Bursts of colour: what to plant in March
Around the country, the cooler mornings and evenings herald the beginning of autumn and an indication that it's time for some maintenance in the garden.
Available in an amazing array of colour combinations, gazanias are brightly coloured flowers that attract a host of insects to aid with pollination.
The sun is still hot and sitting high in the sky, with no great hurry to set at the end of the day, so we should make the most of this beautiful weather by nurturing the garden. This is the time when we prepare the garden for winter- and spring-flowering bulbs.
Gardening in March
The weather is still relatively warm, but as growth starts to slow down and temperatures start to drop, it’s time to consider planting the first cooler weather plants and flowers. Now is the beginning of the all-important autumn planting season.
If you are starting a new garden, or revamping an existing garden, choose plants that need minimum water.
Grab your wheelbarrow and start preparing the soil for planting winter and spring annuals by digging in compost and superphosphate or bone meal, at the recommended application rates.
As for garden maintenance: lift and divide perennials, raise the height of mower blades as winter approaches and growth slows down and rake fallen leaves from the grass with a soft plastic or rubber rake to prevent fungal diseases.
Add colour to your autumn garden
Available in an amazing array of colour combinations, gazanias are brightly coloured flowers that attract a host of insects to aid with pollination. The flowers open and close depending on the intensity of the light, which is why you should plant them in full sun, where they’ll be happiest.
On a sunny day, your garden will be bursting with colour and teaming with nature's own aerobics if you’ve chosen to plant gazanias, and, best of all, these plants will flower for most of the year. You can’t ask for better value-for-money.
You can use gazanias as ground covers because of their water-wise nature and ability to grow practically anywhere, as long as there is sun. Their trailing nature also makes them ideal for hanging baskets and can add a bold splash of colour to a small townhouse garden.
A variety of vegetable seeds can also be planted now, including peas, broad beans, carrots, parsnips, turnips and radishes.
Whether you’ve got a flower bed that needs some bold colour or a sunny patio needing a bright container, gazanias are just the thing you need, and you can plant them during March for beds or pots of glorious colour.
What to plant
This month is perfect for planting winter and spring flowers. Prepare beds for winter annuals by working in generous amounts of compost and superphosphate.
Sweet peas, African daisies, bokbaaivygies and virginian stocks are some of the more significant flowers to plant.
Poppies, primula, foxgloves, hollyhock and larkspur can also be sown during this time. In colder areas, plant out early seedlings of stocks, calendulas and snapdragons. Use a good seedling mix when sowing your seeds.