March is the month that begins the display of spring bulbs. To ensure a long and spectacular display next spring, start a list of what bulbs bloom in your garden this season. Be sure to tuck that list in your Garden Journal! Note exactly when each plant blooms, its location in the garden, and what colors are springing up. In late summer and fall, when the bulb catalogs arrive, you will be able to look for species and cultivars that will add color when and where you need it most.
Careful selection is the secret to extending the bloom time of daffodils and tulips from early spring to almost early summer. Order a selection of cultivars described in catalogs as “early,” “midseason,” and “late.” I am always the gardener that has spring “regrets” about not planting bulbs last fall.
The snow has melted and now we enter the season of muddy, mushy lawns and flower beds. Here are some tasks we need to consider for the month of March: 1) Begin sowing those seeds that will need 8 to 10 weeks indoors before transplanting, 2) test and tune up gasoline-powered equipment, 3) continue pruning dormant trees, 4) continue inspecting houseplants and plants over-wintered indoors for pests and diseases, 5) finish pruning fall-bearing raspberries, prune blueberries, currants, and fruit trees, 6) at the end of the month, or when the earth is “crumbly,” till the vegetable garden, 7) cut back ornamental grasses, 8) rake and dispose of winter’s accumulation of leaves and other debris, and 9) turn your compost.
My favorite garden blogger, Margaret Roach (A Way to Garden), made me laugh today by saying, “My best March advice: Make like a daffodil. Poke your head up and have a look around-but be prepared to abort the mission, and even get snowed on. Be ready to act when the forces are willing, but be patient, too. Except in frost-free zones, there are really two March chore lists: “If frozen…….” And the other, “If thawed……”
Every day we have a few more minutes of daylight. It won’t be long before we can dig in the dirt and start battling the weeds. I’m dreaming of sun-warmed tomatoes fresh off the vine.