March heralds the arrival of Spring so there is always a lot to do in the garden…

  • Prune shrub roses (see separate advice note on rose pruning) and give a good mulch of manure afterwards making sure not to cover the base of the plant as roses hate that.
  • Prune mophead hydrangea back to first two plump buds and cut out one or two of the oldest stems at the base to encourage new growth.
  • Prune Hydrangea Paniculata in much the same way but these can be pruned harder by cutting back to the lowest pair of healthy buds to create a low framework of branches which should produce large flowers.
  • Prune the coloured stems of cornus (dogwood) to encourage new growth. Stick cut stems in jugs of water and they will bud and flower for weeks.
  • Prune cotinus (smoke bush). Mine is a bit of a thug so I am quite ruthless pruning down to around 50cm at the expense of the flowers but the resulting leaf display is fabulous!
  • Cut back honeysuckle – again be quite ruthless if the plant has got out of hand.
  • Cut down perennials such as Penstemons and Perovskia (Russian Sage). Penstemons can be cut down almost to ground level and Perovskia to around 15cm.
  • Shear off old leaves of Epimedium to allow fresh new leaves to pop up from below.
  • Start mulching with manure or a combination of well rotted leaf mould and compost.