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Enjoy spring flowers and new life during the delightful month of March
We are now officially in the period of meteorological spring and before long we will reach astronomical spring which commences on 20 March. Whichever way you look at it, we are on the turn and the most exciting of seasons is just about upon us. Why do most people come alive in spring? It marks the season of new life. Lambs, baby birds, puppies, kittens and more. They might not all appear immediately but chances are they are on the way!
The garden awakes
There's a huge stirring in the garden too. It's amazing how plants respond to the increasing light levels and the chances are that you can already see plenty of daffodils, crocuses and the last show of snowdrops, hellebores, winter aconites and more.
Magnolias bursting forth. Indeed, many have already opened their pink and white flowers already. Down in Cornwall it is, in fact, the blooming of Magnolias that marks the true arrival of spring. Head gardeners working within the Great Gardens of Cornwall Group all record their Magnolia progress and once seven Magnolia campbellii have 50 or more open blooms, spring is declared in England. The process is now being extended across the whole of England with the Great Garden Watch through the RHS.There are marvellous
Down on the allotment
This is the season when garden lovers skip around with uplifted spirits, happy to be outdoors for longer periods. Allotmenteers are wielding their barrows and busy in their greenhouses sowing tomato seeds, pricking out seedlings and growing on. Shallots and onion sets can go in now. Potatoes can be chitted, planted and earthed up and cucumbers, peppers, chillies and aubergines can be germinated.
Don't forget the pots and baskets!
This is a perfect time to prepare hanging baskets too. They can bring a splash of colour to places that greenery doesn't reach. It is, of course, too early for them to go outside but they can be planted up and seeds of annuals such as lobelia, bidens and petunias such as the amazing million bells can be sown. Keep them protected until at least May.
Wildlife in spring
It's also the perfect time to put up nest boxes and every single one is valuable. Choose a sheltered site, protected from strong winds and direct sunlight and angle them downwards to shield against rain. There are many once-common garden birds such as sparrows and starlings that need a bit of help from a conservation point of view. Bear in mind that different types of box suit certain species. Robins and pied wagtails, for examples like boxes with a slot or open front whilst tits, sparrows and wrens like little holes. There are cup-shaped nests designed to fit under house eaves to suit house martins and swallows, and larger boxes for owls.
The first roses of spring: Primula
primrose? Prima rosa translates as first rose and these beautiful plants epitomise early spring. A pioneer of early plant breeding was one Florence Bellis (1906-1987) who influenced the breeding of primula by using her index finger to transfer pollen between plants. She hybridised these beautiful plants and developed more colourful strains. Primula are now available in blues, purples, reds, pinks, yellows creams, browns, oranges, ginger and stripes. They love early spring sun, moist but well-drained soil and summer shade. Plant them on banks, near ditches and tucked under shrubs and of course they are very happy in pots that can be moved in summer to prevent them drying out.Doesnt everyone love a