What to do in garden this month: March gardening tips from Audley End House

Spring at Audley End.

Spring at Audley End. - Credit: Archant

The worst of the cold weather has passed and spring has usually arrived by mid-March. Frequent bright and sunny days can provide the opportunity to get into the garden and enjoy this wonderful time of year.

Spring at Audley End.

Spring at Audley End. - Credit: Archant

March can be a busy time in the garden so make the most of these dry spells to tackle the increasing gardening tasks. This month is the perfect time for a thorough spring clean. Tidy any remaining leaves cut back herbaceous perennials and weed through beds and borders. Plants will be showing signs of emerging growth so it is important to clear the way.

At Audley End we will spend some time this month mulching the borders. Plants such as roses, perennials and soft fruit greatly benefit from a mulch, it improves moisture retention and soil quality along with reducing weeds.

Other jobs to tackle in the garden this month include:

n If you can provide a heated environment this is the time to begin sowing tomatoes, chillies, aubergines and peppers. These seeds will need about 20 degrees Celsius to germinate and then reduce to about 16 degrees Celsius and keep in good light. Prick out the seedlings when large enough to handle.

Spring at Audley End.

Spring at Audley End. - Credit: Archant


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n Now is the ideal time to plant herbaceous perennials. Lift and divide clumps of perennials to improve vigour and to create further plants for your borders.

n The mild temperatures have encouraged lawns to keep growing so begin to mow on dry days. Begin with a light cut for the first few cuts and then gradually lower the blades over the following weeks.

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n Plant shallots, onion sets, asparagus and early potatoes into prepared ground.

n Prune willow and dogwood grown for their colourful winter stems. Cut them back to their base to encourage new vibrant stems for winter interest.

n Harvest rhubarb. Stalks can be picked from the early cultivars from March to April. Stalks should be pulled rather than cut to prevent rotting of the remaining stump. Pull stalks when they are between 23-30cm (9-12in) long, holding them at the base and pulling gently outwards. Take no more than half the total stalks at any one time.

I hope to see you all at Audley End Garden this month! The garden is open each weekend and will soon be open every day from March 25 for Easter. Please check the website for opening times and further information. www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/audley-end-house-and-gardens.

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