“Springtime is the land awakening. The March winds are the morning yawn.”
– Lewis Grizzard
1st March 2018 saw the beginning of the meteorological spring but it certainly didn’t feel like it as most of us were battling the “Beast From The East” (or winter as it used to be known). The weather certainly controls the gardening year with seed sowing and other dates being merely guidelines, varying hugely across the country.
Regrettably, the weather has also controlled sending our monthly newsletter out on time this month and we apologise sincerely for the delay. The usually balmy Devon climate suddenly switched to sub-zero temperatures and a thick blanket of the white stuff causing us to be snowed out of the office for 2 days. When we returned to the office after the big thaw, we also discovered that the snow had caused one of our polytunnels to collapse. See below for the full story and to provide a new home for our “Orphaned” Senetti plants with a fantastic offer while stocks last.
With the Beast From The East now behind us, now really is the time to start getting excited about spring, longer days, warmer temperatures and beautiful gardens. We’ve been working hard here at Suttons getting everything ready for the new season. Our Pick & Mix bedding and basket plant range provides an economical way to fill your garden with colour. Summer bulbs, perennials and shrubs will also be needed to add structure and interest to your plot. And then there’s fruit and veg to be grown and harvested for delicious summer eating.
In the words of nature journalist Hal Borland – “No winter lasts forever; no spring skips its turn.”
Our top ten recommended tasks this month include:
- Long awaited daffodils will be fading now so strengthen the bulbs for next year by snapping off the deadheads. Don’t be tempted to remove the leaves, untidy as they may look they really do need to be left to die down naturally if you want a good display next year.
- As spring bulbs come to an end now is the time to plant summer flowering ones, including lilies, anemones, dahlias, begonias and gladioli. Wait until the soil begins to warm and choose a sunny spot in free-draining soil. Summer bulbs will also do well grown in pots. Remember to plant at 2 to 3 times the depth of the bulb.
- Sow tomato seed this month and you’ll be picking the fruits by the end of June. See below for more on tomatoes.
- Time spent weeding now will prevent them from spreading later as the ever-strengthening sun encourages growth. It will also help to aerate the soil.
- Cut down any perennials left from last year so that new growth can form. Now is the time to put supports in place for the plants to grow up and through.
- Sow, sow, sow! March is prime seed sowing time so make sure you’ve got the seeds you want, plenty of seed trays and compost and then get started. Hardy annuals can be sown direct where you want them to flower.
- Lawn mowing starts this month, depending on the weather! Set the blades nice and high and remember to skirt round any clumps of bulbs. Neatening the edges of the lawn will give the garden an instant lift.
- The deadheads on hydrangeas will have provided the plant with winter protection but can now be removed. Using sharp secateurs, cut the stem back to the first strong, healthy pair of buds down from the dead flower.
- Plants growing in containers will need regular watering from this month onwards with some needing repotting. If the plant is too large to repot simply remove some of the top compost and replace with fresh.
- Garden birds continue to need your help so please keep feeders clean and well stocked and remember to also supply fresh water.
“Snow Orphan” Senetti Plants
When we returned to our offices and nurseries after the snow had thawed, we were shocked to discover that one of our polytunnels had collapsed under the weight of the snow that had fallen.
We had been growing some stunning Senetti plants in this polytunnel and planned to use them for a special Easter promotion. However, we now need to quickly find them a new home and are offering at an extra special promotional price of 4 for just £15 while stocks last.
The new flower buds on these plants will survive light frosts but we recommend protecting them for the next few weeks. By Easter they will be a mass of vibrant, almost iridescent blues, pinks and purples that will continue throughout the summer.
Tomatoes are one of the easiest of fruits to grow and one of the most rewarding. The Suttons Spring Planner 2018 includes an 8-page tomato plant pull out so order now if you haven’t already received your free copy – http://www.suttons.co.uk/CatalogueRequest.aspx
Caring for our Environment
Gardeners care about the environment, as do we here at Suttons. We are pleased to have achieved organic accreditation for the production of our plug plants and have committed to the eradication of the use of any neonicotinoid pesticides this spring at all our nurseries.
Our warehouse roof now supports £200,000 of solar panels and Suttons is now a net contributor of electricity to the National Grid. In addition, we have turned over 2 acres of previously mown grass to meadow and trees which have already been colonised by many wildflower species including native orchids!
We are currently reviewing our use of plastics with the aim of reducing or eliminating it wherever possible. For example, future catalogue mailings, where there are no inserts, will be mailed without any plastic wrapping.
Calling all Beekeepers
Gardening and beekeeping are natural partners. Gardeners need bees, and other insects, to pollinate flowers and crops and beekeepers need gardeners to provide a food source for their bees. So, it shouldn’t come as much of a surprise to learn that Suttons is now working closely with National Bee Supplies.
A brand-new catalogue is available this month featuring not only a full range of exceptional hives and beekeeping equipment but also a range of bee-friendly plants, seeds and shrubs. What’s more, a new website will be launching on March 13th so be sure to visit www.beekeeping.co.uk to see what’s new in the exciting world of Beekeeping.
Zinnia Molotov Mix
For colourful, long-stemmed flowers just perfect for cutting and bringing indoors, Zinnia Molotov Mix is a must. New and exclusive to Suttons these are tall plants, for the back or middle of the border, producing attractive medium-sized, single or semi-double blooms in a wide range of colours.
Flowering from July until the end of September, Zinnia Molotox Mix is a cut-and-come-again plant. The more you cut then the more blooms you will get.