March sees more varied weather than in any other month. However there is no doubt that gardening begins in earnest this month; the birds are singing, there are signs of renewed life everywhere while better light levels, longer daylight hours and generally warmer temperatures, encourage the gardener to venture outside.
There are plenty of jobs to do and seeds, bulbs and plants to be planted. One word of warning: drying winds are a feature of March weather so beware when planting more tender subjects or shrubs with very soft emerging foliage. You will also be amazed how plants will dry out, especially newly planted subjects or plants in containers, so be prepared to water.
In the garden hellebores, hepaticas, primroses and cowslips should be putting on a spectacular show while the coloured stems and bark of birches, maples, cherries, dogwoods and scarlet willow still have an important part to play. Very early spring-flowering shrubs add colour and fragrance: most notable are cultivars of Daphne bholua, Sarcococca, Skimmia and Viburnum tinus. Ribes sanguineum ‘White Icicle’ is a must-have plant for March when its large drooping clusters of pure white flowers slowly unfurl. Forsythia can always be relied on to give a splash of colour and it’s worth looking out for recent introductions which are more compact than some of the older varieties and more suited to the smaller garden. Camellias are the show-stoppers of this month, guaranteed to bring the ‘wow factor’ to any garden.