March actions

It’s time to cut down those Cornus (dogwood) stems  that  have been glowing red/green or orange  all winter and bring them inside so you can extend enjoyment of them, while allowing new growth buds to form outside.  If you cut only a third or half of the stems you can still have flowers this year and get coloured stems next winter from the new ones. Preferably place them in a turquoise pot so the colours can zing with each other!

Cornus siberica stems with Sarcoccoca

Cornus siberica stems with Sarcoccoca

Add some evergreen leaves if you like although I think they look great on their own generally. These ones are a bit twisted so I have added some Sarcocca stems. Sarcoccoa is still flowering here in London after more than 2 months,  sending out  sweet perfume to welcome all who arrive at our front door. A wonderful plant for a dark corner in winter. See more here

http://www.rhs.org.uk/Gardens/Wisley/About-Wisley/Plant-of-the-month/January/Sarcococca-hookeriana-var–digyna

Summer flowering clematis should generally  be pruned at about 30cm height now (but check which pruning group yours belong to first).

http://apps.rhs.org.uk/advicesearch/profile.aspx?pid=109

Cut the dead stems of summer flowering clematis to within about 30cm of the ground

Cut the dead stems of summer flowering clematis to within about 30cm of the ground

Stems of Miscanthus and Calamogrostis grasses should also be cut back before the new ones start to grow.  Tatty evergreen fern leaves can soon be removed to make way for new growth. Cut back old Sedum flowers which have been giving sculptural interest all winter and the new leaves should already have formed rosettes at the base. This brilliant plant  never has a dull moment. (see below)

Sedums: Now forming rosettes of grey green leaves at base

Sedums: Now forming rosettes of grey green leaves at base

Pulmonaria

Pulmonaria in flower now

Iris reticulata harmony

Iris reticulata harmony

Other plants that are great right now apart from daffodils & snowdrops are the Pulmonarias (lungwort)  and tiny reticulate irises .

And lastly the frogs have already started their activity in our pond (don’t they realize we only have room for 4 pairs?!!)  so if you have a bog garden or pond that needs cleaning out or cutting back this may be your last chance to avoid disturbing wildlife.

Bog garden partly cleared of roots and old stems: This makes way for new growth and leaves some open water for frog spawn

Bog garden partly cleared of roots and old stems: This makes way for new growth and leaves some open water for frog spawn

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About Kathy Taylor

I design gardens of all sizes, from small town courtyards to large country estates. I am happy to be involved in simple planting plans through to complete redesigns. Colour, texture and form are essential in my designs, which blend contemporary and traditional elements. I believe that the smaller details make a garden what it is. The garden is now regarded as an outside room to be enjoyed as an extension of your house.
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