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A Melbourne garden in March

By James Wall.

Walking around the nursery, it seems there is a lot to be done. There are a whole lot of plants that prefer to be planted at this time of year and we are determined to plant as many of these plants as we possibly can. Of course the daylight lengths are also getting shorter, so it’s time to get a wriggle on.

The list of plants that I would like to plant this month are wide and varied. Some we will eat and some we will enjoy in other ways. Like all things in nature, some plants will prosper, and some will fail. Let’s just hope more of them succeed than not. Some of the plants include:

foxglove

Foxglove – if you want them to flower in spring, now is the time to get them in. Their large leaves are lush and their tall flower spires make a spectacular backdrop. Available in punnets now.

Daffodils – once you have them growing, they will reward year after year. Available in lots of interesting creams and yellows, but the King Alfred are the all time favourites and perform well in Melbourne. Available as bulbs.

Garlic – planted now, a bulb can be broken up into around 8 cloves, each one growing into a new bulb. Multiply that again in a year and you could have 64 bulbs – what a return on your investment. Plant in March and April to get some good growth before winter and then in spring, watch them fly.

Pansies and violas – great value if planted now as they will perform strongly for many months. Pink shades are one of the best performers. Buy quality seedlings, as you will get better results from these stronger varieties. Stay away from Can Can and Giant Butterfly as these old varieties are not disease resistant.

Broccoli – it’s an Australian staple and quite easy to grow. Spray with Yates Success to control white cabbage moth larvae from chewing your leaves.

white onions and purple garlic

Onions – are one of the highest yielding crops per square metre, mainly because you can plant so close together. White onions are usually the first to be planted, but follow up with red or brown if you have the room.

Delphiniums – the vivid blue flowers in spring won’t happen if you don’t plant now. This is an old fashioned perennial garden plant and is not as readily available as it once was.

delphinium - plant seedlings now so they look like this in spring

 

 

Sweet Peas – don’t forget to sow them on St Patrick’s Day (March 17th) and follow it up with a Guinness, if that tickles you fancy.

The rewards in spring are well worth the effort. Great for climbing up posts and walls.

If planting in dry sandy soils, soak the seeds overnight in warm water. If the soil is moist, this is not necessary.

The best way to grow sweet pea is from seed. Just stick your finger in the soil and drop in 2 seeds. Plant 10cm apart.

The month old seedlings seem really slow like they are not doing much but then all of a sudden they will burst into frenzied growth and reward you with spring flowers. Truly a spectacular display when in full bloom.

Jobs in the garden for March, include feeding fruit trees, especially those you have harvested from in the last six months. Feed gardenias, and any other shrubs that look a bit faded in the leaves. This may even include native plants in which we recommend native fertiliser as it contains less phosphorus. Try the new Bush Tucker from Neutrog.

Lots to do and so little time. Throw in the Melbourne Flower Show from the 16th – 20th March and it truly is a great month for garden lovers. Ok, so we probably won’t get it all done, but then as all gardeners know, you never get it all done – there is always something to do in the garden – and that’s the way we love it.

Bulbs :

 Anenome. Daffodils, Dutch Iris, Freesia, Hyacinths, Jonquils, Tulips, Ranunculus

Flowers :

Aquilegia, Calendula, Cineraria, Delphinium, Hollyhock, Foxglove, Linaria, Nemesia, Pansy, Primula, Polyanthus, Poppy, Viola

Vegies & Herbs :

Beetroot, Brussel Sprouts, Broccoli, Cabbage, Cauliflower, Carrots, Coriander, Garlic, Lettuce, Leek, Parsnip, Onions, Oregano, Radish, Turnip, Thyme

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