March: It’s time to…

Dahlia_Linda Ross

It’s beautiful weather for gardening and prime time for planting. There’s enough warmth in the soil to give plants a flying start. Check out upcoming Plant Fairs such at Collectors Plant Fair in April for a well-deserved plant buying spree!

Admire

Autumn’s delicate bulbs, such as golden lycoris, pink or white belladonna lilies and storm lilies (autumn crocus, Zephyranthes) are reliable friends in the garden. They surprise by popping their heads up, clumps get bigger each year and they help to prolong summer colour

Green up

Spread lawn fertiliser evenly over the lawn for a green boost through autumn. Time this with a rainy day.

white-tulips_Linda Ross
Plant

Pot up a container of spring-flowering tulips, or, for a longer display, combine Dutch iris and freesias.

Have you discovered the ‘Mystic’ dwarf dahlias with dark plum-coloured leaves? We love them planted up with dwarf salvias which dazzle in autumn.

Plant punnets of winter-flowering annuals for colour in the cool season. In dappled shade try cineraria, pansy and viola; in full sun go for poppies; and in pots choose polyanthus. 

Feed

Treat the entire garden to a topping of organic fertiliser to revitalise soil and add essential elements and good bacteria.

Linda Ross_plant-spring-bulbs
Sow

Love-in-a-mist, foxglove, petunia and paper daisy and spring flowers easily grown from seed sown in situ now.

Prune

Trim geranium and pelargonium by cutting stems back by one-third. Especially scented geraniums which can be pruned back hard bit by bit.

Stake

Offer support to taller growing dahlias. Support can be built in.

Improve

Break up clay soils by adding gypsum and clay breaker to hard clay areas. Additional cow manure will help attract worms to do some of the hard work and speed the process.

Linda Ross_Dutch Iris

Last chance

Dig and divide clumps of tall bearded iris. This will revitalise them and encourage more flowers. Plant with rhizome on top of soil.

All areas

Check with your local council about weeds in your area. Replace any you happen to be growing with local natives. The transformation will benefit both your garden and the surrounding bushland.

Discard outdated chemicals. Check with council for chemical depots or clean up weekends. A good rule of thumb – if you can’t read the label, it’s time to throw it away.

Cold

Add 50-75mm of mulch to garden beds to retain soil warmth.

Check positions of pot plants. Be aware of the new season’s changed sun path and move pots into, or away from, autumn’s sun zone.

Linda Ross_daffodils-jonquilsTemperate

Order spring bulbs and store in the crisper drawer of the fridge.

Stake any recently planted trees. Roots haven’t had time to establish, so a windy or rainy March could see your hard work undone.

Subtropical

Last chance to get artichoke suckers in the ground. Choose a sunny position with well-drained soil.

Sharpen tools – secateurs and shears have worked hard over summer.

Tropical

Apply fertiliser: with the wet season ending it’s unlikely to be washed away by rain.

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When you have 10 minutes

Rejuvenate tired kangaroo paws that are a mass of fading flower and yellowing, black-spotty foliage. Cut them back to just 5cm above ground level with shears or secateurs. Feed with a handful of native fertiliser, water it in, and prepare for a stunning show in spring.