March

Each of the threshold months, those that fall on the cusp of seasonal shifts, can be tempestuous, but I think March is the most mercurial of them all; rarely kind, often barbed, but underneath is a tide of growth and burgeoning life that is gathering pace.

Across the country, signs of spring start appearing earliest in the south west, taking approximately two-three weeks to reach the northern counties. So if the start of March still feels like winter where you are, you can be assured that by the end of the month, it will be spring.

March Diary

  • World Wildlife Day – 3rd March
  • World Book Day – 4th March
  • International Woman’s Day – 8th March
  • Mother’s Day (UK) – 14th March
  • 1st day of Spring & International Day of Happiness – 20th March
  • World Poetry day – 21st March
  • Clocks go forward – 28th March

Daffodils and lambs tails. First salad sowings on the allotment.
Scudding clouds and new shoots. Dunnock song. Frogspawn.

March to May are the busiest months on the allotment, with crops to sow and plant out, and rapid growth in every area of the plot. (See ‘The Cutty garden Allotment’ category in the blog archive for the allotment diaries)

It is also the busiest time for wildlife watching – as days grow ever longer, the breeding and blooming season hits full swing, migrants arrive, and I try to get out as much as possible to experience it all. Yes, March is when the ‘rush’ of spring sings nerves and tendons and and I find myself quoting Mole from ‘Wind in the Willows’ with cries of “Oh Bother!”, throwing down tools, and dashing out into the sunshine and fields!

Every year I set a resolution to keep a diary or notebook of wildlife sightings and key dates though-out the year, (but by the end of spring I’m usually so busy I’ve forgotten all about it). So what signs of spring have already put in an appearance on my local patch? Have you seen the same?

  • Jan 21st – snowdrops coming into bloom in the woods. Also first showing of wild arum leaves poking up through the soil
  • Feb 17th – a host of golden daffodils, Cocking village playpark
  • Feb 21st – queen bumblebee visiting crocus blooms in my newly planted front garden
  • Feb 23rd – elder tree bud burst, a welcome greening
  • Feb 26th- first butterfly seen, a brimstone, Centurions Way near Lavant
  • Feb 27th – celandine flowers in every sunny spot, those in the shade slower and yet to open
  • Any day now… – chiffchaff heard singing!

The flower of the month of March is surely the bright cheery daffodil, but it is also a great month for getting to know your local hedgerow. As trees successively come into leaf, and hedgerow shrubs blossom, take time to get to know the species of your local walk, park or green space. Blackthorn blossom can look like drifts of snow, whilst hawthorn and elder are putting on new acid green leaves. At ground level, violets peak out and primroses are instantly recognisable.

Things to do to celebrate the month of March

  • March is often very windy! Climb a high hill or visit a windmill on your daily exercise if there’s one close to you. Did you know, in 2019, wind generators became the UK’s second largest source of electricity, providing one fifth of the UK’s total energy generation? (If you’re staying home and need a home schooling topic, the MET office have a video all about how they measure windspeed for the weather forecast here.)
  • Fill your home with flowers. Buy seasonal British-grown flowers rather than those flown from around the world, to reduce the carbon footprint, or if you have space, you can start a cutting garden of your own. Many annual flowers are easy to grow from seed, which you can start to sow in pots or warm ground now, and will produce armfuls of blooms for months. Some of my favourites to grow at home are calendula (english/pot marigolds), dianthus, sweet peas, zinnia and sunflowers. [I am in sunny Sussex, you may be better to wait till the end of the month for seed sowing if you live in colder counties]
  • Add freshness to your cooking by adding herbs. Green herbs such as parsley, chives, mint and coriander, pack a punch both in flavour, and those vitamins and minerals we crave after a winter of high-carb meals!

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