March in your garden

Early autumn is like an alternative spring and March is actually the best month to plant new trees and shrubs, according to Life is a Garden, which points out: “It’s logical – whatever you plant in this temperate month, will have the whole autumn and winter to establish before bursting into new growth in spring, which removes the possibility of the plants having to deal with replanting shock. So, get to it – get in the garden!”

Trendy planting…

Be part of changing the face of gardening by planting tried and tested, hardy plants which need less water.

  • Social garlic – The hardy and easy-to-grow social or wild garlic (Tulbaghia violacea) has always been a popular indigenous perennial.

Grown for its bountiful mauve flower clusters on tall stems, its greyish-green strap-like leaves emit a garlicky odour. Flowers, leaves and stems are edible and can be used for their flavour, as well as garnish.

  • Wild garlic (see image) has traditionally been used as a medicinal plant, and is also planted to deter snakes and aphids. It is a water wise plant to include in the herb garden, or to be used in mass as border plants.

New exciting varieties include:

  • ‘Himba’ – purple-violet flowers with a prominent yellow-orange crown, medium green foliage and vigorous, upright-mounding growth habit.
  • ‘Ashanti’ – tight, full flower clusters of bright lavender-pink flowers that have a slightly darker crown and tube in the centre of each flower.
  • Crape myrtle ‘Black Diamond’ – This is a new variety of the old favourite Pride of India (Lagerstroemia indica) which has survived many dry summers all over the world!

This revolutionary new series, which has stunning near-black foliage, crowned with masses of vibrant blooms, is no exception. It is low-maintenance and drought tolerant, and simply beautiful! Available in a wide range of colours, including Black Diamond ‘Purely Purple’, ‘Mystic Magenta’, ‘Lavender Lace’, ‘Best Red’ and ‘Pure White’.

  • Dreamy hibiscus – a superior selection of upright, mounding and free-flowering hibiscus marketed under the brand name HibisQs, is just waiting to be planted. The foliage is dark green and glossy, and the flowers vary from yellow (Boreas yellow), two-tone pink and white (Adonicus), two-tone orange and yellow (Apollo), bright orange (Arionicus) and apricot (Adonicus Apricot).

Most of the flowers have dark coloured throats. This is a series of late summer-flowering shrubs to plant in sunny and light shade in containers on a patio or balcony, or in the garden. Medium to low water usage in the garden, but will need a little more in pots.


According to Stodels Garden Centre, March is also a prime sowing month for autumn and winter crops to set yourself up for an abundance of tasty winter veggies.

They suggest you begin your veggie garden by sowing leafy greens such as lettuce, spinach and Swiss chard and cool-season herbs such as chives, rocket and calendula.  Grow easy root crops like carrots, broad beans, beetroot and radishes and try your hand at brassicas by sowing broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower and kale.

Other fresh ideas from Stodel

  • Clean up your garden for winter
  • Lightly trim plants that may be out of shape or overgrown. This will give them time to harden up before the cooler weather arrives.
  • If your lawn is old, feels sponge-like, and is difficult to mow without ‘scalping’, cut it as low as possible by crosscutting and lowering the blade after each cut. This will get rid of the layer of dead thatch hiding between the soil surface and the green top.
  • Compost areas cordoned off for new planting and where soil needs added nutrients.
  • Mulch around azaleas, hydrangeas and camellias to keep the roots cool and moist. This will also help to fight back weed growth.

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