March is the month to prune summer-flowering shrubs such as buddleia. They will flower on new growth they make this year, so cut them back to a framework of branches to encourage lots of vigorous new shoots that will have time to mature and flower this summer.

They can also be cut back really hard to enable them to rejuvenate. I’ve got several in my garden, all around the pond area, which have been trimmed up in the last few days.

I really cannot believe how strong the winds were in the storms last month. While I was very lucky not to experience any real damage across the garden, it really looked as though some of the fences would come down. I had to go out and secure one with rope, tied against a firmly planted palm, to prevent it going over. It’s now had a concrete spur fitted to help prevent it happening again.

Many of the very large palms at Driftwood have been badly affected with their outer fronds so badly damaged with the incessant salt-laden winds that they will need to be cut off to make the plant look more attractive for when the garden opens. Let’s hope they soon start to grown new leaves.

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Bates Green, Tye Hill Road in Arlington, opened a couple of days after Storm Eunice hit and was not as busy as it had hoped but is open again for the National Garden Scheme, next weekend, on March 20 from 10.30am to 4pm. You will need to book your tickets online at where you can see all the other details as well. Light lunches and home-made teas will be available on the day too. It is a two-acre plants woman’s garden adjacent to the Bluebell Walk.

The front garden is a joy in winter with narcissi, primroses, violets and early tulips, along with coloured stems of cornus and salix. Visitors will also be able to walk through the daffodil glade too.

Now is the time we start checking on our trusty tortoise, Hector. It is around now that he wakes from his long winter sleep. He won’t be left outside in his pen as yet until the weather starts to warm up. If there is a nice sunny day, he will go out but be brought back in for the colder nights.

If, like me, you have been storing dahlias through the winter, then now is a good time to bring them out into the light and start them growing.

Once potted up they should produce shoots within a couple of weeks, ready for some grand displays this summer.

Read more of Geoff’s garden at