Garden visit:  This is a good time to visit ‘Winter gardens‘ – ones particularly planted for winter colour and scent.  Locally Dunham Massey is much visited.  It was planted a few years ago and the hellebores and bulbs are well established, the dogwoods and willows are glowing, the white barked birch groves look lovely in the low light.  The winter flowering shrubs such as hamamelis and sarcoccoca are slow growing and are taking their time.  For a more established garden walk go to Anglesey Abbey just outside Cambridge.  We went in April one year and it was stunning.  It is worth remembering that winter season shrubs give good value over at least three months of the year – which summer flowerers do that?
Stop/Start:  At some time during this month the season’s flag goes up, the race begins and the plants start into growth.  Magic.  However this is never a smooth transition, there are plenty of false starts; the right combination of temperature and light levels are reached and then the weather changes and it is back to winter.  So keep a weather eye out and act accordingly.  Some things need doing before the race for growth begins and some afterwards.
Before chores:  Cut hedges before the birds start nesting. Cut back ornamental grasses before growth starts again. Tidy up in the greenhouse and give the glass a bit of a clean .Cut off dead leaves on overwintering pelargoniums and other tender plants. Lime the soil in the veg garden and under fruit trees and bushes.
After chores: Sow broad beans leeks peas outside and salads in the greenhouse.  Sow tomatoes, basil, sweet peas and chillies in the greenhouse or kitchen.  Once the weather really is warming up the soil, start to weed feed and mulch.