Diary of an Orkney Gardener – March (part 2)
March provides the last chance to cut back all last year’s dead growth and, let’s face it, autumn was just too wet to get anything done. It is not a great idea here to cut too much back in autumn as old growth protects new shoots which can be susceptible to wind burn. Generally, frost is not a problem here, our temperature only fluctuates by 11 degrees and even in this particularly snowy winter there have been no plant losses due to frost.
It is also a good time to split perennials and share the excess plants produced with friends, encouraging more of us to develop a garden. My buddleia is going to get the chop using my new elongated powered pruner and will be cut back, in George Anderson style, to within an inch of its life. It has always been a reluctant flowerer, and this is the perfect time to encourage it to bloom. If it doesn’t, I am going to follow Rosa Stepanova’s (Shetland’s garden guru and author of the Impossible Garden) advice and get rid!
I will return in April, no doubt wearing my gardening shorts, with news of how my Orkney geraniums have survived their first Orkney winter.