March is the most popular month in Australia for marriages and births. So what about a garden wedding? Most brides have stephanotis in their posies, so you can try growing your own; they have pure white trumpet flowers and a romantic, connubial perfume.
JOBS TO DO NOW
• Most bulbs are on sale now. Plant jonquils immediately, but delay planting the other bulbs until next month.
• Start planning your spring display of annuals, pinching out growth tips and fertilising.
• Lots of weeds will be about, especially onion weed and oxalis. Some gardeners claim that these two weeds can be removed by hand, but this is not true; they will need several treatments of Roundup or Zero. These chemicals are most effective when plants are growing rapidly, so don’t bother to use them in winter. In lawn areas, let the grass and onion weed grow for a few weeks and the onion weed will stand up clear of the grass; it can then be carefully treated with a Zero Weeding Wand. Be careful not to put any Zero on the grass itself, and don’t walk on the Zero as your feet will transfer it to the grass.
• Prune straggly geraniums and fuchsias. If you like, use the prunings for cuttings-you could end up with new plants for free.
• This is your last chance to resurrect any crook bits in the lawn. A light fertilising with a Complete Lawn Food will cheer up the lawn and help it through the rigours of winter.
• In shady areas, oversow the lawn with Shady Lawn Seed or, better still, replace the lawn with low-maintenance ground covers such as native violets, ivy, gazanias, prostrate conifers or low growing natives, build a garden bed or rockery, or pave with bricks. Dichondra is a great lawn alternative for shaded spots.
• Compacted lawn areas or rock-hard soil should be aerated with a garden fork or power aerator (available from equipment hire shops).
TIME TO PLANT
• Strawberries can be planted now. If yours are a few years old, replace them with new virus-free plants and see if you can beat the kids, starlings and magpies to the fruit.
• Plant snapdragon seedlings now, and they will be in flower in time for the kids to play with in the May holidays. When you squeeze the flowers they open up like a lion’s mouth and can keep the children thoroughly amused for minutes!
• Plant bulbs now for flowers from late winter into spring. The hardiest bulbs are jonquils and freesias. In cooler areas you can enjoy daffodils, tulips and grape hyacinths.
• Nothing beats sweet peas or poppies as cut flowers, so plant some in amongst the stocks, violas and pansies. You can try the carpeting form of sweet pea known as Snoopea-unlike other sweet peas, Snoopea has no tendrils and does not climb; it just covers the ground in a kaleidoscope of fragrant red, blue, pink, and white blooms.
• Vegetables to be planted now include Brussels sprouts, beetroot, Chinese cabbage, peas, snow peas, cauliflower, lettuce, cabbage, silver beet, carrots, parsley and radishes.
Reference: Don Burke