What to do in your garden in March

Welcome to what will be a regular update of things to do in your garden. 

It will not necessarily be a bucket list of ideas as these can be found elsewhere on the web for keen gardeners; instead I’ll pick a few key actions that I’d expect need doing in some of the gardens which I’ve designed for people who want to enjoy their garden but not necessarily spend too much time working in them. So if you want specific advice about vegetable crops, annual flowers, or growing alpines then you’ll have to let me know your question and I might add that into a later post.

March is one of my favourite months, probably because the last Sunday of the month is when the clocks change and evenings get lighter (allowing time in the garden after work)!

So with summer just around the corner now is also the time to make sure that your winter garden looks its best at the end of the year. One of the most effective types of plant in the winter garden are those with coloured stems, which look great once the leaves have fallen – Cornus  or Salix  in particular. However the best coloured stems are young – those that grew in the last year or two. You therefore need to coppice out the older stems which have started to lose their sheen – which sounds complicated but just involves cutting the old stems an inch above the ground (at a slight angle so water flows off of the cut surface).

With eyes to a slightly closer visual treat, in terms of summer flowering, now is also the time to cut back your bush roses, and climbing roses. There are two schools of thought – one involves carefully cutting back each stem to a requisite number of buds (usually 3 – 5 in my experience), and (for bush roses) cutting out any old woody stems to just above ground level. The other is to take a set of very sharp hedge cutters and cut the rose back to a few feet below where you want it to grow to this year (for bush roses I tend to cut back to about a foot from the ground).

Other than that March is your last chance to plant any new bare root hedging and the best time to get new trees planted (especially if they are also bare rooted), as a March planting means that the roots can get growing before the leaves start to appear meaning the tree can find more of its own water and so you will need to water it less in the coming year (notice though that I said less watering and not no watering – all newly planted trees need some help while they rooting system develops).

I hope you have a great month and that the weather is with you.