Laura Allison Gardening March 2011

Laura Allison is back with gardening advice as we head into spring. It's great to have an expert on board, especially one with local knowledge who can tell us what thrives in this part of the country.

March is the time for your garden to come out of hibernation and show signs of life (and for all of us gardeners too!).

In my garden witch hazel, winter aconites, snowdrops and pulmonaria are all flowering as well as the trusty helleborus.

Jobs to consider for March include:

* clearing up leaves, branches and other debris from around the garden.
* cut back ornamental grasses - be brutal - they will grow back, I promise!
*prune buddleia bushes to promote new growth and prevent them becoming too woody.
* plan which seeds you will need for the coming year.

This is a good time to buy seeds and some can be started off on a windowsill ready for the warmer weather outside.

*Divide herbaceous plants to increase your plant stock. This is your last chance before they start to grow.

Lily bulbs are a good buy just now - most garden retailers sell them loose. Dwarf varieties are readily available - excellent for pots and containers.

My last tip of the month is to buy seed potatoes now. If you haven't grown them before it's easy, whether in the ground or in a large bucket. Plant them out in April when the soil has warmed up.

Some good varieties include:

Duke of York - 1st early
Epicure - 1st early
Charlotte - 2nd early
Rooster - maincrop
King Edward - maincrop
Pink Fir Apple - maincrop

Let's hope the weather makes this a good gardening month. Good luck and enjoy!


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