Gardening expert Sue Beesley is rarin' to go now that spring is here<br/>PHOTOGRAPHY BY SUE BEESLEY
March marks the true beginning of spring for me. The clocks go forward on the 28th (much too late in my view!) giving us a priceless extra hour of daylight in the evenings. But just as important is the spring equinox on the 21st, heralding longer days than nights for the next six months.
Each mild March day brings on a new push of growth, and as the ground warms up it’s the perfect time to create and plant or sow new borders.
I’m going to sow a new wildflower area under the apple trees in March. The seeds will germinate in a mild, damp spell, but are hardy so they won’t be killed by a late frost. I’m sure it will look prettier than the old turf and it will save a lot of mowing time too! Wildflower seeds are quite expensive, but they should be sown thinly, and if you collect the fresh seed from your plants each year, you can sow a larger area each time.
A great spring plant to look out for is Pulmonaria, or lungwort. These long-lived, easy to care for perennials usually have spotted leaves with a wonderful range of flower colours from white, through pink, coral and blue, and sometimes several different colours on one plant. They make a gorgeous spring carpet under a flowering cherry and make the perfect partner for tulips.
Despite the cold winter, I’m certain that many garden centres will be full of young bedding and basket plants in March, all grown under glass and as tender as a newborn baby. Don’t be tempted unless you have a greenhouse! One sniff of a frost will see them off.
There are much better ways to spend your time and money in March. I will be planting out early potatoes (Charlotte is my favourite), sowing sweet peas, and piling soil conditioner onto our borders to suppress weeds and make the soil sweet and fertile for our plants. Sue Beesley was runner-up in the BBC’s Gardener of the Decade and is the owner of Lodge Lane nursery and Bluebell Cottage Gardens in Dutton, Cheshire. Check out her website www.lodgelanenursery.co.uk
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