Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online


Gardener's Diary

March 2012

An introduction from Rosemary Martin...


Previously in The Gardener's Diary...

February 2012

January 2012

December 2011



The Gardener's Diary


RosemaryI have been gardening now as a hobby for about forty 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..



lenten roseFebruary saw some heavy snowfalls and quite severe frosts, which covered most of the UK, and early flowering plants were knocked back by the cold. Don`t worry though, plants are very resilient and will soon pick up.

If you have suffered with severe weather of any type, wait a while to see if anything in your garden really has died before removing it. Often just cutting out the dead and broken parts will restore a shrub to its former glory. 


Jobs for March

Fruit and vegetable garden section for March is here


March and April are good months for sowing or laying new lawns. Existing lawns should be swept and raked before mowing. I have already lightly cut my lawn in January, more to collect debris than shorten the grass, and this month I shall remove the moss with an electric scarifier, which is an extremely satisfying job...

Shrub borders and roses

RosesTurn over the borders with a fork to freshen them up and let air in - as the earth will have become compacted over winter - removing any weeds at the same time. Cut out any dead or twiggy wood from rose bushes and shrubs.  You can still plant bare-root shrubs and roses this month and move any shrubs to different positions if needed.


Prune early summer and later flowering Clematis hybrids. Prune Wisterias and ornamental grape vines. Tidy up shrubs or trees that have suffered damage in the windy weather. If you are in doubt about when to prune certain shrubs and clematis, consult a gardening book for the varieties you have.

Dogwoods should be pruned hard back this month to get the benefit of the new colourful growth next winter. You don't have to prune them; I have allowed one or two dogwoods to grow tall, against walls, and they still have very colourful bark, yet provide the cover I like!


The birds are very busy this month pairing off and mating. If you are thinking of placing new nesting boxes, make sure they face North so the sun doesn`t shine in them. Clean out any old nesting boxes with a hand brush but not disinfectant or water. I am wondering if the tiny wren will re-use the nest she built last year. Whilst walking in the forest in previous years I have heard cuckoos and woodpeckers, so with the spring just around the corner I shall listen out for them once again... The foxes that travel through our garden each night are becoming a nuisance because the vixen leaves burn marks on the lawn, and their smell is very unpleasant, but deterrents don't seem to work.

Paths, walls and fencing

Check over your boundary walls and fences for any wind or subsidence damage.. A lick of paint on the fence on a sunny day is very therapeutic and does wonders for freshening up the faded panels.

Summer bedding plants

petuniasStart sowing seeds for your summer bedding plant displays. Ensure they have the correct conditions as stated on the packet - some require a light covering of compost and no daylight, whilst others may require no covering but plenty of daylight.. You will find too that some seeds such as sweet peas and anemone corms need soaking in water for 24 hours before planting... Don`t overwater seeds and keep them warm enough.

These days I tend to cheat by buying pots of ready germinated young seedlings from the garden centre, then pricking them out at home.. I also grow perennials from seed and am turning more towards permanent perennial planting instead of annuals, it's less work and I find I prefer them now.

Happy gardening.


    Keep in touch with everything happening in Laterlife Today!

    Subscribe to our free monthly email newsletters for the latest articles, offers and events. You can unsubscribe at any time should you want to.


Bookmark This Share on Facebook Receive more like this

Tell us your gardening  experiences

Want to comment on this article or ask other laterlife visitors a question?

Then visit the comment section of the Later Lifestyle Network, click on the 'Discussion Tab' (you can't see this until you are logged in) and create a new topic or add your views to an existing one.  

feeling Good

Feeling Good

The above article is part of the features section of called laterlife interest. laterlife interest contains a variety of articles of interest for visitors to written by a number of experienced and new journalists.

It includes both one off articles and also associated regular columns of a more specialist nature such as Healthwise, Gardener's Diary, our regular IT question and answer section called YoucandoIT and there's also 'It could be you' by Maggi Stamp laterlife's counsellor on human relationships. 

Looking to the future

Looking to the future

Tell us about what you would like to see here on in the future or any changes you would like to see. Just email

Latest articles

To view the latest articles click on laterlife interest index. To search for articles about a certain topic, use the site search feature at the top right of the page.
Back to Laterlife Today

Visit our Pre-retirement Courses section here on laterlife or our dedicated Retirement Courses site


Advertise on