TOMORROW, March 1, sees my second appearance this year on BBC Sussex’s Dig It with Joe Talbot. I’ll be talking about the gardens that open across North East Hampshire, Surrey and Sussex for the National Garden Scheme during the month of March. Why not join me at about 11.10am to hear what’s on offer.

March is going to see a really concerted effort, on my behalf, to get some of the basic tasks completed in the garden, ready to start the cycle of garden openings this year. The roof on the garden shed needs replacing and I’ve hired someone to come and do this for me next week. One job I’m not that keen on and it always seems to take forever, is the deep cleaning of all the patios and hard surfaces throughout the garden. I have to confess I’m thinking of getting someone in to do this for me as well, for the very first time this year. The prospect of getting the garden ready for all its openings seems harder as the years go by.

Now is the time to try and protect new shoots and growth from ever-present slugs. They are a persistent and widespread pest which can cause havoc in the garden, eating holes in leaves, stems, flowers, tubers and bulbs. They can cause damage throughout the year on a wide range of plants, but seedlings and new growth on herbaceous plants in spring are most at risk, so take care.

March is also the month you can contemplate planting some summer flowering bulbs, such as lilies and gladioli, both of which can provide dramatic, tall blooms that are beautifully scented. I have quite a large collection of lilies, all in containers which I sit on top of a border. When they have gone over in June, I simply lift the container out and replace with something else for the rest of the summer. Bulbs always make a fine display, planted in containers or borders, especially daffodils, snowdrops and tulips at this time of year. My first daffodils popped up during Storm Dennis earlier this month, fortunately beneath some shrubs, which gave them a degree of protection from the strong winds.

I have recently had to clear out my mother’s house in Oxfordshire, as she has decided to sell, as she moved in with us in late 2018. There were some things from her garden I brought back with me before it went on the market, ornaments, a bench that my dad used to sit on and a few plants.

All I have to do now is to find space for them at Driftwood.

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