6 March 2009
The last two weeks of February were characterised by calm, mild weather with grey, overcast skies.
These conditions provided plenty of opportunities for digging, weeding and planting - delayed by the snow and ice at the start of the month. March brings a noticeable change of atmosphere with lighter evenings, and the birds are more active - a sign that spring is on the way. In a matter of weeks the dark winter days will be past, giving more time to enjoy the garden and finish off preparations for planting. However, the weather for March is looking unsettled, with temperatures forecast to drop, bringing cooler conditions.
The garden centres and nurseries are full of spring flowering plants - violas, pansies, dwarf Narcissi, Jonquils (tiny daffodils) and brightly coloured primroses; all can be used for early spring displays to brighten up the garden, patio or window box.
The wild primrose (cultivated for sale) has delicate pale lemon flowers and is an ideal container plant - less showy than the bright coloured hybrids of the same species. Viburnum tinus, a winter flowering evergreen shrub and Euonymus, another evergreen with variegated foliage, bought as small specimens (six to eight inches) can be grown in containers alongside spring flowers.
The evergreen shrubs can be left when the seasonal displays are changed.
One notable plant that starts flowering in early March is Camellia japonica. If there is only room for one shrub in the garden or container choose a Camellia.
They are not difficult to grow but have one key requirement - a peat based soil.
This can be achieved by digging in peat (preferably the peat substitute compost) before planting and adding this compost around the plant twice a year in spring and autumn. If Camellias are grown in containers, a proprietary peat compost can be used; they do not like tap water and so rain (or filtered) water is needed.
Camellias have dark glossy green leaves year round, in January the flower buds appear followed by gorgeous luxurious blooms in March. The colour range is pale pink, salmon pink, deep pink, red stripped pink or palest white. They do not need pruning (only to remove dead or damaged branches) and grow in a bushy habit.
RAILTON ROAD SE24,
Leasehold, For Sale
TEA TRADE WHARF SE1, £1,295,000 , For Sale
TOWER BRIDGE WHARF E1W, £550 , per week, For Sale
PROVIDENCE SQUARE SE1, £1,600,000 , For Sale