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Last Month in My Garden, March 2018

“March comes in like a lion and goes out like a lamb.” March 1st 2018 started with -8°C and did not reach zero all day; there was a strong cold wind. Snow flurries were blown around, although there was not a lot of snow (that came next day). For three days I did not venture further into the garden than the bird-table and woodshed but the thaw brought cabin fever and the certainty that spring must come! It did and by the 16th the temperature had risen to 14°C. However, next morning I again arose to snow showers and a very cold wind. From the back of the house, I look out on a grassy hill. There are just a few hawthorn bushes but, in their lee, lambs were huddled together, trying to evade the wind. Not the usual idea of a rural spring scene and I had an Open Day the following day. Sadly, more snow and ice came and it had to be cancelled (the paths were too icy). Not a flower was to be seen.

Narcissus ‘Rapture’

Narcissus ‘Sailboat’

Narcissus ‘Bowles's Early Sulphur’

The flower of March is a daffodil but this has not been an early season. The first Narcissus ‘February Gold’ did not open until March 12th and on the 17th ‘St. Patrick’s Day’ was barely showing green buds – not a trace of colour. Probably their breeders grew them in a warmer location! ‘Tête-à-tête’ and ‘Rapture’ opened steadily to put on a good display, along with Chionodoxa, which have been recently renamed Scilla. Narcissus pseudonarcissus has seeded around and is now well-established but I have transplanted some seedlings to colonise new areas. I usually try some new daffodils each year. This year it was ‘Peeping Jenny’ and ‘Elizabeth Ann’. I also planted some ‘Sailboat’ and ‘Katie Heath’, both of which are looking good. I have had them before but they are not always as persistent as I should like; surprisingly, the more tender-looking ‘Avalanche’ has survived for several years.


Helleborus x hybridus seedling

Corydalis solida subsp. solida ‘George Baker’

My new ‘woodland’ borders have increased in interest. The 2-year old border has been particularly pleasing in March; it is heartening to see buds coming up and to know that plants have survived. The first daffodil here was ‘Bowles’s Early Sulphur’, which has clumped up well. I have just added ‘Gipsy Queen’; all the daffodils I have planted in this area are small. Aucuba japonica ‘Dentata’ has berried and looks healthy, as do the other evergreens. Corydalis solida ‘George Baker’ is another success; I am keeping it separate from another planting of corydalis in mixed colours, in the hope that the seedlings will all be red. The hellebores are all doubles and there are dozens of new seedlings, which should give a high percentage of doubles. The flowers did not open until late in the month, two months later than plants in a sunnier position. They will probably last well because the end of the month did not follow the old proverb; it was cold and wet.

Margaret Stone

Posted by Margaret Stone

Vist Margaret's garden on one of the NGS open days.

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