March is one of the busiest months for the gardener. Let’s get this party started!!
Lime if you haven’t already and while you’re liming that lawn sprinkle a bit under your clematis if you have acidic soil…which most of us do (about ¼ cup under the dripline of an average size clematis) and a cup or so under the dripline of a medium sized apple tree .
Remember not to tromp on soggy ground, you will compact your soil and only end up making more work for yourself. Aerate if you need to, if your ground is compacted or full of thatch - once the ground has dried up a bit.
For those who have great drainage, like most of Brookswood, you can do it in between rain showers.
For those of us who don’t have great drainage you may have to wait a full day or more with no rain…that day should come sometime in August (kidding, I hope). If you have a patchy lawn or wish to rejuvenate your lawn you can topdress and overseed towards the end of the month and into April.
Trees and Shrubs:
You can tidy up and finish off any pruning so long as the plant is dormant. If you have Birch trees and Maple trees it’s too late. You can instead do some very light summer pruning at the end of July, beginning of August.
You can still move many trees and shrubs at this time if you need to. You can cut some plum branches or forsythia or even flowering cherry to put in a vase to have some lovely blooms inside. It will take a few days but the warmth of the house will cause the blossoms to open up.
It’s a lovely time to plant…for trees and shrubs. They’ll have a better chance at getting established before the heat. If you’re looking for fruit trees, they are usually in bareroot at this time of year. You can fertilize your evergreens towards mid-month.
Continue to weed and tidy the garden beds. Watch for overwintering ladybugs and mason bees. Do not overwork the soil at this time! Working in waterlogged soil will cause compaction, destroying the light fertile crumb structure you have worked so hard to build.
You can add a topdressing of manures or compost, about 2 inches deep, less around smaller plants and never more than 3 to 4 inches around trees and shrubs. You can still move and divide many perennials at this time and tweak any areas that need it.
Veggie beds and Seeds:
Sow your early outdoor seeds such as sweet peas if you haven’t done so already and continue to start seeds indoors according to the packages. Do your research. Some seeds prefer to be started outdoors in place and some can easily be transplanted. Tidy and get ready in the veggie patch when it is dry.
Pots and Containers:
Check for winter damage. Check drainage, topdress pots with perennials, trees and shrubs and change the soil to prepare for you annuals. Primulas are in and can brighten up your pots. Do some research now to design you annual pots or hanging baskets if you are making them yourself. Thumb through all of your old garden magazines for interesting plant combinations. Try something new!! Primulas are in if you need to brighten up that pot during this in-between container season.
Enjoy your spring bulbs. Remember, don’t cut or tie the leaves when the bloom is over. Those leaves are building up energy for next years bloom. Now is the time to get the best selection for summer flowering bulbs. Dahlia’s are in as are some of the amazing packs of Trillium, hosta and my fave Bletilla striata.
Remember be kind to yourself and your garden and don’t forget to make yourself a big mug of tea…or coffee and just sit and observe.
The mason bees (also in-stock now) and some of our other great pollinators are starting to wake up and they are very cool to watch.