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Gardener's Diary 

                                 March 2007


Seventy first edition -  March 2007    

Winter-Flowering Shrubs


Wildlife and plants might be quite confused with the recent weather we've been having, which included snow and unseasonably warm sunshine.. However, you don't need to worry about garden plants as they'll find their own level and all but the tenderest will survive the worst conditions..

March marks the start of the gardener's eight month active season. In general, now is the final chance before the autumn to plant shrubs, ornamental and fruit trees.. 


Some more new releases from Thompson and Morgan, seed specialists:-

Jobs for the month - March


An introduction from Rosemary Martin...

I have been gardening now as a hobby for about thirty years, but have no formal training..  I don't have a favourite style of gardening, traditional is nice, but I also think the modern trends work well. 

This column adds a new dimension to my interest in all aspects of horticulture and will hopefully help others find pleasure in this healthy and therapeutic pastime  ...  

Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife, remembering to tell me which country you are from..  

Click here for previous editions of Gardener's Diary..


Plant lilies in pots for placing around the garden and patio areas in the summer. Take indoor hyacinths, daffs and tulips that have finished flowering into a spare room or light airy shed and cut off the flower stems at the base. Continue watering them very sparingly until the foliage has died down, then plant them into the garden..

At the end of this month you can plant gladioli corms directly into the garden


Start overwintered begonia tubers into growth in trays of compost, keeping them barely moist..

You can still take cuttings of geraniums (pelargoniums) this month, using young shoots about 4" long..  And Fuschia cuttings, using young shoots about 2" long..

Your greenhouse will need to be heated gently, especially if you have started growing bedding plants from seed.




By now your houseplants will be making considerable new growth and it is a good time to give them a thorough overhaul as follows:-

  • Check the plants are free of disease or resident pests, and treat if necessary.
  • Prune any dead wood out.
  • Check their roots and if potbound re-pot them into bigger containers, using a good quality houseplant compost and adding slow release fertiliser in either tablet or granular form. I use Miracle-Gro
  • Clean the leaves with a misting spray or damp cloth, depending on the type of leaves. (For hairy leaved small plants, use a soft pastry brush to clean the leaves.)
  • Keep out of draughts and don't over water

Trees and shrubs

You can continue planting shrubs this month.. Prune existing shrubs, especially dogwoods that are grown specifically for their winter bark. Tidy borders by giving them a light going over with a hoe or fork and add mulch or bark if required.. It is more practical to spread bark on top of weed suppressing membrane to avoid it getting washed into the earth by the weather.


March is a good month for cleaning, repairing or making your pond safe for young children. Take care not to disturb frogs if they've got a head start with their mating and put fish into large containers filled with the existing pond water. If you have a large pond to clean out vacuums can be hired or bought. Pond plants can be re-potted this month, using aquatic compost in open containers, with a final covering of gravel to stop the compost from floating away, or being disturbed by the fish..


An application of lawn Weed and feed can be applied from April - September, but if the weather is suitable during March you can prepare the lawn by scarifying it, either with a rake or an electric scarifier specifically for this purpose. This will rid the lawn of any moss and dead stuff (thatch) that has built up over time and allow the lawn to 'breathe' again.

Lawn edges can be cut this month which will set off your lawn nicely. I think ragged edges spoil even the most manicured of lawns!

Happy gardening till next month....


Amazon book - Gardens of the National Trust. When the National Trust decided to take on the care of gardens, the aim was that these would be the very best of their kind in England, Wales and Northern Ireland. The Trust now has the finest collection of gardens ever assembled under one ownership..

Volunteering with the National Trust

Volunteers are active in all parts of the National Trust, from the new central office in Swindon to the summits of Snowdonia and Divis Mountain near Belfast.

View their latest opportunities, or find out more about the kind of roles and different places you can volunteer:

Still with the National Trust, some of the most visited National Trust properties are now holding regular farmers' and food markets.  Click here for details  and dates.



The Yellow Book: NGS Gardens Open for CharityRHS gardens

Their four flagship gardens not only provide year-round interest and offer a wide range of courses, talks and demonstrations, they also demonstrate the best gardening practices, new techniques and exciting new plants to try in your garden.

Or go to their website for a diary of all other events at:-


RHS Flower Shows 2007


Tickets for RHS members

Privilege rate tickets are available for RHS members to all RHS shows, but tickets must be booked in advance. Click on the individual show links below for further information.
RHS members are not charged a booking fee for tickets purchased except for advanced tickets to the Malvern shows. To find out how to become an RHS member click here


Do you take advantage of the BBC Gardening website for information? I find it a valuable source of information, for up to date legislation, countryside matters and useful information such as plant pests and diseases, which saves me ploughing through all my gardening books, with the knowledge that their information is bang up to date...


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 


Visit where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line.  Have a look to see what is new and any special seasonal offers


Some places to visit... 



Visit the Eden Project




The living theatre of plants and people
The Eden Project is a gateway into the world of plants and people. A meeting place for all to discover how we depend on plants and how we can help to manage and conserve them for our mutual survival.


Kew Gardens two locations:-

Tel: 020 8332 5655 (24 hr)
Fax: 020 8332 5197

Royal Botanic Gardens

Tel: 01444 894066 (24 hr)
Fax: 01444 894069

Royal Botanic Gardens
Wakehurst Place
Nr Haywards Heath
West Sussex
RH17 6TN


The National Botanic Gardens of Scotland comprise:

Royal Botanic Garden Edinburgh
Scotland's Premier Garden

Benmore Botanic Garden, Argyll
Argyll's Magnificent Mountainside Garden

Dawyck Botanic Garden, Borders
Wonderful Woodland Garden

Logan Botanic Garden, Galloway
Scotland's Most Exotic Garden

The National Botanic Garden of WalesThe National Botanic Garden of Wales

The star attraction here is the 91 metre long domed glasshouse, that houses landscapes normally found in the Mediterranean. This would be a super place to visit on a chilly day...



Some websites of interest to gardeners:-


Carry on Gardening - The easier gardening web site from ThriveGardening is an important part of many people's lives. You don't have to give up gardening because of accident or illness, the onset of disability or the problems associated with growing older. The information on their website is designed to provide you with the information to Carry on Gardening.

Carry on Gardening was initiated by the horticultural charity Thrive and is funded by the National Lottery Charities Board.  It brings together information on easy ways of gardening gathered over 23 years by Thrive and research carried out since the early 1970s by Mary Marlborough Centre, Oxford, on tools and equipment for disabled and older people. 



Useful reading:-

"The Yellow Book" contains information of all Gardens of England and Wales open for charity, and can be bought priced ?5 from National Gardens Scheme

National Trust Gardens Handbook is ?6.99 and the new edition is out in May  Telephone 01394 389 950 or see their website

Amazon book - A year at Kew  Amazon book - Gardens Through Time: 200 Years of the English Garden Amazon book - RHS Plants for Places: 1000 Tried and Tested Plants for Every Soil, Site and Usage (RHS) Amazon book - RHS Encyclopedia of Gardening: RHS Bi-centennial Edition (Royal Horticultural Society)
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