Ciaran Burke

Mother's Day "Special Mum Rose" 

Plant Recommedations

Ciaran Burke, Head of Horticulture at Johnstown Garden Centre suggests some of his favourite plants for planting now. 

Special Mum Rose 

Mother’s Day is approaching, Sunday 27th March is when we make all the Mum’s feel even more special and tell them how much they mean to us. 

Every Mum is special, and every Mum deserves a ‘Special Mum’ rose. A beautiful and fragrant floribunda rose that will bloom all summer. Compact in size, only 80cm high, it looks great planted in the garden or in a pot. 

Planting Roses in Pots

We have a great selection of pots suitable for growing roses. Ceramic, clay and fibreclay; a rose in an attractive pot makes a wonderful gift. It is simple to do: use a Multipurpose Compost with added John Innes and mix in some Gro-Sure Slow Release Granules that will feed the plant for up to six months. Water well and place in a sunny position. The rose can be left in the pot all summer or transplanted into the garden. 

Your Mum will love it! 

Itoh Hybrid Peony 

The Itoh hybrid peony roses are absolute stunners. First bred in Japan where a herbaceous peony was crossed with a tree peony, the result is a superior peony rose.  

The flowers are bigger, the plant is compact and sturdy so they generally do not require staking, the colours are glorious and the whole plant is a vision of beauty. The flowers generally last longer than other peony roses too. We have a number of varieties, see the video to see these super strong sturdy plants that we have in stock. 

Easydendron - Rhododendrons for Every Soil


Rhododendrons are one of the great joys of spring, masses of showy blooms on evergreen shrubs. Perfect in pots, but for most they require acid soil. With the introduction of the Easydendron range, all that has changed, now everyone can grow Rhododendrons! 

Easydendrons are Rhododendrons that are grafted on to a lime tolerant rootstock called Inkharo. 

We have lots of varieties in stock covering a range of colours and sizes. 

Check out the Bloombux Easydendron, it is a dwarf shrub suitable for a low hedge, ideal as an alternative to Buxus hedge, with the added bonus of flowers. 

Have a look at the video to see our rane of Easydendron. 

Please note, plants are available in-store only. 

Get Sowing!

As the soil starts to warm up, you can start to sow vegetables directly into the soil. To warm up the soil a bit quicker, place a plastic cloche or cloche tunnel on top of the soil at the beginning of the month. This will allow the soil underneath to warm up more quickly to allow for earlier sowing of vegetable plants. 


Carrots can be attacked by a little bug called Carrot rootfly, sowing an early crop of carrots under a cloche of fleece helps to avoid damage by carrot root fly. Resistant varieties of Carrot seed such as Carrot ‘Resistafly and ‘Flyaway’. 

GroZone Tunnel - Fleece 3m ( 



Parsnips are clow to germinate and as they are slow to mature they benefit from a long growing season. 


Leafy salad crops can also be sown under a cloche, varieties of Spinach are ideal for early sowing as they are very hardy. 

In the Greenhouse 

Sow tomatoes, peppers and aubergine indoors or in a greenhouse, a little bit of heat or protection with horticultural fleece may still be needed, especially on cold nights when frost if forecast. 

Grow Your Own Flower & Vegetable Seeds and Bulbs | Johnstown Garden Centre 

Seed Potatoes

First early crops can be planted directly outdoors once the soil has reached a temperature of 7 degrees Celsius. Usually, early march is ideal. To check soil temperatures a soil thermometer is a handy piece of equipment to own. 

Don’t worry if you have not chitted the seed potatoes, they can be planted out directly into the garden. 

Soil Themometer

A soil thermometer is easy to use, simply insert the probe end into the soil and leave it for a while. 

Soil Thermometer ( 


Lawn Care 

As the weather improves you can start mowing the grass. For the first few cuts, make sure that the cutting height is set to maximum, if you cut too low the grass will look yellow, be slower to recover thus allowing moss and weeds to establish better. 

Moss Control 

After the winter it is common that there is a build-up of moss. Mos can be treated in a number of ways: 

  • Westland Safelawn – safe for use with pets and children, a natural lawn feed that will help control moss 

Dead moss needs to be raked out from the lawn when it has turned brown.  

  • Mobacter and Westland Moss Master both contain a bacteria that decomposes dead moss and turns it into fertiliser, removing the need for raking. Temperatures of 25 degrees Celsius are required for best results. 

Improving the drainage will help reduce moss problems. A hollow tine fork will make holes by removing cores of soil. The holes can be filled with Westland Lawn Seeding Soil to improve drainage.  

Lawn Care | Johnstown Garden Centre 

Doing these jobs now will help improve the quality of your lawn for the summer. 

As you continue to mow the grass, don’t forget to trim the edges of the grass around borders and paths to create a well maintained look. An edging shears is the ideal tool for the job. 


Other Jobs 

Plant Lily Bulbs 

Plant Lily Bulbs into the soil or in containers. Some varieties of Lilium are beautifully scented while all produce gorgeous blooms. Depending on the variety they will grow only 50cm right up to 2m or even more.  

Flower Bulbs from Johnstown Garden Centre | Shop Online for Garden Bulbs Delivered 


Prune Roses 

Prune bush and repeat flowering shrub roses before the end of the month if they have not already been done. 

Climbing roses can also be pruned, keep some of the main stems for structure and prune side shoots back to 15- 20 cm. 


Cut back Dogwood stems for better colour

Cornus alba varieities will produce vigorous new growth and much brighter coloured growth if pruned back in March before new growth begins. 



Prepare spaces for wild flower seed sowing next month.  

If sowing in a lawn area, rake the area and lift the sod off, to a depth of 5-7cm. Then scratch the surface of the soil with a rake to loosen the soil. If any weeds regrow before seed sowing in April, treat the re-growth with Round-Up Naturally (No Glyphosate). The results will be seen in a few days. Just lightly rake away the dead growth before sowing the wildflower seeds. 



Ventilate the greenhouse on sunny days, open the vents and even the door to maximise airflow and stop the temperature getting too hot. 

Things to sow 

Sow half-hardy annual seeds for summer flowering now, Lobelia, Zinnia etc. 

Sow onion seeds in plugs, 3-5 plants per plug for transplanting out next month.  

Lots of other vegetables can be sown in the greenhouse to produce earlier crops.  

Grow Your Own Flower & Vegetable Seeds and Bulbs | Johnstown Garden Centre