This is already the third visit to my Garden Journal 2020 and this month is officially the start of spring. On the first day for March I wrote, “March, the month when we are informed by the Met Office, marks the start of spring, from the first day in fact. This seems so inappropriate as the only true signs of new seasons are the changes in the weather and in plants. We are having a few bright days early in March but we still wake to hard frosts sometimes. In the garden we are beginning to see signs of spring, opening leaf buds that give brightest greens or deep reds and purples.”
On the next page I wrote, “They say of March, ‘In like a lion, out like a lamb’, an old-wives’ tale. The end of February was all ‘lion-like’ and so we spent the first week of March helping our house and garden recover from the damage wreaked by three violent storms.”
“Two specimen trees were flattened as were climber-covered trellises. Fence panels were destroyed and our back gate escaped from its hinges”
“Hard work every day for a week soon had us looking reasonably ‘ship-shape’. The fences and trellis were replaced with stronger versions and some trees were upright once again.”
Over the page we get colourful as we feature spring bedding primulas. “March gives us plenty of colour from short-growing flowering primulas and shrubs. Our native Primroses are our true favourite but this year we have added a few bedding primulas for extra colour. The other single flowers are self-seeded crosses relating to our original primroses plus other herbaceous hardy primulas.”
Next I looked at garden tasks we had to get done in March. “Tasks in the garden in March included planting a new long thin border at the bottom of our drive. The border is part in our garden and part in our neighbours. We planted a variety of thymes, low-growing sedum, plus small carex grasses and other succulents.
“Our Cercis siliquastrum is back upright once again! Ian our garden helper giave the lawn its first cut, while Jude treated our trellises with organic algae remover.”
“A new pot of foliage plants is planted up with small foliage shrubs with a carex for added texture.”
Over onto the next double page spread I looked at coloured stems and bark. I wrote, “Probably the star of our garden in winter and early spring is Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire” which we grow as pollards. So we get the brightest of stems possible in shades of yellow, coral, oranges and reds. At the end of the month we will cut it back to its knobbly heads.”
I included a print of an i-Pad sketch of Cornus ‘Midwinter Fire’ and a photo taken last April showing the same shrub after pollarding.
On the opposite page I continued, “Stem and bark plants of the month for March are acers. We grow a few dozen different acers in our garden, both shrubs and trees. When we buy a new one we look jointly at leaf colour and shape as well as bark interest be it colour pattern or texture.”
The four photos of the acers are from left to right in top row, we have
Acer ‘George Forrest’, Acer palmatum.
The bottom row from left to right shows another Acer palmatum and Acer pectinatum.
The page included my set of 3 crayon sketches of Acer sango kaku.
The final double page spread for March looks at our “Foliage plant of the month” and the “Flowering plant of the month”.
The final page for March features my ‘flowering plant of the month, which is pulmonaria. I wrote, “These little gems of late winter into early spring give us flowers of pink, white and blue, with some flowers showing off by displaying pinks and blues on the same flower heads. There are many more still to flower and develop their distinctive foliage too.”
I then shared nine photos illustrating just a few of our pulmonarias.
The final page for this month features a few more garden tasks we have completed, “The last week or so of March gave us a real treat, bright blue skies and warmth, so we took the opportunity to get a few more tasks completed.”
“We planted up our water garden in a bowl, which Ian our helper, prepared back in February. We had to get it level first though – quite a challenge! We planted it up with 5 plants – Iris ‘Black Gamecock’, Isolepsis cernua, Nymphaea ‘Snow Princess’, the oxygenator Ceratophyllum demersum and a tiny bullrush Typha minima.”
“We cleared areas of grass so that we could sow a wildflower seed mix to create little areas of meadow and we potted on the perennials on our nursery shelves.”
So that is my garden journal entries for March – we shall open its pages again for April.