//Philippa’s Newsletter – March 2018

Philippa’s Newsletter – March 2018

My Garden by Philippa Thomas

March is truly, the first month of Spring and with longer days and rising temperatures, our gardens are coming alive.  …Having said ‘This’, March too, can be unpredictable.  …March is a busy time of the year in the greenhouse as it’s time to sow many plants.  Make sure, you have a good supply of ‘Best Buy Compost’ plus labels, trays and pots.  Water your indoor plants more regularly, now that our weather is warmer.  …From your armchair, you can order your seeds and plug plants online.  Give these plug plants a pinch, a couple of times while the plants are young.  This will make them nice and bushy and they will have far more flowers.  Honestly, there is so much available now, when it comes to growing your own.  There are flowers of every possible description; their symmetry, their personality, how they reach for the sun, the light, – : their drama, romance, their hope – …flowers basically grow and adapt or they don’t survive.  They have, so to speak, a deep desire to stand in all their colourful glory, even in the most challenging environments.

I might try growing some new potatoes shortly, in a large container.  The taste of home grown, new potatoes in early June is irresistible and I believe, the varieties, Orla, Colleen or Setanta are so easy to grow, blight resistant and packed full of flavour, have thin skinned balls of flour with that special ‘New Potato’ distinctive flavour.

The nestling period will be beginning about now, so it’s best to avoid putting peanuts in your feeders as young nestlings can choke on them.  Good foods to use in the Spring include black sunflower seeds, mealworms, wax worms, (wax worms are the caterpillar larvae of wax moths,) soft apples and pears, bananas and grapes cut in half.

Did You Know  ???

Slugs have no external shell.  They have evolved to have a reduced shell just under their skin.  This means that they can easily travel underground and will hide there during daytime, they tend to hide in nooks and crannies and have been known to roost in shrubs and trees.

Snails.  Snails require calcium to form their shells so most species are restricted to calcareous areas.  Snails can become much more of a problem in limestone and chalky soils than in other areas.  Slug and snail damage tends to peak in Spring and again in Autumn with a quieter period in the Summer when it is drier.  …Half a grapefruit filled with beer and left in the garden overnight will soon indicate your situation.  …Also, Slugs and snails do not like to cross copper.  Snails and slugs have both male and female reproductive organs, so only one individual is needed to start a new population.  Some slug species can lay hundreds of eggs at once and can reproduce multiple times each year.  …But remember, snails and slugs are part of the natural balance and work hard to break down decaying garden waste.  They have a crucial role in the compost heap as many species eat only dead plant material and slugs and snails are also a food source for many creatures.

Also, Do You Know  ???

That children who garden, generally eat more fruit and vegetables and as a result, concentrate better in their various activities and likewise, at school.

Might Do, Maybe March Jobs.

  1. Check for root-bound containers.  It’s worth checking over long term container plants to make sure their roots aren’t coming out of their drainage holes.  Re-pot into a container that is one size larger.  If you don’t want to put your plant in a larger pot, then remove to a third of the existing root ball and re-pot into the same container.
  2. Vine Weevil. Adult vine weevil makes distinctive notches in the edges of many plant leaves.  This damage isn’t much more than cosmetic.  However, the white grubs underground can devastate plants by eating their roots.  The best solution is to apply a biological control.  This uses nematodes that attack the vine weevil.
  3. Prune roses, remove all dead and crossing wood on your rose shrubs. Blackspot, powdery mildew and rust are often encountered on roses – roses can suffer from a range of diseases, best to use a fungicide formulation specifically designed foremostly, for roses.
  4. Hedges often get neglected as they are sometimes the background of our displays but They Can Also Be Our Stars. In order to get strong healthy foliage it’s well worth clearing the weeds within their bases, giving them a feed and then, mulching the bare soil.
  5. Remember, The Chelsea Chop will extend the flowering period of late flowering perennials such as sedum, phlox etc. and also makes the plants bushier.
  6. Maybe, consider giving your children a little patch of their very own, to grow whatever seeds they like, ie sunflower, night scented stock, nasturtiums and radishes are super fast growers.
  7. Plant out any forced flower buds in the garden such as hyacinths and miniature daffodils which have finished flowering indoors.
  8. Dead-head Hydrangeas before new growth appears.
  9. It is worth giving your watering cans a good scrub to prevent fungal diseases.

“Springtime is the land awakening, the March winds are the morning yawn.”

Denis Grizzard

“Don’t wait for someone to bring you flowers.  Plant your own garden and decorate your own soul.”

Luther Burbank

“Spring makes its own statement, so loud and clear that the gardener seems to be only one of the instruments, not the composer.”  

Geoffrey B. Charlesworth

I Woke Up To These Magnificent Icicles Last Saturday, They Attached Themselves, Almost Mathematically to Our Bare Obelisk

2018-03-09T10:09:18+00:00 March 7th, 2018|