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What to do in your garden - March 2019

Well, we’re certainly off to an early start with the glorious weather we’ve recently had! Everyone’s been inspired to get out in the garden and have a good old tidy up and plan what to plant this spring. Now is an important stage in the gardening year to prepare the garden for the growing season by pruning certain shrubs, feeding and mulching around plants in order to get the best results. Come and choose new plants for your garden: from bedding to soft fruit, perennials to shrubs, we have all you need to make a difference and fill your borders this season. Here are our tips for March:

  • Feed shrubs, roses and container plants with a general-purpose fertiliser such as Vitax Q4, Growmore, Fish, Blood & Bone or chicken manure pellets to give plants the nutrients they need once weather warms up. Specialist fertilisers for many plants are available, such as ericaceous fertiliser for acid-loving plants like azalea, camellia and rhododendron)
  • Mulching your soil with organic matter not only tidies the garden borders and helps improve soil texture, it also helps protect plant roots in winter and helps the ground retain moisture in summer. We sell the following: Levington Soil Conditioner, Gro-Sure Smart Ground Cover, Country Natural Organic Stable Manure, Strulch, and composted or chipped bark. Spread a layer at least 5 - 7cm deep for best effect.
  • Planting shrubs: Careful preparation of the planting area is crucial for a plant to grow vigorously and healthily. Incorporate well-rotted organic matter (such as Country Natural manure) with your garden soil to get the plants off to a good start. Thoroughly water the pots before planting. When removing the plant from the pot, if the roots have become tangled and congested, tease out the rootball. Dig a hole the same depth as the container, but a little wider. Use Rootgrow to get your plants off to the best possible start. Planting with rootgrow mycorrhizal fungi is the best planting practice, improving establishment, natural vigour and ultimately flowering and fruiting. Set the plant in the hole to the same depth as it would be in the pot, fill around with soil, firming with your fingers. Water the plant thoroughly and mulch around it with garden compost, chipped bark or leafmould, to conserve moisture in the soil. Avoid covering the stem of the plant as this can cause it to rot.
  • Now is the time to prune your mophead hydrangeas, (those with large ball-like heads of flowers in summer) cutting last year’s faded flower head off, pruning back to the first pair of strong leaf buds. On older plants you can also completely cut a few stems back at the base of the shrub to encourage strong new growth this year.
  • Repotting houseplants: now that the days are getting longer and brighter, houseplants can be repotted using a proprietary houseplant compost. Make sure you only pot into the next size pot (or one slightly larger than the size of the plant’s rootball) Over potting into too large a pot can make the roots rot and cause plant death. You can feed your houseplants now, using a suitable fertiliser such as Baby Bio
  • Moth Orchid (Phalaenopsis) repotting – it’s also a good time to repot your orchid if it has become too large for its pot, or hasn’t been repotted for the last two years. Choose the next pot size up (or even reuse the same pot, because too large a pot will mean the compost and roots stay wet and can kill the plant). Use a proprietary bark-based orchid compost, to ensure good drainage and aeration of the roots. Carefully remove the orchid from its pot, trim off any dead roots (those that are dark brown and shrivelled) and old compost. Carefully hold the plant in the pot at the right level and gently add fresh orchid compost, making sure you firm it so that the orchid stays upright. Do not bury any aerial roots as this can make them rot. You may need to use a cane to support the plant until it becomes established. Water well and allow excess to drain away.
  • Dahlias – with colours to suit every taste, dahlia’s have come back into fashion and are fantastic for late summer colour in your borders or containers. They make great cut flowers and varieties with single flowers are excellent for pollinating insects. Plant in a sunny position.
  • Spring hanging baskets and containers: all the ingredients you need to plant up your own or ready-planted are available. Brighten up your garden, patio or by your front door.
  • Herbs – now is the time to reassess your herb area and see what’s missing – parsley, sage, rosemary and thyme are all in stock (basil and other more tender herbs will be available once the weather warms up). Our herbs are locally grown in Hampshire and we have them in 9cm or 1 litre pot sizes.
  • Now is the time to start growing plants from seed – from tomatoes to summer bedding, Longacres have a huge range of seeds for you to choose from, plus all you need for propagating plants; seed trays, pots, compost, tools.
  • Roses, roses and more roses: Ideal time to plant now to enjoy fabulous flowers and fragrance this summer. We have a massive selection of British grown plants including David Austin roses, plus climbers, ramblers, hybrid tea and floribunda types. Celebration roses are ideal gifts for anniversaries and birthdays.
  • March is the ideal time to plant a tree – our proud local nursery supplier has been growing ornamental trees for many years, and have suggested the top ten trees for average-sized gardens.