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Garden Diary for March 2014

March is in full swing and so are our garden activities. Greenhouse work is top priority at the moment, which means sowing, potting, watering, watching for diseases and little unwanted creatures.

Pic1 A busy place
Pic1 A busy place

Speaking about creatures, we just successfully eliminated a small colony of mice. They got a taste for our spring bulbs which are now sitting half eaten in nice terracotta pots. Our two garden cats are getting old and are not up to big mice hunting anymore.

Anyway, the mice did not get all bulbs and our first Hyacinths are just opening up their pale pink flower heads. The variety ‘Ann Mary’ has this old fashioned delicate look and goes well with shades of dark blue for example.

Pic2 Hyacinth ‘Ann Mary’
Pic2 Hyacinth ‘Ann Mary’
Pic3 Blue Hyacinth
Pic3 Blue Hyacinth

The stunning Crocus vernus ‘King of Striped’, an old garden favourite, is in full bloom and bands of  amethyst-violet colour are running from north to south in the flower garden. This type of Crocus is not demanding and flowers every year without failure.

Pic4 Bands of Crocus vernus ‘King of Striped’
Pic4 Bands of Crocus vernus ‘King of Striped’
Pic5 Vibrant colours of Crocus
Pic5 Vibrant colours of Crocus

If the weather plays along we have to do a lot of tidying at the moment. Every bed is getting a cleaning job done; old leaves, broken branches and other debris is getting removed. Our first students just started their placement here with us and the extra help is welcomed at the moment.

Pic6 Maintaining a flower bed
Pic6 Maintaining a flower bed

One of our three Rhubarb plots is dug up and reduced in size. New timber edging will keep the outline tidy and makes it easier to maintain. The dug up Rhubarb is left on a plastic sheet for the moment and will be divided and replanted when the ridges are prepared.

Pic7 New Rhubarb plot
Pic7 New Rhubarb plot
Pic8 Waiting to be replanted
Pic8 Waiting to be replanted

It is also this time of year where you can harvest willow if you have a plantation. Ours is about 6 years old and supplies us every year with a good crop of strong willow. The willow is used for plant supports later on or for play structures like a willow tent which needs to be repaired after the winter storms.

Pic9 Willow plantation
Pic9 Willow plantation

It is not too late to plant bare-rooted shrubs or trees. Nurseries are still supplying these as long as the temperatures stay low enough. A newly planted hedge of Portuguese laurel, a nice evergreen shrub with reddish branches, will green up the area around the Head Gardeners House.

Pic10 New Portuguese laurel hedge
Pic10 New Portuguese laurel hedge

We just finished our National Tree Planting Week today. Three local schools came to us and planted tree saplings like Oak and Sycamore. It was a joy to have these enthusiastic kids planting trees and we had to stop a few arguments about who will have the next go on the spade!

Pic11 “Hands on!”
Pic11 “Hands on!”

Enjoy the first signs of spring!

 

Your Head Gardener

Anja Gohlke

 

Things you can do in your garden in March:

 

To Sow / Propagate:

~ Sow first potatoes around St. Patricks Day, Seaweed is a good fertilizer

~ Harden off first vegetables like Broad beans, Lettuce or Kale in cold frames

~ Pot on seedlings into potting compost  when big enough

~ First sowing of green manure into prepard plots  like Phacelia or Mustard

~ Take cuttings Pelargonium, Fuchsia

 

To plant:

~ Last chance to plant bare- rooted shrubs, roses and trees

~ Plant advanced Broad beans and stake them well

~ Plant or transplant perennials in borders

~ Divide & replant chives (also great in borders and good for black flies on roses)

 

To maintain & prune & feed:

~ Prune Hydrangea, not too severe to ensure they will flower this year

~ Last chance to prune Gooseberries

~ Feed all fruit trees and bushes with potash

~ Feed flower borders with chicken pellets

~ Feed Spring Cabbages with Seaweed powder

~ Cut back Willow for later use