March Top Tip

Spring is about to be sprung and we can expect good enough weather to encourage even the most reluctant gardener to sow seeds, care for roses and give the lawn its first cut. Getting inspiration is easy, especially as the gardening industry is using Tuesday the 13th of March as Gardening Re-Leaf Day. You can expect to encounter exciting attractions and promotions to mark the beginning of the gardening season. So do get involved and help raise money for Greenfingers, the garden industry charity that creates gardens at children’s hospices.

FLOWER AND SHRUB BORDERS

Whatever the weather, it’s time to prune back the stems of rose bushes to a third of their last year’s height. Use sharp secateurs to cut the stem just above a leaf joint and collect all old leaves that show signs of black spot disease. To complete the job and encourage really strong new growth that will carry lots of flowers it is really beneficial to feed each rose bush with a handful of fertiliser. A special rose and shrub plant food is good, but even better is a slow release flower plant food such as Miracle-Gro Rose & Shrub Continuous Release Plant Food. Based on Osmocote technology, these odour-free granules release small amounts of plant food every day for up to six months whenever the soil is warm enough to encourage plant growth. It encourages amazing flowering results on roses and any other decorative shrub or climber, so is ideal if you have fuchsias, ceanothus, clematis, mock orange or wisteria that you want to encourage into full flower.

TOPICAL TIP: After weeding it pays to top soil off with at least an inch of organic matter to act as a spring mulch. If the material is free of weed seeds this will help to keep the flower borders clean and tidy until the start of summer as well as retaining moisture at root level. For great insulation and an attractive finish use either Miracle-Gro Moisture Control Pine Bark or Shamrock Decorative Chipped Forest Bark.

LAWN CARE

The wet weather of winter has encouraged lawns into growth and by now most lawn owners will have given their grass its first gentle trim to tidy up the look of the lawn.

From now on mowing regularly is the key to a great looking lawn. Not too short, but trim enough to look tidy. The aim should be to keep it to a length of 2.5 – 4cm long (1 to 1.5 in) high. This length may seem long to some lawn owners, but it is worth following as it will help deter weed growth as there is little light for germinating weed seeds and it encourages a thick sward that provides little room at soil level for the growth of moss.

If your lawn is looking pale or thin then a spring, feed with something like EverGreen Cut & Feed will improve the colour of the grass in just 3 days. This no-scorch lawn feed will encourage stronger and more vigorous grass growth during the subsequent six weeks.

TOPICAL TIP: For a really neat look to your springtime lawn it’s worth trimming around the edges to give a sharp edge.

PATIO GARDEN

It’s time for a clean-up on the patio before the displays of potted flowers, fruit and vegetables come to cover the paved area of your garden.

Most of us have had plenty of rain this winter and many hard surfaces, including patios, driveways, paths, wall and brickwork will have developed ugly green patches that are slippery and unsightly. Patio Magic! is the quick and easy way to clear green moss, algae and moulds without the need for hard work. Just dilute the concentrate in a watering can or low-pressure garden sprayer and thoroughly wet the affected surface. Then simply leave it to dry. Patio Magic! does the hard work without the need for acids, bleach or scrubbing. You will see visible results in 2 to 4 days and it carries on cleaning over the following weeks.

TOPICAL TIP: Snap off seed heads of daffodils and tulips after blooming has finished. A few feeds with Miracle-Gro All Purpose Soluble Plant Food applied over foliage and around roots will encourage strong build up of next years flower buds deep in the bulb

VEGETABLE GARDEN

There are vegetable seeds that need to be sown now both outdoors and indoors if your family are to enjoy an early crop of vegetables. Improving soil structure with Levington Organic Blend Soil Conditioner will always pay dividends, encouraging better plant establishment, even if it is in small amounts along each seed drill.

If the weather is mild and the soil in your local area has started to warm up, you can chance an early sowing outdoors of broad beans, parsnips, early carrots and onion sets.

TOPICAL TIP: Place seed potatoes on a cool well-lit windowsill to encourage new shoots to develop.

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