Gardening Tips from ‘The English Lady’ for March, a Month of ‘Wait and See’

Gardening Ideas from ‘The English Woman’ for March, a Month of ‘Wait and See’

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Spring is the time to plan for summer season gardens.

These March winds shall blow and we will have snow and what’s going to the Robin do then poor factor?
He’ll conceal within the barn and preserve himself heat and conceal his head beneath his wing.

Maureen Haseley-Jones is “The English Woman.”

March is a month of ‘wait and see’ as we anticipate strolling round our gardens. This morning I walked exterior, right into a westerly breeze and a pleasantly heat solar. I took a deep breath and as I did, I caught the wealthy perfume of the soil starting to awaken.

All of us are itching to get into the garden and I imagine that foray shall be sooner than final 12 months as a consequence of the truth that frost didn’t penetrate deep into the bottom this previous winter.

The sodden soil will dry out within the subsequent few weeks however I urge you to tread gently as you have a tendency the soil, our treasured commodity of Mom Nature. In that regard I’m asking that you don’t until the soil as tilling damages soil construction and might break friable root techniques.

I’m asking you to be affected person proper now particularly within the aftermath of so many lengthy months of the pandemic. I do know you’re chafing on the bit to get your palms into the soil, nevertheless, within the meantime, I counsel you proceed planning for the upcoming season. Planning means organizing, which prevents gardening errors that may happen if you don’t plan.

Spring can also be a time to consider bushes.

Whenever you go open air, I counsel you test the bushes in your garden to resolve what may want pruning, which limbs have to be eliminated or the cover lifted to permit extra sunshine into the garden. It’s inexpensive and takes much less time for arborists to do the tree work earlier than the foliage seems when the branches and the general form of the bushes may be seen extra clearly.

What to search for:

  • Are there damaged or useless limbs?
  • What branches require cabling?
  • If a tree seems to be 50% useless, then it needs to be eliminated.
  • A medium shade space may be modified to a dappled shade space, permitting extra daylight in by scaling down the higher tree branches or tree cover.

Maybe you desire to a tree eliminated to remodel a shade space to a sunny spot which permits for a bigger alternative of vegetation obtainable to you.

I at all times hesitate to take away a wholesome tree however generally a tree could have been planted too near the home and consequently the roots have undermined your private home’s basis and the shading over the roof has resulted in mildew and mildew. If you happen to want any of the above work to be completed, please contact a licensed arborist.

There’s an artwork to tree work understanding how, when and why to chop. Work on the bushes ought to to be carried out by an expert in order that on the completion of the work, the impact is each sensible and aesthetically pleasing. An skilled arborist may even consider the well being of the bushes. Having the work completed by an arborist additionally avoids harm to your self from falling from ladders or maybe tree branches or bushes falling on you.

Spring is a time to prune.

PRUNING – duties you can accomplish now.

March is the month to prune evergreens earlier than the brand new progress seems.

Hedges may be sheared for form, in order that any stubby ends shall be hid by new spring progress.  Please preserve to the pure form of the shrub – no spherical balls.

Prune Spirea to 6 inches from the bottom.

In April, prune Lavender to 3 inches.

In late March, prune Candy Pepper Bush (Clethra), reducing out the oldest branches.

Lilac – Prune again all previous branches to varied lengths earlier than leaf progress begins, from two to 5 ft, retaining a pure form. Sprinkle lime across the base of the Lilac and add manure in Might.  Lilacs get pleasure from alkaline soil receiving profit from lime.

Prune Butterfly bushes to 2 ft from the bottom and in Might apply composted manure across the base.

Prune Forsythia after it has bloomed, pruning out sparse flowering previous wooden.

Prune roses when the forsythia blooms.  If the roses have solely been within the floor for one 12 months, don’t prune, wait till October.

Don’t take away the protecting mulch from across the base of the roses, wait till mid Might, after which apply a dressing of manure and fantastic bark mulch.

It’s possible you’ll be asking, ‘Why wait till Might to use manure’ The reply is that the soil must heat as much as 55 levels in any other case the nutrient advantages of the manure micro organism that works with plant roots and soil organisms usually are not activated. I counsel you put money into a cheap soil thermometer to test the soil temperature. At soil temperature of 55 levels, apply a 3 to four- inch layer of composted manure.

When April arrives, fastidiously start to clear away winter particles, treading fastidiously on the soil to keep away from damaging soil construction and friable root techniques. When you have got cleared away the particles, make a clear edge to the borders with a pointy spade; this makes such a distinction to the look of your garden.

One of the best software to make use of is a sharpened garden edger, the blade is a half circle 9 inches vast and 4.5 inches deep with a flat high – this software creates a deep edge. Face the mattress and thrust the edger right down to its full depth and push the minimize soil into the mattress. Proceed alongside after which take away the spade and surplus clumps of soil and grass.

Edging was one of many first classes I used to be taught at our household nursery in England; my great-grandfather was a strict taskmaster standing over me for fairly a couple of days till I received the edging appropriate.

In case you are considering the situation of a brand new planting mattress or increasing an present one, listed below are some tips:

  • Assume when it comes to the place you spend your leisure time open air, and the place you may sit in shut proximity to the brand new mattress with a view to benefit from the bloom, perfume and construction of your plantings.
  • From indoors can you view and revel in the brand new border?
  • Is it an space the place there is not going to be drainage issues, erosion considerations or water pooling?
  • Is it handy to have a tendency and revel in the place you may place a bench or chair?
  • Will you be capable to water it with relative ease?

For a casual garden I want a curved mattress – a curved line offers grace and fluidity. I lay out a garden hose within the desired form and measurement of mattress, alter the hose till you’re happy with the mild curves.

As beforehand talked about, one of the best software to make use of to edge or minimize out a brand new mattress is a sharpened garden edger, this software creates a deep edge.


Don’t apply manure till the soil temperature has reached 55 levels which is normally in Might, however with a soil thermometer you may test earlier. Lots of you who’ve been my radio listeners and lecture audiences know the way I really feel about that fantastic pure product. Manure just isn’t a fertilizer – it builds soil construction, aids in drainage and its micro organism encourages the tens of millions of soil animals beneath the floor to come back alive and work with the manure micro organism to provide vitamins for the roots of the vegetation.

Kinds of manure:

  • Poultry manure – I do know the odor may be relatively objectionable, nevertheless, this manure incorporates about 2% nitrogen, one of many highest ranges in any manure. In case you have entry to poultry manure, enable it to age for 2 months after which add it to the garden.
  • Horse manure is about .5% nitrogen. If you happen to get hold of horse manure from a steady, which has sawdust on its floors – it needs to be fairly weed free. What I’ve completed previously is get hold of horse and cow manure from stables and farms in April.  Whenever you get it dwelling, unfold manure out in a flat space (not in a planting mattress) then cowl it with a tarp for a month.  With this methodology, the tarp will suffocate the weed seeds and the solar on the tarp encourage the manures to proceed to decompose. Per week earlier than utilizing horse and cow manure take away the tarp to permit the solar to additional decompose it.
  • Cow manure is 0.25 % nitrogen and is probably the most obtainable manure.  If you happen to get horse and cow manure from the farm, ask the farmer to present you manure from the underside of the pile in order that it’s already partially decomposed.
  • Compost pile – If you happen to wouldn’t have a compost pile, possibly it might go in your listing for this season. Vegetable waste from the kitchen plus grass clippings, and wooden pruning may be added to the pile. The excessive temperature within the compost kills the weed seed and cooks all these different needed components.  The ratio of compost and manure on your garden is 1 half compost to three elements manure – however in case you wouldn’t have compost – manure will do the trick.

**DO NOT apply contemporary manure to the garden, as it’ll burn the vegetation.  If you happen to wouldn’t have a supply of manures from a farm, buy composted manure in baggage from the garden middle.

To provide the best-planting atmosphere, leading to a soil that’s ‘black gold’ apply 3 inches of composted manure to all planted areas in Might, July and October.

Pure fantastic bark Mulch may be added later in Might. Don’t use buckwheat mulch because it flies in every single place. Don’t, I repeat don’t use cocoa mulch, which is toxic to canine and cats and please don’t use the chemically coloured purple mulch.  The advantages of pure fantastic bark mulch are that mulch helps to retain the useful moisture within the soil and aids to retard weeds as does Bradfield organics, a corn gluten weed pre- emergent.


I do know I’ve written in regards to the significance of the Humus part for the soil however I really feel I need to proceed to emphasize this reality.

In 1937 Franklin D Roosevelt informed us ‘that the nation that destroys its soil destroys itself.’

Sadly, America has not heeded that warning. Treasured soils on this nation and around the globe are being destroyed by harmful practices utilized in industrialized agriculture in addition to toxic chemical compounds, which fully disrupts our eco system and poisons all dwelling issues.

In your personal garden you may construct and retain a wealthy rising atmosphere by constructing the Humus part -We’re all carbon-based creatures as is all life on earth. Not solely people but in addition our soil microbes want carbon to flourish. To draw carbon from the ambiance into your soil it is advisable construct the humus part.


Don’t until soil – tilling breaks up soil construction.

Step 1 – Add composted manure thrice – in spring when the soil has reached a temperature of 55 levels.  If the soil has not reached that temperature, the soil organisms usually are not in a position to work with the micro organism within the manure to provide vitamins for the roots of the vegetation.

This 12 months, as now we have not skilled deep frost due to this fact, the soil temperature could attain 55 levels by the top of April or early Might.  Add the manure once more in July to proceed to nourish your rising vegetation and once more in October to guard and nourish your vegetation and roots via winter.    Manure just isn’t a fertilizer; it builds soil construction and works with all of the soil animals to maintain a wholesome disease- free rising atmosphere.

Step 2 – Add wooden chips within the type of brown fantastic bark mulch or wooden chips that you simply produce out of your garden;  these are aged wooden chips mixed with leaves, twigs and branches.

These two main steps construct the humus part. If you happen to do that in your personal garden – not solely will you be  serving to to heal the planet but in addition produce the healthiest of gardens.

A query I’m usually requested is ‘Can I put manure over mulch for instance in my July garden’? The reply is ‘Sure’ – the manure along with nature’s moisture and your personal irrigation permits the manure to search out its means simply into the soil and the roots of your vegetation.


Humus acts like a sponge and might maintain 90% of its weight in water.

Due to its adverse cost – plant vitamins persist with humus for nitrogen, calcium, phosphorus and minerals, which prevents these from washing away and acts as nature’s sluggish launch fertilizer all year long.

Humus improves soil construction making it unfastened and friable, which helps vegetation to root on this soil to get higher entry to vitamins, water and oxygen.

Humus additionally helps ‘filter’ poisonous chemical compounds from the soil, mulch like carbon-based water filtration techniques filter toxins out of your water.

We aren’t in a position to management industrialized agricultural practices – however in your personal garden you can also make a distinction.   Feed the soil and it’ll feed the vegetation.

As soon as once more, I’m getting a bit forward of myself. So again to a cloudy day on the finish of March, right now you may step by step start to take away protecting protecting from shrubs and small bushes. In uncovered garden areas, the place wind is an issue, go away the protecting on till mid April. Chilly wind is extra damaging and drying to vegetation than excessive chilly and frost.

FROST HEAVE: If some perennials, bushes and shrubs have heaved out of the bottom, cowl the roots with contemporary topsoil or mulch till mid Might when they are often settled again in place.

I simply walked across the nook of my home to test on my trellis on the chimney the place I’ve Roses and Clematis planted collectively. Roses and Clematis are a pleasant mixture in a companion planting. A companion  planting signifies that the rose and the clematis planted collectively have the identical rising wants, ‘ft within the shade and heads within the solar’. Every month starting in Might, add manure and mulch across the base of each. Discontinue feeding roses and clematis in mid August; this allows each vegetation to enter a needed sluggish dormancy.

MOLES: To maintain the mole inhabitants at a minimal in your garden; apply natural grub management as soon as a month from March for 2 months; much less grubs, much less meals for the moles. Whenever you see indicators of moles, discover the mole holes and insert Exlax which incorporates Senna, an natural herb. The moles eat the exlax, develop into dehydrated from defecation and die.  Apply natural pre-emergent crabgrass killers in March and April.

VOLES: Unfold castor oil across the base of vegetation and preserve mulch away from the bottom of the vegetation in order that voles, that are canny little creatures usually are not in a position to conceal there and gnaw on vegetation and roots.

DEADHEADING: Don’t minimize off the leaves of the crocus as they bloom; the leaves make meals for the bulbs for subsequent season’s bloom.

Spring has sprung!

DAFFODILS: When the inexperienced shoots emerge; unfold composted manure across the vegetation.

DAFFODILS FOR DISPLAY INDOORS: The stems launch a sap like “goop” that harms different flowers.  Earlier than including Daffodils to an association, minimize the stems at an angle, and go away them in a vase half crammed with lukewarm water for a few hours.  Discard that water and add the Daffodils to the opposite flowers.  If you happen to recut the stems you have to to repeat the method. Change the water within the vase usually.

PERENNIALS: In Might when perennials are about 4 inches above soil stage and when the soil is 55 levels, apply composted manure round them to additional encourage wholesome progress.

DIVIDING PLANTS: On the finish of April or starting of Might, you may divide late blooming perennials which were within the floor for 4 years or extra; these divisions encourage stronger bloom.

Discard the older, internal elements of the clumps and plant the brand new exterior parts.  Don’t plant the brand new divisions any deeper than they have been initially within the floor.

When dividing Irises  – barely cowl the basis system so they don’t fall over – if Irises are planted too deep they won’t bloom.

PANSIES: decide the flowers often to encourage extra bloom.

March is the time to plant the next seeds indoors: gaillardia, salvia, marigold, zinnia, petunia, snapdragon, inventory and verbena. Earlier than planting these seeds, soak seeds in heat water and plant them in sphagnum moss or coir. Coir is the outer shell or fiber of the Coconut, both of those two mediums prevents a illness known as “damping off”, which may trigger seeds to rot earlier than germination.

Cowl pots and seed trays with plastic wrap, to create a mini-greenhouse, which gives moisture which seeds have to germinate.

Observe: Take away the plastic as soon as the seeds have germinated, because the soil wants to empty and desires air circulation across the rising stems.

In case you are going away on enterprise, or on trip reapply the plastic wrap

over the pots and trays and prop some sticks or skewers within the corners. While you’re away the seedlings will keep moist, be sure that the seedlings don’t are available contact with the plastic.

START tuberous begonias, and caladiums indoors.

DORMANT SPRING SPRAYING of fruit bushes, flowering cherry, crabapple, hawthorn, mountain ash and lilac may be completed earlier than the leaf buds open.

Name in an expert firm and request that they use solely natural merchandise.

Houseplants – repot them in the event that they want repotting in April.

Geraniums are at all times a pleasure via the summer season months. Photograph by Annie Spratt on Unsplash.

GERANIUMS: The vegetation that you simply introduced indoors on the finish of final season test them for brand new facet shoots seem, then minimize them again to 4 inches and repot them in clear pots about and inch and a half bigger with contemporary potting soil.

Nicely, fellow gardeners I do know you’re getting excited to be in your gardens this season and I hope that these tips have given you lots to consider to maintain you busy for some time. Get pleasure from photograph of beautiful gardens that my son Ian and I’ve designed on Fb and if you want I counsel you contact Ian for a session and benefit from the images on his web site

Get pleasure from being open air in spring sunshine and I sit up for seeing you in your garden in April.

In regards to the writer: Maureen Haseley-Jones is a member of a household of famend horticultural artisans, whose landscaping heritage dates again to the seventeenth century. She is likely one of the founders, collectively together with her son Ian, of, The English Woman Panorama and Dwelling Firm. Maureen and Ian are panorama designers and garden consultants, who imagine that everybody deserves to reside in an eco-conscious atmosphere and benefit from the pleasure that it brings. Maureen discovered her design expertise from each her mom and grandmother, and honed her horticultural and building expertise whereas working within the household nursery and panorama enterprise within the U.Okay. Her formal horticultural coaching was undertaken on the Royal Botanic Gardens at Kew in Surrey.


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