Now we’re heading into longer days with more daylight you can see spring bursting out all over.

We’re particularly aware of it here at the garden centre with a huge variety of bright and colourful plants coming in weekly. Now is a good time to give your pots a new lease of life by popping in a few new cheery violas or a nice bright primrose, which will see them through until you’re ready to fill them with summer bedding.

The weather can be very fickle at this time of year and we can still get frosts (especially away from the coast) and biting cold winds. So don’t get carried away on a fine day with planting anything that might still be slightly tender in the garden. There are plenty of spring delights that can cope with the weather and still look colourful. Blossom is a particular feature at this time of year and one of our favourite flowering cherries with delicate pink tinged white blossom is Prunus
koji-no-mai, which forms a neat compact shrub and is ideal for low-maintenance gardens. It’s also quite happy in a large pot.

One of the best ways of improving your border soil is to mulch the surface with a thick layer of organic matter, which will also help to keep down weeds later in the season. Finish cutting back dead foliage from perennials and give your roses their final prune if you haven’t done so already. Also start thinking about slug control. Fresh new growth on your herbaceous plants is a real treat for those pesky gastropods!

It’s impossible to miss primulas at this time of year! They now come in nearly every possible shade to suit every taste, from the simple pale creamy yellow of our native primrose, to dazzling shades of red, blue and pink. We’re often asked about the difference between primulas, primroses and polyanthus. Primula is the Latin name for the whole family, covering primroses which have single-flowered stems, and polyanthus which have multiple blooms on thicker, taller stems.

This month’s planting recipes

This month we’ve gone for both a cool blue theme and one to celebrate the lovely new season alpine plants now available.

Recipe one: cool bluesMarch 2015 planting recipe 300x360

This would work well in either a plain terracotta pot or a pale toned glazed one, with a topping of blue slate chips to set off the blue tones nicely.

You’ll need:

  • One Festuca glauca (blue grass)
  • Lavender
  • Violas – pale blue and white mix

The grass and the lavender can stay in the pot throughout the summer. Once the weather gets too warm for the violas just replace them with some summer bedding.

Recipe two: a mixed alpine planter

Choose any variety you like from the wide selection available. Many alpines flower in early spring and generally being small plants they look good in any size of pot. You’ll probably need three plants in a small one, and a few more in a typical “alpine trough”. The really crucial point is that they need good drainage, so be sure to mix through lots of grit with your compost. A top dressing of grit will also give a nice finish.

 

 

 

 

Remember if you need a hand or more ideas, just pop in. We’re always happy to help.

 

Ann Rosie and Julie - merryhatton team