In just a few days it’ll be March, a busy month on my drawing board and in the garden.
There does seem to be a lot of delayed gratification in gardening, but if you keep the programme rolling you’ll always have something to appreciate right in front of you. Snowdrops, primroses and hellebores are small pleasures to be enjoyed at the moment in my garden.
You’ll reap great benefit later in the year if you can get on with a little gardening over the next couple of weeks.
Here’s some timely advice for you to keep that programme rolling:
I’m going through my garden borders now:
- Clearing weeds and old leaves.
- Cutting down perennials like eryngiums, michaelmas daisies and deciduous grasses such as Calamagrostis Karl Foerster.
- Rampant self–seeders such as forget-me-nots are thinned out.
- Real favourite self-seeders like Verbena bonariensis and Calendula (english marigold) are only thinned out to be moved to another location. I make sure that I leave enough of these plants to weave their way through the borders to link everything together. This is a form of unity, a basic design principle that brings cohesion to your garden.
The shrubs make up the skeleton of the border, giving structure through the year. Many of my shrubs don’t need pruning, but I’m pruning these:
- Cotinus (smoke bush) because bigger leaves grow on pruned Cotinus. It means it’s unlikely to flower, but this only happens in hot summers and sadly that seems to be a rare occurance here.
- Cornus (dogwood) cut back to encourage the new brightly coloured stems to form.
- Salvia (sage) are trimmed back to make a good shape and encourage new soft foliage. Sage gets very scruffy and lax, so a good trim keeps it tight and shapely and the new leaves are fresh and soft.
Finally, a thick layer of compost made up of home-made compost and well-rotted spent mushroom compost, is spread between the plants.
Now the soil is good and ready for small plants and seeds to nestle into. All my permanent plants will have a good foundation when the weather warms up, and there’s more daylight, both key factors in the life of plants.
I aim to grow a lot more plants from seed this year. I’m noting when to plant in my diary. Click here for more tips about how to organise your seed-sowing and make life easy for yourself.
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Images: Jill Anderson