This is the month when spring will really come to life and we will begin to appreciate the freshness of new growth. We must also find time to sit and appreciate what is happening all around us, the garden we care for and the wildlife that joins us in our quarter acre patch.
On my first page for the new month I wrote, ‘March is the month when the garden should show signs of moving into spring, a month when we look forward to buds bursting on trees and shrubs and new fresh growth showing on perennials. We have noticed signs of wildlife returning to activity in the garden with bees, both honey and bumble, busy around flowering shrubs and bulb flowers. Birdsong is getting more tuneful as they begin to pair up and build nests. Blue Tits and Great Tits are exploring nest boxes and both Wrens and Robins busy themselves nest-building.’
Gardening tasks featured on the second page for March where I wrote, “For us early to mid-March is a busy time with plenty of tasks to be getting on with.“
The captions for the photos read, “Jude has been busy sowing seeds of herbaceous perennials”, “We have tidied the plants on our nursery shelves”, “I have been planting snowdrops in the green – ‘Galanthus elwesii’ and “We have been refreshing our bark paths and using the old bark as a mulch below trees.”
Gardening tasks continued over leaf,The first block of photos showed us working away mulching with the compost. The second block shows me pollarding my willows and a Cornus Midwinter Fire. I wrote, “a lorry arrived to deliver a load of green waste compost for us to share with our next door neighbour, Vicky. We aim to compost the front garden with a 2 inch deep mulch of this black magic gold.”, and followed by, “Then we began the long but enjoyable task of pruning willows and dogwoods.”
Onto the next page and I concentrate on our Salix (willows) and their catkins. I noted, “Some of the most beautiful flowers in March are the catkins of Salix (willows) and Betulas (Birches), their colours, textures, form and their ability to catch the light.”
The two blocks of photos show on the left the catkins of two varities of Salix gracilistyla. The pink catkins are of Salix gracilistyla ‘Mount Aso’ and the black ones from Salix gracilistyla ‘Melanostachys’ “ The second batch of photos shows the catkins of our pollarded willow, Salix acutifolia ‘Blue Streak’ and one of our many Birches, Betula albosinensis ‘Septentronalis’.
On the opposite page is a drawing of one of the most unusual and beautiful seed heads in the garden, Lunaria annua (Honesty) for which I turned to oil pastels.
For the next two pages I look at the new foliage growth of our many herbaceous perennials. I noted, “The second half of March sees the borders punctuated with fresh new growth of herbaceous perennials. There is so much variety of colour, texture, shape and structure. Exciting even more rapid growth will start soon!”
Over the page in complete contrast to the lush greens of newly emerged foliage I did two drawings of a grass seed head. The grass is an unusual one which is difficult to find for sale, Phaenosperma globosa, the second part of its name referring to the rounded seeds which are scattered around the delicate stems.
The left hand sketch was created in fine tipped fibre pens while the right hand drawing is in fine tipped mechanical pencil.
Opposite the drawings are photos of tree silhouettes against blue skies. I wrote, “Blue skies in March this year have been a rarity as we have suffered from dark grey clouds above us most days. But when we have had clear blue above our heads when we have been in the garden, it has been a rich, deep blue, great to show off tree silhouettes.”
In the gallery below I did include one flowering shrub, Ribes sanguineum ‘King Edward VII’ which is at its best with blue skies behind.
Garden tasks feature on the final page of my garden journal for March, where I stated, “As the weather improved towards the end of the month, we became so busy with typical springtime tasks, making sure we are ready for the new season.”
Beneath the first group of photos below I noted, “I cut deciduous ferns down to grass level, threw the prunings onto the grass . Jude then mowed the grass going over the fern cuttings and thus cutting them up mixing them with the grass mowings to create a great acidic mulch material.“
Beneath the next pair of photos I noted, “We regularly mist over our herbaceous seedlings and Jude revitalised the Scree Bed.”
Just four pictures remain organised in two pairs. Beneath the first pair I wrote, “We mulched the Shade Border with composted bark. Seedling weeds in the Rill Garden were dealt with by burning.”
Beneath the second pair I wrote, “We have been bringing out our garden sculptures from under cover.”
So there we have my entries for March in My Garden Journal 2021. We shall share another look in April.