Austen concentrated this month on preparation and tips for the March bulb show. Split canes are useful for supporting plants. Remember that bulbs need plenty of water. Cut daffodils should be cut the day before the show, and put into water to swell up.

Whatever you are showing , always aim to get a group of items of a similar size, otherwise it will look odd. If it is a bowl of bulbs, a good trick is to grow them separately and pick out a matching set to put in the pot. More basically, choose a pot that suits the size of the item, and make sure both the pot AND its contents are absolutely clean.

Finally, when forcing rhubarb you must keep out ALL the light, otherwise it will turn green instead of the pink the judges are looking for, Tim began by passing around a very fragrant daphne, Jacqueline Postil, with a lovely flower to cheer up the garden at this time of year. He believes this is one of the best, and is very reliable. It has grown into a tree which is 10 feet tall.

This is the right time to cut down autumn raspberries, leaving about one inch showing. Then weed round the plants. apply a mulch and a balanced fertilizer.If the leaves go yellow later this is a sign of magnesium deficiency; it can be corrected by simply dosing with epsom salts. In the early summer prune them down to a maximum of 5 canes per stool.

  • Wisteria – the long growths that were produced last summer should be shorted to just 3 buds. Sprinkle potash fertilizer around the root area,
  • Epimedium – cut down old growth so that the pretty yellow flowers can be seen clearly when they emerge in March.
  • Clematis – cut down late Summer/ Autumn flowering varieties to within 12 inches of the ground; then weed, feed, and mulch round the base.
  • Fruit trees – remember to spray with winter wash in March.