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March in the garden

by Aislinn Dunne | Mar 10, 2014

March in the garden

As Robin Williams once said “Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s Party’!” The ‘real ‘arrival of Spring should happen in mid-March although the month usually lives up to its reputation as being pretty unpredictable. It is time to really get stuck into your garden and to make it a little easier, here’s our round up of some of the important gardening jobs you can be doing this month.


In the Kitchen Garden

Plant your shallots, onion sets and early potatoes. If you’re new to planting potatoes, Fergal has put together some tips for anyone growing potatoes for the first time.

Start sowing peas, broad beans, salad leaves, rocket, carrot, spinach, leeks, beetroot, cauliflower, cabbage, turnip and Brussels sprouts.

Plant herbs now, either from seed or pick up some plug plants in our garden centres. Our herb packs are grown by Schram nursery’s in Co. Dublin and salad packs are chemical free and grown by O’Dowd’s nursery in Westmeath.

Protect your fruit trees with netting otherwise birds will eat developing fruit buds. It’s a good idea to check all tree stakes and ties as winter winds may have loosened them, that is, if Storm Darwin didn’t destroy them altogether!  Carefully dig away grass or plants growing close to the stems of fruit trees to reduce competition.

Around the garden

Prune your roses and spray them with a fungicide like Rose Clear Ultra. Repeat the process every fortnight until autumn. Also remember to remove any infected leaves and burn them. If you leave them lying on the compost pile you are just creating a perfect incubation site.

Cut away old foliage on hellebores like the Christmas roses, this will prevent hellebore leaf spot spreading.

Feed woody plants such as roses, trees, shrubs and hedges with a granular fertiliser or old farmyard manure at least a year old.

Make sure that you protect your newly sprung plants from slugs. Use an organic slug defence gel or traditional slug pellets.

Planning Summer Colour

Plant summer flowering bulbs like gladioli, begonia, dahlia and lilies. Read Angela’s handy blog with some great tips on planting summer bubs.

Early flowering clematis (before June) will need to have all the dead foliage removed and be trimmed back to a healthy set of buds.

Late summer flowering clematis (flowering from July onwards) need heavy pruning this month; they can be cut back to three foot or so above ground.

Feed acid loving plants such as camellias and rhododendrons. You can also mulch them regularly with pine needles.

Now is a good time to prune and tidy up wisterias; if left they can get out of hand and may result in fewer flowers.


You may have lost 1 or 2 plants to severe frost so now is the time to remove anything that is not looking its best and replace it with something new.

Tidy up the garden shed and inspect all chemical bottles for signs of leakage - they may have frozen at some stage and upon thawing the bottle can often crack.

You can put outside any plants that were stored indoors during winter. Give them a bit of time to acclimatise before planting. There’s still a small chance of frost so watch out for this and cover up tender plants if needs be.

Clean the leaves of your evergreen houseplants, simply wipe them with a damp cloth. To bring up a wonderful shine, try rubbing leaves with the inside of a banana skin – it sounds crazy but it works a charm.

Weeds come back to growth now too – deal with them early before they get out of hand. You’re going to need one of these, some of these and plenty of this!

In the Greenhouse

If you find seeds and plants being eaten, you could have an uninvited furry guest - we suggest you put a mouse trap in your greenhouse.

To prevent grey mould infections forming pick faded or yellowing leaves from your plants.

Fergal's Bio
Hi my name is Fergal, I have been a horticulturist with CountryLife since April 2009 in the New Ross branch . I have a BSC in horticulture which I received from WIT and Kildalton College . Before joining CountryLife I worked in Ballymaloe cookery school in Shanagary Co. Cork were I was involved in fruit and vegetable production for the cookery school and also the farmers Market in Middleton every Saturday. After Ballymaloe I went to work in Mount Congreve Estate in Kilmeaden, Co. Waterford where I worked on the grounds of the estate maintaining the gardens. I love planting seeds and taking cuttings of plants, giving them a little bit of care and attention and watching them grow into mature plants. Fergal