Fingers crossed Spring has usually arrived by mid March. The fairer weather allows for a wider range of gardening jobs. Following the wettest winter in my memory I am desperate to get in the garden, however it is important to allow lawns and borders to dry out before working on them. If they are still saturated working on them will do more harm than good. I generally leave tidying up until the spring as it is better for wildlife. Once I have pruned my roses and cut back herbaceous perennials I will apply a mulch of organic matter. It is the best single investment of time and money you can do for your garden, its the old adage of “Look after the soil and the plants will look after themselves”.
Mulching with organic matter has many benefits……
- It helps to retain moisture in the summer.
- It will suppress weeds if applied thickly enough.
- It improves nutrient levels.
- It improves the structure of the soil.
- It will encourage beneficial soil organisms.
- It gives a nice decorative look to your borders.
The best mulch to use is homemade compost but most gardeners will not make enough to do the job, other materials such as mushroom compost, utility compost, well rotted farmyard manure or fine composted bark can also be used. It must be applied at a minimum depth of 5cm to be effective as a weed suppressant. All border ‘Housework’ should be done beforehand, such as weeding, dividing perennials and moving plants. Be careful not to mulch over the top of emerging perennials, leave a small collar around the outside of each plant.
Plant of the Season
Omphalodes cappadocica ‘Cherry Ingram’ – A long lived perennial forming clumps of evergreen lance shaped leaves, known for its delightful loose clusters of gentian blue flowers that appear in early spring. Preferring partial shade in a moisture retentive soil it makes a stunning addition to the woodland floor or shady rockery where it associates well with spring flowers, ferns and hostas. The Royal Horticultural Society have given it an AGM (Award of garden merit)