March Garden Blog
March is a month of change and a month of doing in the garden.
The weather can be unpredictable and a vigilant eye on the forecast is necessary to avoid being caught out by frosts or storms. As the Saxons foretold, Solmonath brought us great storms, rain, and subsequent mud! We were fortunate to not sustain any great damage here in the gardens during the three big storms of February but sadly a small number of trees in the landscape did succumb.
Today, as I write, is National Women’s Day and as with many other gardens, the gardens at Grimsthorpe have been greatly influenced by women throughout its history, an important tradition that continues with the present Lady Willoughby de Eresby and the female gardeners involved with the gardens ongoing development and maintenance.
As we head closer to the spring equinox it is ever more noticeable how each day becomes longer, and the sun feels brighter. As the snowdrops fade, they are replaced by a great array of spring flowers including Anemones, Scilla, Primulas, Chionodoxa, Iris, Crocus and Narcissi. This ever-changing display creates a tapestry of colour and really does signal the start of spring and the season ahead.
Anemones, Primula and Narcissi ©Jim Handley
Formal lawns at Grimsthorpe ©Jim Handley
Grass will grow when the temperature reaches 6°C so may not stop during a mild winter. We have had the opportunity to mow just once so far this year and the recent wet weather has delayed our start to mowing this spring. Being situated on heavy clay our grass has great reserves of energy to draw on and grows rapidly throughout much of the year. The first cut is always a rewarding task, but one that comes with some apprehension as we know that when we start mowing it will be a twice weekly routine to keep everywhere looking sharp throughout the season.
To help us with this mammoth task we introduced automatic mowers to the gardens last year to look after three large lawns. The benefits they provide are significant, working overnight to reduce the noise impact on our visitors, reducing fuel usage to help reduce our carbon footprint and allowing us to reallocate labour costs to other important areas of the gardens.
If you are planning to mow your grass soon it is good to remember to gradually reduce it over time, removing more than a third of growth can weaken it and give disease, moss and weeds an advantage.
Work continues in the gardens keeping up with springs increasing pace. The glasshouses are beginning to fill with trays of seeds ready to provide crops and flowering displays for the rest of the year.
Spring seedlings ©Jim Handley
When Old Jack Frost pays an unexpected visit! ©Jim Handley
This month will mark another exciting new chapter at Grimsthorpe as we will welcome volunteers to Grimsthorpe for the first time. If you would like to find out more about volunteering with us, please find the details on our website.
A small sample of the jobs that can be carried out this month include:
- Lawn renovation
- Potting up Dahlia tubers
- Seed sowing – indoors as well as outside towards the end of the month
- Lift, split and replant herbaceous plants
As always, whatever you have planned for March in your gardens, enjoy yourselves, gardening should be fun and experimental so get out there and get growing and we are looking forward to welcoming you all back to Grimsthorpe in April, but don’t forget to keep an eye out for Old Jack Frost!
Head of Gardens & Landscape.