March 2014 in the Garden

Glynn SmithBy Glyn Smith Head Gardener at Erddig Hall National Trust Garden

It’s all go in the garden here at Erddig in March, we are open every day now.

We are busy pruning and tidying and things are suddenly starting to grow. Shortly we will be starting to prune the Pleached lime avenues, which will take several weeks. We are replacing some post and rope rose supports at the moment, so once finished it will be time to prune those Roses, Buddleias and remaining fruit trees.

It’s not too late to divide some perennial border plants. Large flag irises and peonies are usually split up after they flower, but they can be divided now, though you may not get many flowers this year. Michaelmas daisies, heleniums, rudbeckias, solidago, scabious and delphiniums can also be split now. Arriving now in the garden centre will be young plants of herbaceous plants, perfect to add new varieties, or make a new border.

In the greenhouse, keep potting newly rooted cuttings, or why not pot up some of the young seedlings from the garden centre. Tender young plants will need warmth though.

Sow seeds now! Whether you choose flowers or vegetables, as the days warm up they will germinate quickly. There is a great choice of seeds to buy, I always choose too many tempting packets. My best tip is to choose two packets of easy varieties and one packet of something special, or a more difficult to grow variety. That way you can always be confident of producing a good display if the difficult variety does not grow.

As the new seedlings appear, look out for damping off disease, or it will spread rapidly throughout the seed tray. Always make sure you use fresh compost and clean pots when you sow seeds.

Why not try growing a few Dahlias this year? They are excellent gap fillers to flower later in the summer and the flowers are good to cut for the house. There are good selections of dry tubers just ready to pot up and be started off. Also try some Lillies and other summer bulbs too.

As the weather warms up a little more, you can make new lawns from turf. If you have damaged patches of lawn edges, a few turves can be chopped up and fitted in to repair them, or over sow some grass seed in the bare areas.

Buy seed potatoes and set them upright, somewhere they get daylight, in a seed tray to ‘chit’ new shoots. Early varieties can be planted at the end of March. If you grow onions, Good Friday is a traditional day to sow the seed. Leeks too.

Tomato seeds can be sown in a warm greenhouse or room. There are so many different varieties to choose from, but if it is your first time, try the small current types. Gardener’s delight, or for pots and containers try the Tumbling Tom Tomatoes.