HELICHRYSUM ‘Ruby Cluster’

March is well here now, and officially spring has started, but last week you would not have guessed with heavy snowfall and temperatures below freezing during the day.

But that has gone now and today the temperature is 9°c and raining!

I see many plants starting to grow, Delphiniums, Primula, Lonicera is coming into bud, and Crocus still in flower seems unaffected by the cold weather and snow.

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One early flowering plant that will be coming into bud and flowering towards the end of the month is Helichrysum Ruby Cluster, grey foliage woody stemmed plant with dark red flowers, its is a plant that likes free draining soil the plant is quite hardy but dislikes winter wet.

This Helichrysum is available in other varieties and colours, Pink Sapphire, Amber Cluster, Emberglow, they are all from UK Plant Breeder – Chris Bowyer based in the North midlands.

So it if you have a plant breeding project underway and are looking for advice, assistance in developing your new plant commercially then I can be of service, more information is available on my website.

MARCH GARDENING

Will March be full of spring cheer of will winter return for another bite!!

Finish clearing the last of leaves and winter debris.

Still time to finish cutting back and trimming grasses.

If you have overwinter Fuchsia, prune back to one or two buds on each shoot.

Pruning early flowering Clematis once their flowers have finished and summer flowering Clematis before growth starts.

Prune bush and climbing roses, add some fertilizer to base, look for specialist rose fertilizer.

Plant new roses either bare-root or container, do not though plant where you have had roses before.

Trips to your local retail nursery or garden centre will find many plants starting to arrive for planting, still too early for spring bedding though, don’t be tempted to plant outside yet!

You can sow and plant hardy annuals.

Good time to plant snowdrops in the green brighten up garden next year.

You can start planning the new beds you prepared last month.

Time to revitalise established plants in containers, remove top 5cm of compost and replace with new add some all season slow release fertiliser.

Containers will need regular watering now.

If you have Dahlia tubers you can start them now,  place in pots or trays and cover only the tubers with compost, water, keep frost free, you can take cuttings from the new shoots if you need more plants.

Spring flowered bedding you can give regular feeding now, this will help to produce a good display during the season,

For a good display of spring bulbs next year you can remove spent flowers and seed heads, leave leaves for now.

Keep an eye now for slugs and snails use your usual method.

Lift and divide and perennials that you want to revitalise, move or create more plants.

You can take basal cuttings of perennials that are showing new growth.

Seed sowing is well underway now, look for some new varieties to try.

Cut back Cornus (dogwood) and Salix (willow) grown for coloured stems in winter.

Where possible start regular hoeing of weed seedling as you see them it will help later in the season to keep on top of them now.

Now is a good time to lay new turf, work from planks, do not walk over it for several weeks, you will need to water it during dry periods, first cut should be on the highest setting.

Established lawns can be cut now if needed and weather allows, don’t mow if frosty or if frost is forecast. The first cut of the season should be light, keep blades 1cm above usual height.

Good time to get blades sharpened and mower serviced if you did not get it done last month.

Later in the month you can apply a spring fertilizer that is high in nitrogen this will help the lawn recover from winter.

Any bare patches, fork over and loosen soil then apply some fresh grass seed, keep watered, may have to protect from birds.

Neaten edges with a turf iron, it  will make lawn borders look a lot better. Work from a board if it’s wet.

For ponds you can start feeding fish now, give a little but often.

Check, repair or replace pumps and filters.

Tidy up plants in bog garden add new plants if required.

In the veg garden you can start chitting early potatoes for planting later in month, plant shallots, onions and garlic.

Dig in some green manure or compost to improve soil.

Prepare seed beds for planting and you can start sowing , carrots, radishes and lettuce under cloches for early crops.

Continue to plant fruit trees and raspberry canes, autumn fruiting canes should be cut back to ground to encourage new canes to develop. Summer fruiting cut back to top of supports to a bud.

In the greenhouse you can start sowing winter greens.

Sow tomatoes in a heated greenhouse.

Start sowing bedding plants ready planting after the last frost.

Repot house plants and orchids before they start active growth.

Carry out repairs to pathways.

Clean algae and slime from patio and fences several products are available that will assist with this, just ensure that it is safe for plants and pets.

When planting in garden consider using a mycorrhizal fungi product like Rootgrow™ it helps with plant establishing.

Take time to walk round garden each day.

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