Well, February certainly lived up to its ‘fill dyke’ reputation and in addition to copious quantities of rain we have seen the whole spectrum - pleasant sun to frost, hail and snow. As usual we have fared better than most here in East Anglia. I have mowed my lawn twice now and am contemplating treating the large patches of moss that have been encouraged by the wet winter. Any lawn repairs or new areas can be prepared now - remember the quality of the preparation will dictate the end result. Carefully rake the surface to a fine
tilth, removing all stones and large objects, spread seed and fertilizer evenly and rake in. On small areas cover thinly with a mix of sand and fine topsoil. Turf can be laid whenever frost is not present and this can provide a lawn more quickly than seeding. Take advantage of night frosts to help aerate the soil, dig over and rotovate and then gently rake the top on those dry sunny days as the surface ‘hazels’ and looks dry.
Those gardeners who enjoy raising their own vegetables and bedding plants will be busy sowing seeds in the greenhouse (having thoroughly cleaned and disinfected it!) ready to put plants out in May and June when protection should no longer be required.
March is really the start of Spring and a good time to be planting new shrubs, roses, perennials and trees. There is plenty of moisture in the ground and as the ground warms up the new plants will root quickly into the surrounding soil. Always use a good planting compost to aid root development and retain moisture during dry periods. The planting of ‘field grown’ or ‘bare root’ material will end this month so any hedges, fruit or bare root roses need purchasing as soon as possible. We are still supplying plants to customers of the Cambridgeshire County Council Trees and Woodland Schemes. This excellent scheme allows members of the public and landowners to plant new hedges, copses and woodland at a heavily subsidised rate, and even those not eligible for the scheme can buy the plants very cheaply at the present time.
If you miss the bare root planting season don’t worry, you can still purchase container grown plants throughout the growing season and establishment is just the same with possibly a higher watering requirement during dry and windy weather. If you have room in your garden for one or more trees, consider your requirements carefully before buying. Are you looking for screening, shade or ornamental value? Check the eventual height of the mature tree and avoid planting too near to buildings or drains. What about a fruit tree? They have attractive blossom and can save a few pounds off the shopping bill, and if you’re short of space espalier or fan trained trees can be grown against a fence or wall. With some fruits choice of rootstocks and pollinators can be important. Do email me for more information. I will be discussing ornamental trees next month but if you cant wait, or have any questions, let me know.
Now is a good time to apply a general purpose feed to all your plants, and do try to keep on top of the weeding as the little devils appear. Many plants are budding and putting on spring growth, perennials are emerging and the daffodils and forsythia reminds us that spring is here. It’s a super time of year and Easter is early so lets hope for some decent weather.