Now’s the time to finish off any of that spring pruning that you maybe haven’t got around to… Buddleia, Cornus and Hydrangeas for example. March is also a great time to look at your evergreen shrubs – the sap is rising and the buds are swelling – this means the plant can recover very quickly from any reshaping that you do to your evergreens. Remember the younger and healthier the shrub is, the more likely it is to respond well to a hard prune.
Plant your onion sets, start direct sowing your spring onions and get your first early potatoes in at the end of March. I grow our onions through black fabric with a handful of Growmore in the soil as the fabric keeps the roots cool and moist, and you don’t constantly disturb the sets with a hoe or weeding between them.
Put an area of fine compost around your favourite hellebores. When the seeds ripen, the seeds are dispersed around the plant. With a fine compost around them, the seeds germinate very easily and you can then use the young plants around your garden. We have a collection of beautiful dark hellebores in our Rose Garden at Parham and the seedlings from those plants are always stunning.
Spring is a great time to replant areas of your garden. By planting shrubs, trees and perennials now, they have the whole season to establish before the winter arrives making them really robust for the cold and wet weather.
Watch out for pests like pigeons, mice and rabbits – young plants are a very tasty treat for these animals. Put barriers up and if possible only plant out more mature plants to prevent the damage being too severe. If plants are particularly tasty for these pests, I offer them a bit of protection with some chicken wire until they are strong enough to cope with a little nibble!