March-the beginning of my favourite season.

I love Autumn. Obviously Spring is great in its abundance, but its very …busy. Autumn is much more peaceful, especially if the weather acts like it’s supposed to! Summer is altogether too hot for me, it’s my least favoured  season. Winter has high points like fires at night (or indeed all day) and hotties in bed, but the weather can get a bit intrepid for gardening. Autumn is obviously perfect, so long as you receive some Autumn rains, which we have.  The watering travail is hugely lessened and one can start planting some of the things that have been sitting around drooping in their pots all summer.

I wouldn’t usually expect March to really be Autumnal, it’s usually more like Summer, but this year it seems to have come early. Maybe the seasons heard about Easter being early…We’ve already had some nice chilly nights, the trees are starting to turn and drop their leaves, and the Spring bulbs are starting to appear already. I bought a lot of new ones this season, to fill up an area under the auspices of the Puriri tree. They always sprout quicker out of packets than they do in the ground.

The roses are having a good season. For once we’ve had just the right amount of rain, so they’re still flowering well. The flowers are still more like Summer flowers at this stage, but soon they will start producing their Autumn perfection blooms, which are my favourite. Maybe a bit smaller, but often more intense in colour and form.

The Asters this year have outdone themselves. Not only have they put on a wonderful strong show, but they also seem to have self seeded a lot in last Summer’s crazy rain and I have lots that have come up in new shades, mostly in very inconvenient places!

Whilst we do grow the old fashioned Michaelmas daisy type aster, which run at the root and can be rather a menace, these ones are clumping types that luckily stay in one place (except when they self seed!)

Because it’s feeling Autumnal early, I’ve made a start on cuttings for the season. At this stage I’m concentrating on plants with plenty of spare wood as there’s a high chance most of them will die and I’ll have to try again a bit later in the year. They are such fickle things though, rose cuttings…you never know when they’re going to do it!

I was reading my garden diary from a few years ago recently and was surprised to read I was potting up cuttings I’d made in February! “Wish I’d made more”, I said. You never bloody know what’s gonna work!!!

We are planning another Open Day for April (21st) so I’m also potting up things as I amend the Autumn garden which will provide a few new faces for that. We certainly have plenty of roses for sale too.

Another fun thing about Autumn is the hips on the roses colouring up, there are so many different shapes, sizes, textures and colours. The softer ones. like the Rugosas you have to grab quick before the birds and the mice. The harder ones are much better for a winter show, although eventually they all get eaten. Here is half a bucket I’ve grabbed before other predators to boil up for some rose hip syrup. The vitamin C count is off the register, so very good for fighting off winter ailments…

One last Autumn mention this year are the Dahlias. They’re having a lot of fun with the right amount of water  (a lot but no immersions) and sun (a lot but not too hot…)  Some start quite early in the Summer, others in late Summer /Autumn. If you keep dead heading them, they will keep flowering. If they get out of hand (common in my garden) you can cut them back hard and they will go again (so long as its not too close to Winter) Added bonus, when they resprout you can take these fresh bits for cuttings and they have a good strike rate.

If you aren’t so good at controlling your dahlias, you tend to get a lot of seedlings. Some end up being of note, and worth keeping on and propagating. Some . like this single here, are just pretty in passing…

So that’s it for March, next comes what is usually my fave with Easter time and now my granddaughter’s birthday as well a s my own , it tends to attract family gatherings, always nice!