PULMONARIA ‘Opal’ (‘OCUPOL’)

PULMONARIA ‘Opal’

Lungwort

A good compact cultivar, clusters of wide open pale-blue flowers, above small dark green leaves that are variously blotched and spotted silver.

Good for shade and semi shade, front of border plant will flower from late February, March and into April.

You can also use in containers for early interest and the spotted foliage will provide ongoing interest until the next winter.

Likes rich fertile soil that does not dry out.

HT 30cm SP 45cm

March is well here now, and officially spring has started, its started very windy and wet, with storm force winds and then some frost at night, some of us have even had snow.

I see many plants starting to shoot, front of my house Roses are budding up and producing leaves, Geraniums are just starting to appear.

One early flowering group of plants  that will be coming into bud and flower now are the Pulmonarias.

There are quite a few different forms of Pulmonaria with varying degrees of silver spotting on leaves, some are almost completely silver or grey in colour.

So they are ideal subjects for a plant breeding project, plant a group of different varieties together, with different flower colours and foliage, from the seed collected you may get some interesting hybrids.

Of course you can actually make some crossings yourself, keeping notes and photos of your plant breeding.

Pulmonaria Opal is such a plant that was selected out and protected, the name OCUPOL is the protected name, it has a USA Plant Patent.

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.

When the UK leaves the European Union then for Plant Breeders Rights most likely we will need to protect plants in UK and also EU, I can prepare documentation for either territory and for the EU you will need a procedural representative, I have a contact in the Netherlands who can assist me with that, so I’m able to offer UK Plant Breeders and ongoing services for trials and Plant Protection in the UK and also the EU.

Its a good time to visit the first plant fairs of the season looking for new, unusual and interesting plants, can also find items that you can use for plant breeding.

They are also good for plants generally items that you will not find at the larger garden centre. 

MARCH GARDENING 

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

Well it looks like its come in like a lion, with strong winds most days although we have had some night frosts.

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.

Don’t prune spring flowering shrubs yet wait until flowering is finished other wise you will lose flowers.

Deciduous climbers will be budding up and starting into growth, so you can prune out dead stems and generally tidy up.

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.

You can still scarify where needed, good to get the moss and other debris out of the thatch of the lawn.

Herbicides can be applied to get control of perennial weeds.

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

Check, repair or replace pumps and filters.

Clean any waterfalls any gulley’s or streams.

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

Remove any leaves and other debris that has collected over the winter.

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.

Carry out repairs to fencing, paint and treat where needed.

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, as plants will be starting into growth and new things will be appearing every few days.

Good time to look at the garden furniture and clean where needed.

Get out the patio heaters and chimineas you might be able to sit out on some days, I know locally we have had a weekend where temperatures were above 20°c and in the evening you can light up the chiminea and dream of the longer days to come.

British Summer time starts on Sunday 31st 01.00AM. –  Hurray!

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