Jobs to do in the garden during spring

Orange California poppies bloom in springOrange California poppies bloom in spring
Orange California poppies bloom in spring
March brings some sunny days to tempt gardeners back into the garden and many of us are aching for spring. This is the month for sowing seeds and getting the garden ready for the summer months ahead.

It’s also the perfect time for a mini makeover project and creating a sunny wildflower border is something that even the most novice gardener can take on.

Wildflowers are easy to grow and a sunny border will attract pollinators and birds. The smallest area can look attractive and benefit wildlife, so don’t overlook that tiny patch of lawn that is never used, or pots on the patio that could do with a new look.

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Keep in mind that wildflowers do not like too rich a compost – they prefer poor soil with few nutrients. Make sure you read the seed packet to find out how much seed to sow for the size of your plot and, as wild flower seeds can be on the small side, mix them with a bit of sand as it makes distributing them easier. Once scattered water gently and keep the soil damp until the seeds have germinated.

In the mix of wildflower seeds you select, think about including some poppy seeds. The California poppy is grown by wildlife gardeners for its ability to provide pollen for bees and hoverflies. It’s also perfect for including in a vegetable garden as a companion plant – especially for vulnerable varieties such as broad beans – because hoverflies love eating aphids. The orange flowers complement the rich variety of greens found in leafy crops and salad vegetables, California poppies also come in pink, white and yellow.

In addition to stocking your garden with wildlife-friendly plants, other top jobs for gardeners this month include:

Pruning bush and climbing roses – remember to cut out dead or diseased stems and spindly or crossing stems, keep cuts to 5mm above a bud sloping downwards and cut to an outward-facing bud.

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Planting shallots, onion sets and early potatoes. Onions are a versatile vegetable – they feature in recipes and growing your own means you’ll always have them to hand.

Planting summer-flowering bulbs. Bulbs make a fine display planted in containers or borders, especially daffodils, snowdrops and tulips in spring. They are one of the easiest garden plants to grow.

Here’s what the experts have to say

Sunny days provide the opportunity for an increasing range of gardening tasks. It's time to get busy preparing seed beds, sowing seed, cutting back winter shrubs and generally tidying up around the garden.


March is likely to have bright sun, gales, rain, hail, snow, ice. Whatever the weather, spring is here. It is a busy month. Winter work has to be completed and spring work begun. There are seeds to be sown and seedlings pricked out, deciduous pruning and planting to be completed, borders to be dug and mulched, herbaceous plants to be lifted and divided.

Monty Don