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Garden Diary March 2016

‘Time to sow, time to grow, time to plant …..here we are in one of the busiest times of the year again.
This very pleasant dry weather was so needed in the garden to dry up the wet soil and to prepare the first ridges for the first early potatoes and broad beans. Both were planted the day before St. Patricks day.

Pic1 Potatoes ready for planting
Pic1 Potatoes ready for planting
Pic2 Planting first early potatoes ‘Duke of York’, ‘Epicure’, ‘Sharps Express’, ‘Champion’
Pic2 Planting first early potatoes ‘Duke of York’, ‘Epicure’, ‘Sharps Express’, ‘Champion’
Pic3 Staked Broad bean ‘Bunyards Exhibition’
Pic3 Staked Broad bean ‘Bunyards Exhibition’

Also the onion sets, the shallots and the garlic were planted in readymade plots within the last few days.
The plots were rotovated and levelled off before planting started.
We were also held our fourth tree planting week on the second week in March. Once again all local schools and the crèche came over to plant mainly native trees like Sessile Oak or Silver Birch. This is always a great day out for the kids and they are really looking forward to check on the growth from last years planted trees. A small treat for everybody at the end of each session with homemade goodies in our restaurant rounds off the trip.

Pic4 Kids from Letterfrack National School  school planting a Horse chestnut
Pic4 Kids from Letterfrack National School school planting a Horse chestnut
Pic5 Mission completed – ‘The girls’ planting group from Lettergesh National School
Pic5 Mission completed – ‘The girls’ planting group from Lettergesh National School

The spring show started in the formal flower garden and the sun is just helping the buds to open fully up.
Different types of Daffodils like ‘Rip van Winkle’ or ‘Butter & Nuts’, both old Heritage varieties, are brightening up the Parterre at the moment. Also our Hyacinth ‘Ann Marie’ is showing its light pink flowering dress just in front of the Vinery. The Tulips are a bit slower this spring, but might be nearly ready to flower when Easter comes around. Forget-me-nots and Wallflowers are still holding back and will create a late spring display.

Pic6 Narcissus ‘Rip van Winkle’
Pic6 Narcissus ‘Rip van Winkle’
Pic7 Hyacinth ‘Ann Marie’
Pic7 Hyacinth ‘Ann Marie’
Pic8 Spring display in the Parterre
Pic8 Spring display in the Parterre

Many shrubs are starting to open up their leaf buds, a very exciting time I think. The buds and small leaves have their own distinctive look on each plant and show very interesting details like the Cercidiphyllum japonicum, known as the Katsura tree.

Pic9 Young leaves of the Katsura tree
Pic9 Young leaves of the Katsura tree

Our Bothy, a Scottish name for small cottage, is getting a new layer of paint within the next few days and a new set of lights to brighten up the quite dark interior.

Pic10 Inside our Bothy
Pic10 Inside our Bothy
Pic11 A happy swan family!
Pic11 A happy swan family!

Enjoy the great spring weather which is ideal for every gardener!
Your Head Gardener
Anja Gohlke

Things you can do in your garden in March

To Sow / Propagate:
~ Sow first early potatoes as soon as soil is warming up
~ Move vegetable seedlings of Lettuce, Radish and  Kale into cold frames to be hardened off
~ Continue sowing summer bedding plants and prick out when big enough
~ First sowing of green manure
~ Take cuttings of non-flowering shoots of Pelargonium or Fuchsia

To plant:
~ Plant Broad beans and stake well
~ Plant onions, shallots, garlic
~ Last chance to plant bare- rooted trees (Much cheaper than potted trees!)
~ Divide and transplant perennials in borders
~ Divide & replant chives (also great in borders and good for black flies on roses)

To maintain & prune & feed:
~ Service all garden machinery before first use
~ Sharpen edging shears regularly
~ Cut back Willow hard for later use as supports, baskets etc.; grade and store in cool place
~ Last chance to prune Gooseberries, could be trained like cordons or fans along wires
~ Feed all fruit trees and bushes with potash
~ Feed herbaceous borders with soil improver like chicken pellets and own rotted compost
~ Feed Spring Cabbages with Seaweed powder