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Gardener's Diary            March



Rosemary Martin







Gardener's Diary is a regular feature of run by Rosemary Martin. 


An introduction from Rosemary...     



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..




Forty seventh edition - March 2005

According to the forecasters this was to have been the mildest winter for fifteen years, but the end of February saw heavy snowfalls and quite severe frosts, which covered most of the UK...  This seems to be a trend in recent years, with spring blossom coming out early and bulbs about to flower, then suddenly everything getting knocked back by severe weather.

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. The one useful thing you can do is knock snow off shrubs that are bending under the weight of it.. A soft yardbrush is good for this job.


Jobs for March


March - April are good months for sowing or laying new lawns. Existing lawns should be swept and raked before mowing. I have already lightly mown my lawn in January and February, 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... I use Greenthumb for lawn treatment, but thought the scarifying process was something I could do myself as we have an electric scarifier and the exercise is good for me!


Amazon book - Creative Vegetable Gardening Continue to sow successional crops such as salads and carrots. You don`t need a vegetable garden or allotment to enjoy home grown vegetables as they can be grown in amongst the flowers as I said last month. In fact it helps to keep the aphids and carrot fly away if you plant vegetables amongst flowers such as marigolds, and I think it looks really nice to see vegetables and salad stuff dotted around the borders. Later on you could put a small wigwam of runner beans in.


Paths and walkways

Keep paths and walkways clear of debris and slippery algae. If it is still icy, put down some salt to melt it, which will save you and your visitors sliding all over the place, or worse, having a fall..

Amazon book - Rodale's Illustrated Encyclopedia of Perennials: A Rodale Organic Gardening Book  Shrub borders and roses

Turn over the borders with a fork to freshen them up and let air in - as the earth will have become compacted over winter - taking out any weeds at the same time. Cut out any dead or twiggy wood from rose bushes and shrubs. Prune roses and any shrubs that need it, early summer and later flowering clematis hybrids, ornamental grape vines and wisteria, according to instructions in your gardening book


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.


A duck egg I found in a tub. I assume a fox had planted it there.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 I have heard cuckoos and woodpeckers and with the spring just around the corner I shall listen out for them once again... The fox that travels through our garden each night is a nuisance because he digs up the compost in all the ceramic tubs looking for the duck egg he planted last year, as you can see on the left..


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

Start sowing seeds for your summer bedding plant displays. Ensure they have the correct conditions 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..

Happy gardening.    



Some of your recent gardening queries

Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming Please tell me which country you live in as knowing the climate can help me solve your problem. A current email address is necessary as my replies to you are sometimes returned to me as undeliverable..


Thompson & Morgan LogoThompson & Morgan 



You may obtain their free New 2005 Seed Catalogue by telephoning 01473 695224 and their website address is where full information is available on their product varieties and orders can be taken on-line. 


And some places to visit...

RHS Flower Shows 2005

RHS Spring Flower Show, Cardiff

: :  

22 - 24 April 2005

The Spring Gardening Show Malvern

: :  

13 - 15 May 2005

Chelsea Flower Show

: :  

24 - 28 May 2005

BBC Gardeners' World Live

: :  

15 - 19 June 2005

Charity Gala Preview of the
Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

: :

4 July 2005

Hampton Court Palace Flower Show

: :  

5 - 10 July 2005

RHS Flower Show at Tatton Park

: :  

20 - 24 July 2005

Malvern Autumn Garden & Country Show

: :  

24 - 25 September 2005

RHS London Flower Shows

: :  


Wisley Shows

: :  

April, June and August
  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...



Keep the e-mails with your gardening problems coming

Have a look at previous editions of Gardener`s Diary



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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