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March in the Garden

02/04/2014

If your beds and borders lacked flower power last year, then put that right by planting new herbaceous perennials now. The sooner you get it done the better, so they're established before they come into full growth.

Perennials are difficult to beat for their colour, form and interest and there are so many to choose from you can guarantee colour all year round.

Divide clumps of herbaceous perennials that you want to propagate those that have become too large for their allotted space, and those that are flowering poorly or have lost their shape.

Deadhead daffodils and other bulbs as the flowers start to fade. It may also be tempting to remove the foliage or tie it into neat knots, but don't. The bulbs need the leaves to feed them so they produce another wonderful display next year. Instead of removing the foliage, give the plants a feed. Liquid fertilisers are the best choice as they act quickly.

You can sow sweet peas if you didn't do it in the autumn. For best results, sow the seeds singly in sweet pea tubes to allow maximum root development then place in a cold frame, cold greenhouse or on the garage or shed windowsill to germinate.

Buy your bedding and patio plug plants and seedlings now for growing on - and produce your biggest and best summer bedding displays ever. By starting now, and potting them up into suitable-sized pots of good compost, you'll have well established plants ready to plant out at the end of spring/early summer, that will burst into colour.

Most bedding annuals can be sown this month. But resist sowing too early if you can't provide the warmth to grow the plants on properly.

Sowing too soon in the wrong conditions can lead to straggly, unhealthy plants that never perform well in the garden. Leaving sowing until the conditions are better usually results in far better plants and these soon catch up and out-perform those sown too early.

Slugs and snails are our number one garden pest, munching away on seedlings, young plants and the fresh young growth of a wide range of plants. Luckily, there are lots of ways of stopping them in their tracks and now's the time to use your favourite control methods to protect susceptible plants from attack.

Happy Easter!


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