attack of rust which then spread rapidly to all the plants.
–  Start tomato and cucumber seeds under in a greenhouse or windowsill. Sow leeks now, either outdoors or under glass so that they will be ready to transplant to final positions .Those sown under glass will be ready to transplant in April.
– Direct sowing (straight into the ground) of vegetables is done in April on our plot but those with cloches (low glass structures that are able to raise the temperature beneath), could sow carrots and salads crops. During March and April it really is a matter of judging the weather conditions and soil temperature and making a decision .

Lawn

March is the start of the lawn programme. On a mild day this month we will give the grass its first cut. This will be a high cut just to take the top tips off and to collect debris that has made the lawns look untidy. Cold temperatures over winter may have lifted the soil in places so if you have a roller the lawn will benefit from a light rolling.

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