So February carried on where March left off and the teeth were bared to remind us of the treacherous unpredictability of our winters. Snow flurries punctuated the month of February and night temperatures teased around freezing. Life is returning though and a couple of warm afternoons brought midges out across the pond and one or two bats ventured out from hibernation, just to test the wing and the temperature. As yet not much evidence of frog spawn though, but it will come through quickly now, the days are lengthening and the clocks will change before March is out.
There is as ever much to do and whilst the ground is wet, we can still be planting. There are new seasons herbaceous and biennial plants to consider. They will all be showing new growth and are primed for summer flowering, so look out for lupins, delphiniums, primroses, aubretia as well as bellis and Sweet William. These things are not as popular as they once were, as more emphasis than ever shifts to tubs and planters, but they are wonderful introductions to the ground, bringing architecture, colour and sometimes fragrance to early summer displays. Soon hardier annual bedding will appear too, further complimenting these offerings. My gaps will be filled with another traditional plant, the ‘Snapdragon’ or antirrhinum. What a robust and versatile plant this is, now offered in a wide range of colours and heights from a few inches to a few feet. Do check them out, there is still time to try some seed if you fancy it.
Across the garden this is a good month to plant trees, shrubs and roses all of which are poised to leaf up. Trying to place them whilst they are on the edge of dormancy will see them settle quickly. If your borders are well established, March is also not a bad month to tackle the pruning. Spring growth swiftly repairs wounds. The vegetable plot is starting to come to life, there is still time to plant onions and shallots and as the month draws on we can put out the first potatoes. A sowing of broad beans can be tackled and earlier contained sowings of beans and cabbage can also be set out. Continue sowing seed if you have window sill space or a greenhouse. Many seeds will germinate under cold glass or in a frame. It’s just fun to get going. And finally if you’ve already planted onions or shallots just firm them in, the birds have started tugging them up.