On this page we hope to keep you up to date with what to do in the garden throughout the year.
Now is the time to transfer the work done throughout the winter months into what is required for the spring and Summer, by making the soil ready to receive seeds and plants. The lawn should be given attention by feeding the parts where the grass is thin and seeding areas where the grass has been completely worn away, or the soil needs replacing because it is inhibiting growth, or discolouring of the grass. You may find it quicker and more beneficial to use turf in some areas such as grass paths. Look at all paths and repair where needed.
New borders or vacant areas should be prepared ready to receive biennials and perennials next month. Remove any leaves and other debris from borders and give them a fork over. Tidy up plants such as Wallflowers by cutting away broken shoots, then cover exposed roots and firm all plants into the ground. You can start transplanting and firming in alpines. You may need to protect early flowering bulbs from frost.
SEEDS TO SOW
When the weather is dry and mild start sowing the hardy annuals such as Clarkias, Sweet Peas and stocks. Read your seed packets to see which should be sown.
Now is the time to plant layered Carnations, Chrysanthemums, Dahlias, Pansies and Violas, Ranunculus and Roses. Propagate Rock plants by division.
Now is the time to tidy the creepers. Be ruthless with old, worn out and leggy growth. Cut back to twelve inches (30cm) from the ground. Seize the chance to start pruning roses. Box edging should be trimmed and damaged plants replaced. Hollies, Laurels, Bays, Rhododendrons and Conifers can be moved or trimmed.
Keep the temperature to 45 to 50F (7 to 10C) at night. Circulate the air and give ample water. Look round and discard any plants that are not giving of their best. Azaleas, Camellias and Marguerites should be potted on. Prick off Begonias planted last month and start tubers in gentle heat. Calceolarias should have their leaves thinned and their shoots staked. Seedlings should start to be hardened off ready for bedding out. Keep an eye open for pests and diseases and deal with them as they occur.
SEEDS TO SOW
A long list now, but you will find others that attract your fancy on the walls of garden centres: ageratums, antirrhinums (snapdragon), cannas, carnations, celosias (cocks comb), China asters, chrysanthemums, delphiniums, dianthus, freesias, gloxinias, heliotropes, hollyhocks, lobelias, pansies, Penstemons, petunias, polyanthus, primulas, salvias, stocks and verbenas. Later in the month try: alyssum, anchusas, anemones, arabis, aralias, arenaria, asparagus, asters, balsams, calceolarias, calendulas, cinerarias, clivias, coleus Blumei, draba, eryngiums, fuchsias, grevilleas, linums, nasturtiums, nemesia, nicotiana, perilla, phloxes, salpiglossis, scabious, stocks (ten-week), streptocarpus, sweet peas, tagetes (African marigolds) thunbergias and zinnias. There, I said there were a lot.
Now is the time to try cuttings of: aburilons, acacias, carnations (winter flowering or perpetual), chrysanthemums (single late-flowering), fuchsias, gardenias, geraniums and petunias. Rooted cuttings of fuchsias, geraniums (pelargoniums), heliotropes and marguerites, should be potted on. Dahlia roots, Marvels of Peru and old pelargoniums should be placed in the warm so that cuttings can be obtained.
Look to see what plants need bigger pots and take the necessary action. Agapanthus and cannas will require attention this month. Pot-up abutilons, cacti and ferns.
Have a look at the ground that has been dug and left over the winter and make it ready to receive the seeds. Remove any over wintered greens. The birds will now start to take an interest in your efforts so pay some attention to keeping them away. The hoe will now start to become your main form of exercise. New Asparagus beds should be made when required. For those who like mint, renew the beds by lifting and replanting in below ground containers to prevent it spreading round the garden.
SEEDS TO SOW
When you sow the first seeds find a warm, sheltered place to help them along their path to maturity. Try Broad beans, broccoli, Brussels sprouts, cabbages, carrots, cauliflowers, corn salad, dwarf French beans, kale, kohl rabi, leeks, lettuces, onions, parsley, parsnips, peas, radishes, seakale, shallots, spinach, swedes, tomatoes and turnips.
If you have started peas off indoors now is the time to plant them out. Now is the time to plant Artichokes (Chinese) and asparagus. Chives can be divided and planted out in a warm sheltered position. Try some early potatoes.
Broad Beans sown earlier can be planted out in the garden under glass. Leeks sown earlier should be pricked out into boxes.
Get the packets of asparagus, broccoli, cucumbers, dwarf French beans, leeks, lettuces, melons, onions, parsley, peas, rhubarb, seakale and tomatoes. Start some marrows off in pots for later transfer to frames.
Now we have earlier starts to the seasons caused by global warming watch out for fruit coming into bloom earlier than is usual. When frost is forecast take any action necessary by protecting branches with gardening fleece and netting; it also helps protect from birds. Get that hoe out and use it round the bases of fruit trees. Remember this is the last safe month for planting before the autumn, so any new areas of fruit planned need to be undertaken now. Container grown plants need a lot of attention if they are to thrive. Think about finding time to graft those apples, cherries, pears and plums that were cut back in January. The grafts should be taken four weeks before they are put to the stock. Finish pruning. Start spaying for insect attack; do not leave it until it is too late.
If you have forced fruit trees take care with changes of temperature; especially cold draughts. Automatic ventilation can help, but keep an eye open for any signs of damage.
TREES AND SHRUBS
Have a look round and clean up areas such as the shrub border. Give the rhododendrons a top dressing of a mixture of cow dung and leaf mould. You can protect tender plants with boughs of pruned evergreen and garden fleece. Those favourite plants should be propagated by division and graftings to insure perpetuation as the month draws to a close. Seize the opportunity to plant any last minute deciduous shrubs and trees. Now is the time for expectation of things to come.