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Peter’s Gardening tips for March 2019

We enjoyed record-breaking temperatures during the last week of February reaching up to 20ºC in some areas which has encouraged the garden to start growing again.

Snowdrops are almost finished, daffodils are popping up and showing colour, primroses are beginning to bloom and quite a few Queen bumblebees have been spotted along with the odd butterfly on a warm day. Birds are pairing up looking for nesting sites and the start of the dawn chorus has begun! The month of March is ‘fickle’ and the coming weeks are always unpredictable in terms of temperatures.   This time last year the Beast from the East had just left us, causing havoc for gardens.

Queen Bumble Bee

Jobs to do and some I have been tackling:

  • Walk the garden with pen and paper, record and photograph where possible what has been happening after the Winter months, this may help if you want to split snowdrops etc and re-site.
  • Check damage to shed roof, trellis, loose climbers with broken stems, moss control in the lawn, algae on the path
  • Check the state of your lawn. If ready, you can make the first cut with the blades set high.
  • Prune roses, apples, pears and wisteria.
  • Herbaceous plants can be dug up and split.
  • Plant roses, fruit trees and bushes.
  • Rake up twigs, leaves and detritus.
  • Clean bird baths and feeding stations.
  • Put up or clean out nest boxes for the birds.
  • Tickle over borders with a border fork – Rootle or Firkle!
  • Mulch herbaceous plants and roses.
  • Set about weeding – they pull out of the ground very easily when the ground is wet and after frost in the ground.
  • Start sowing indoors – tomatoes, peas, broad beans, sweet peas, peppers, aubergines, some will need a heated propagator or a minimum temperature of 16 – 21ºC to germinate – check packets for timing of seed sowing and temps, some require constant night and day heat.
  • Buy your seed potatoes, shallots, onion sets and seeds.
  • Check all machinery, book a service and sharpening and a good old clean up, wire brush and oily rag.

Seed sowing time

I know the weather is a bit up and down at the moment and a lot of gardeners want to get on with seed sowing and ground preparation. Seeds won’t germinate in the cold wet soil, so be patient.

Enjoy the big outdoors whatever the weather and armchair gardening too.

RHS Spring Plant Fairs at RHS Gardens near you this month. Go to RHS website for details.

Happy Gardening!

 

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Peter Mills

I love everything to do with natural history, wildlife, biodiversity and of course horticulture - basically the big outdoors. I grew up with very good teachers namely my parents and my French grandfather who was a superb grower of vegetables. At Hadlow College I studied a three year OND in Horticulture. I had a market stall selling plants. Went onto wholesaling house plants to florists and garden centres across southern England. In 1986 I joined Clandon Park Garden Centre as manager. Whilst there I started my career as a gardening radio presenter with the BBC Southern Counties Radio. This continued for 15 years, building up valuable contacts with the RHS Wisley, live broadcasts from Chelsea & Hampton Court Flower shows, South of England & Surrey County shows etc. Since 1998 I have been self-employed, working as a Head Gardener and in private gardens . Through the RHS Advisory Department at Wisley I advise on horticultural problems in members gardens, including pest & disease problems, lawn-care advice, pruning of wisterias, fruit trees, roses, wildlife gardening, growing fruit & vegetables, creating wildflower meadows, identifying plants and control of pernicious weeds. I am an extremely lucky guy who loves what I do and the trade called Horticulture!

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