What to do this week: Split up perennials

Few things give thrifty gardeners greater pleasure than dividing large clumps of perennials, resulting in lots of new plants with which to stock the garden, or to give away to friends.

It also stops them from outgrowing their space. Perennials that can be successfully split up now include Michaelmas daisies, phlox, rudbeckias and oriental poppies.

Ease the plants out of the ground with a garden fork and either pull them into sections by hand or, if the clump is very woody, insert two forks, back to back, and pull the sections apart this way, then replant as normal. 

Michaelmas Dasies

Perennials that can be successfully split up now include Michaelmas daisies, phlox, rudbeckias and oriental poppies


It's too early to sow veg like beans, peas, radishes and salads outdoors, but you can get them started by planting them in small pots in the greenhouse, or on a sunny windowsill.

Also, prepare the ground where you'll plant the seedlings out, using a sheet of plastic to warm up the soil, thus creating an ideal place for them towards the end of March. 


In milder parts of the country, your lawn will already be putting on some growth.

As long as it isn't waterlogged, you can set the blades of the mower at their highest setting and give the lawn a light trim - it will look much tidier after a cut, even a gentle one, and will improve the overall look of your garden.

In colder areas, leave the first trim until late March.


Begonia tubers can be slow to get going, so start them off now in a seed tray. They like very good drainage, so mix some sand in with the compost to make a really free-draining growing medium.

Remember to plant them the right way up - the rounded side is the one with the roots, the concave side should be facing upwards.

Plant the tubers so they are barely covered with compost, water just enough to keep the soil moist, and keep them in the greenhouse or a light spot in the house. When they reach 3in, transfer them into larger pots so they can grow on outdoors as the weather warms up.

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