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Southern Gardening - Potpourri for March

When I think of the month of March, I see kite flying with colorful tails dancing in the wind, I see bright yellow daffodils bobbing their heads, and tulips bursting into bloom. I see the harbingers of spring. And what a sight to see. There are also so many wonderful scents such as the old fashion French hyacinths which return year after year at the farm planted years ago in gumbo soil. The daffodils, which multiply and come back year after year are: Mount Hood, Ice Follies, and Carlton. If you are in our area and see these for sale, buy as many as you can. You will really get your money's worth over the years.

If you have not made a garden scheme or plan, or you are just plain bored with what you have used over the past few years, then change it up. Sometimes you must rethink the plan because suddenly there is too much shade with the only solution is to cut back or cut down a tree. Even taking steps to prune low lying limbs may help. And I hate to declare the death penalty for the tree, but a plan that includes more shade loving flowers is a great alternative. You may even have to have shade tolerant plants in the back of the bed and sun loving in the front of the bed. Also, we do have some flowers that thrive in both sun and shade. The color range in both types of plants have vastly grown over the years. In other words, you may duplicate the color scheme you want and still use shade loving plants. Sun exposure is tricky, but a little trial and error is useful.

Garden Chores for March

1. Weeding. A neverending task this time of year, but these annual late winter weeds are so simple to pull out. For instance, dock is wide spreading but has a small root system, which means you can accumulate a large pile with very little effort. These are the type of weeds, which will be killed off with a lot of warmth, so once they are gone, they are gone for good, or until this time next year.

2. Planting. Now is the time to fill in some of the areas of the beds that have not been planted with winter annuals or perennials such of lambs ears, dusty miller, dianthus and pansies. Geraniums, begonias, canna lilies, elephant ears, come to mind. I would not plant impatiens until closer to the end of March. These are mostly fillers and will carry the beds through most of the summer.

3. Fertilizing. Purchase a good all round fertilizer with 8-8-8 or 10-10-10 and work into the soil. You can also spread Osmocote now that the temps get above 45%, but Osmocote much more expensive and can be used in summer when the commercial grade fertilizers may burn the foliage. Spraying with a liquid fertilizer is also a good idea. Just buy a hose end spraying, add the correct amount of a water soluble, fertilizer, then add water to the proper dilution rate, and spray away.

4. Stop to smell the roses and take in all the joyous sights of the flowering trees such as Red Bud, Japanese Magnolia; and shrubs, such as Loropetalum, Forsythia, and quince.

Happy St. Patrick’s Day & Good Gardening!


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