March in the TreeHolme Garden - The first month of spring

Not long now before the clocks spring forward. The weather can be very unpredictable this month, but nevertheless the ground, by the end of the month, should be starting to warm up - although it is quite likely that we could get the odd day of frost as we did in February.

We will be getting the hoes out the back of the van so we can continue the disturbance of all those young weeds, which if we choose a nice dry day will lay on the surface of the ground and soon dry up and die. The winds, which will probably be apparent periodically during the month, will all help to dry out the surface of the ground. We often apply a ground covering of ornamental bark on the surface of the borders at this time of the year, not only does it inhibit the amount of weed growth but the mulch tends to conserve soil moisture reducing the number of times you need to water. As we are all aware we are becoming drier in this country and anything we can do to conserve water the better it is.

Pruning our roses: Now is the time for us to take a look at the roses in the garden before the spurt of spring growth starts.

Yes it is a job that a lot of people prefer to do in the autumn after flowering, but here at Treeholme we prefer to give the roses a wind cut in the autumn leaving the main prune to the early spring.

The winter may have battered the garden due to the winds, so by leaving our main prune to now we can cut out any winter damage enabling us to give the roses a better shape for the summer flowering period.

Bare root plants: This will be our last chance to purchase and plant any bare root shrubs or trees until the autumn, and in fact we are waiting for our delivery of in the green bluebells, snowdrops and aconites, not only for our garden here at Treeholme but also for a number of our customers.

We seem to have planted so many more bare root trees this year and hedges and it will be so rewarding for us to see over the next few years the effect that these plants will have on the gardens as we are now finding on our own vegetable allotment where we decided to plant last year a wind break natural field hedge of hawthorn, gilder rose, field maple and blackthorn, interlaced with a few assorted rosa rugosa dog roses, this mixture of bare rooted whips that were planted this time last year will really start to show good growth this year - the first year they put all there effort into the root growth and then they will be away.

It is a good idea, especially with young whips like these, to mulch the ground they are planted in with either a border bark or some of that compost you may have been maturing, if you have had a compost bin working away in the corner of your garden like we have on our allotment plot, this will help with moisture retention which is so important in the early stages of growing a hedge and also it will help keep those dreaded weeds down.

The ground warming up: By the end of the month we should be finding the soil has started to really warm up, therefore the opportunity for us to consider planting directly into the ground will now be there. It is always a good idea to think ahead when considering planting out for the first time in the year, especially on the allotment where we try to cover over the ground using black plastic sheeting on an area that we want to use to plant out our first plants, having done this a month or two earlier would have given the ground a chance to be that bit warmer giving the plants that extra bit of help to get them going.

In our busy schedule of running the business as efficiently as we can the main gardening here at Treeholme is obviously undertaken by me as this after all is mine and my wifes main residence with the occasional help from my son or one of the team members.

Unfortunately time does not always allow us to prepare all the seed planting in the greenhouse that we would like however, now is the first time that you could consider planting out any of those young plants directly into the ground having already spread an organic fertiliser across the surface of your well prepared and raked ground.

We like to bring out from the greenhouse the sweet peas that have started to grow and plant them and it is normal for us to plant them on our allotment in a circle in a couple of places where we let them grow up bamboo canes in the form of a couple of wigwams, the smell that these plant create later in the season will be our reward for the work that we are putting in now.

Here in Suffolk the ground will normally warm up earlier than some of the areas farther north so take that into consideration when reading about our activities down here in this part of the country. In the next few weeks we will be planting some of our young plants that we have managed to grow from seed, over the last few months, under glass either in the greenhouse or cold frames. This month is the time we will really getting going with seed-sowing outside especially on the allotment.

Trees and Shrubs: We will be attending to any evergreen shrubs that have finished flowering, that we may want to move this month. As the ground warms the trees and shrubs will start to take in water from the ground, it is generally considered that plants do not take up this life source until the soil temperature reaches 4-5*C around 40*F so by moving them now the plants will lose less water than they would have done in the winter, when the loss of water that would have occurred due to the action of frosts and strong cold winds could not have been replaced from the soil.

We are having quite a change at the front of Treeholme this year trying to create more of a feel of the cottage garden style that we all love and one of the shrubs that we will be planting will be that old favourite the dogwood or cornus, to use its proper name, and this month is the right time to prune them, they need to be pruned hard as the reason for growing the cornus is for the winter colour of the stems as is the salix and the best colour results will always come from the first year growth.

Mowing the grass

To a gardener like me the first time I cut the grass, which normally is this month, I always feel so good as I know that spring has come around again, but it also means that we are going to be non stop from now to the autumn when work will start to slow down again in the Treeholme garden.

Hopefully the mower, which has been serviced, will give us another year of trouble free motoring and off we go, we always cut with the grass collector on and for the start of this season we consider its so important to do so as it will give the turf every chance for the air, rain and fertiliser to penetrate it, we again feel its beneficial to the lawn if the first few cuts are undertaken with the blades at their higher position as our lawns will remain healthier and greener for removing a little less grass every cut

Signing off for this month, so many more activities I could mention but the longer I stay here the less sleep I am likely to get - yes I write these gardening notes normally in the early hours of the morning, as the daytime hours are taken up by yes you guessed it helping my son run Country Life Landscapes. All the best for this month and I will be writing more about April activities very soon.

Happy Spring gardening from all at Treeholme

If you have a comment or question please get in touch.

01/03/2012 @ 22:03