Gardening Tips

Spring

The new season starts in earnest in March. Nature stirs into growth as the weather improves and the soil warms. Drifts of bright yellow Daffodils proclaim that spring is really here. Follow the expert tips below to get your garden into shape for the months ahead.

March

Flowers

  • Finish off pruning roses
  • If not already done lift and divide congested clumps of snowdrops while still in leaf
  • Prune back autumn flowering clematis
  • Take the old flower heads off winter flowering heathers and trim the plants to shape
  • Feed rose bushes
  • Mulch any areas of garden missed in the autumn
  • Cut back Cornus and Salix stems to encourage new growth next year

Fruit

  • Mulch Raspberry canes with compost or manure
  • This is the latest time that bare-root fruit bushes and trees can be planted
  • In warmer areas spray Peaches and Nectarines to help control Peach leaf curl
  • Vegetables
  • In mild areas plant early crop potatoes and shallots
  • Finish digging over ground

Lawns

  • Lay new turf when there is no frost
  • If seeding a lawn prepare the area now
  • If cutting grass, cut with the mower set at its highest setting
  • Greenhouse
  • Sow seeds of beetroot, leek, lettuce and summer cabbage in a heated greenhouse
  • Sow tender annuals in a heated propagator
  • Start Dahlia tubers into growth
  • Watch out for fungal diseases and spray if necessary

General Tasks

  • Construct or modify rock gardens
  • Keep greenhouse heaters working efficiently
  • Re-pot houseplants into bigger pots
  • Plant hardy herbs e.g. Mint, Sage, Thyme

April

As the weather begins to get warmer, April is always a busy month in a gardeners calendar, with seeds to sow, lawns to mow, shrubs to trim and vegetable gardens to tend to.

Top Tips

Now is the perfect time to get the lawnmower out and cut your grass for the first time this year. Cut grass with the lawn mower blades set high for the first few times, then use a good lawn feed and weed killer to help your lawn look its best. Also re-seed and re-turf any bald patches.

Thin out herbaceous plants, prune spring flowering shrubs once flowering has finished and trim evergreen hedges and shrubs.

In early April sow garden vegetables like potatoes, peas, broad beans, leeks, cauliflower, summer cabbage, brussel sprouts, onions, spinach, turnips, parsnips and lettuce outdoors or, if you leave it too late, young vegetable plants can be bought from garden centres. Other vegetables like cucumbers, courgettes and outdoor tomatoes can be sown under glass and runner beans can be started individually in 3 inch pots ready for planting in May.

It’s also a good time to sow seeds of hardy annuals like nasturtium, calendula, lavatera and cornflowers.

  • Sprinkle rose fertiliser around roses and begin to spray them to control pests and diseases.
  • Feed all other plants in the garden using a slow-release fertiliser to improve plant flowering and growth.

It’s also an ideal time to plant strawberry plants in your garden.

MAY

Summer is nearly upon us! Follow these expert gardening tips to help your garden bloom in the summer months.

Flowers

  • Plant summer bedding
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs to prevent them from becoming overgrown
  • Finish sowing hardy annuals: the later they are sown, the later they will flower
  • Put support frames into herbaceous borders to support plants with a floppy habit i.e., Lupins
  • Dig up, divide and replant polyanthus after they have flowered, discard any with disease
  • Start to harden off bedding plants by putting them out for the day and back in for the night
  • Protect susceptible plants from slugs
  • Clear out spring bedding from beds and borders when it fades, and fork in fertiliser
  • Plant hanging baskets and put them in the greenhouse until the risk of frost is gone
  • Watch out for pest and disease on all plants
  • Deadhead spring bulbs (but do not cut the foliage back yet)
  • Ensure newly planted plants are kept watered in dry spells
  • Prune spring-flowering shrubs to prevent them from becoming overgrown

Fruit

  • Mulch around strawberries to prevent the fruit being spoiled, use straw or black polythene
  • Destroy any leaves of Peach and Nectarine which show signs of leaf curl
  • Spray a systemic fungicide on Gooseberries if mildew is a problem
  • Water newly planted fruit trees and bushes in dry spells
  • Harvest any early Rhubarb

Vegetables

  • It is possible to plant out brassicas (cauliflower/cabbage) if they have been grown in a greenhouse. Remember to use a brassica collar to keep cabbage root fly away
  • Most vegetable crops can be sown but delay if the soil is cold and wet
  • Plant a main crop of potatoes
  • Earth up early crop potatoes
  • Weed between any vegetable crops that are growing
  • Harvest any asparagus spears that are showing

Lawn

  • Apply a weedkiller and fertiliser combination
  • Seed new lawns and cover to keep birds away
  • Mow lawns once a week if needed. Avoid cutting if there is frost on the grass
  • It is now a suitable time to spot treat lawns if no general lawn weedkiller is used
  • Lay new turf and keep well watered if a dry spell ensues

Greenhouse

  • Tie in the lengthening growths of Vines
  • Ventilate well and damp down on sunny days as long as seed are not being raised
  • Continue pricking out half hardy and tender seedlings
  • In a heated greenhouse remove side shoots from tomatoes, but not bush varieties
  • Pinch out side shoots of melons and cucumbers when two side shoots have been formed
  • Watch for pests and treat immediately using either a chemical spray or a biological control
  • Ensure heating is still available in case of a cold night

Ponds

  • Plant up new aquatic baskets with Water Lilies and oxygenating plants
  • Feed fish if they are near the surface
  • Keep pumps and filters running constantly

General Tasks

  • Control slugs and snails by trapping
  • Visit the garden centre for new pots and basket plants
  • Watch out for late frosts and keep fleece handy
  • Check watering each day as temperatures rise

Summer

Now that the summer is here, it is important to find the time to relax in the garden and enjoy nature’s rich tapestry, enjoying the fruits of your labours of previous months.

June

Gardening tips for June

Now that summer is here, it is important to find time to relax in the garden and enjoy nature’s rich tapestry, enjoying the fruits of your labours of previous months.

Flowers

  • Plant summer bedding
  • Plant up window boxes and troughs
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs to prevent them becoming overgrown – we have a large range of pruning equipment
  • Thin out seedlings of hardy annuals that were sown directly into the soil
  • Sprinkle Rose Plus around Rose plants to encourage strong growth and a good flower display
  • Spray Roses with Rose Clear 3 to control pest and disease if necessary
  • Remove suckers from Rose bushes when they are seen
  • Support taller annuals and perennials with pea sticks pushed into the soil
  • Clip hedges
  • Water newly planted shrubs and perennials in dry periods

Fruit

  • Tie new canes of Raspberries and Blackberries onto wires, keep them separate from last years growth
  • Pick Rhubarb regularly and do not allow it to form flower spikes
  • Remove damaged branches from Damsons and Plums
  • Spread nets over soft fruit bushes
  • Check fruit cages for tears or damage
  • Put straw under Strawberries to protect from slugs

Vegetables

  • Thin out rows of previously sown vegetables to allow them to reach their potential
  • Plant leeks when the plants are as thick as a pencil
  • Finish harvesting asparagus
  • Keep onions well watered to ensure that the bulbs swell
  • Pull up soil around main crop potatoes
  • Pinch out tips of broad beans to discourage black fly

Lawns

  • Mow lawns more frequently and reduce the cutting height if the grass is growing quickly – we have a large range of lawn mowers
  • Water in dry spells provided that there is no hosepipe ban – we have a wide range of garden watering products
  • Feed tired lawns with lawn food to give them a boost
  • Apply a combined feed and water if you have not already done so.

Greenhouse

  • Use a shade paint or netting on greenhouses to prevent over heating and scorching of tender plants
  • Feed all plants at least once a week
  • Use a biological pest control or spray if pests are a problem
  • Ensure that there is adequate ventilation
  • Continue training and feeding cucumbers and melons
  • Soak the floor morning and evening to keep up humidity

Ponds

  • Continue to feed pond fish – we have a wide range of fish food
  • Remove any blanket weed by twirling it around a stick
  • Check filters on pumps to ensure they are not blocked.

General Tasks

  • Take cuttings of Geranium, Fuchsias, Coleus and house plants
  • Watch out for pest and disease in all areas and treat when necessary
  • Stake Herbaceous plants to prevent wind damage

July

Mid summer and the garden is at its most colourful. The frantic rush of growth has gone and the plants develop into mature shapes and colours. This is the gardening year’s peak of achievement.

Flowers

  • Prune late spring and early summer flowering shrubs immediately after flowering to promote new growth
  • Pick Sweet Peas to increase the flowering season
  • Deadhead Roses and feed regularly
  • Spray Roses to control black spot, mildew and aphids
  • Water hanging baskets and containers at least once a day and feed once a week
  • Feed perennials and shrubs with a granular fertiliser e.g. Rose Plus and hoe into the soil
  • Remove faded flowers on Delphiniums and Lupins. This may encourage a second flowering
  • Trim spring flowering heathers to remove flower heads and to keep in shape
  • Tie in and train new growth on climbing and rambling Roses
  • Water newly planted shrubs and perennials in dry conditions
  • Semi-ripe cuttings can now be taken from shrubs and rooted in a cold frame

Fruit

  • Check nets on fruit cages to make sure that they have not moved or been damaged
  • Strawberry runners can be pegged down into soil or pots
  • Train new growth on trained fruit trees removing side shoots
  • Mulch rhubarb plants and remove flower spikes
  • Remove straw from under strawberries that have finished fruiting
  • Pick raspberries regularly

Vegetables

  • Harvest early potatoes
  • Harvest globe artichokes
  • Earth up main crop potatoes to give an increased yield
  • Keep onions well watered to maximise yield
  • Sow salad crops directly into the ground to continue getting fresh plants
  • Feed all vegetable plants

Lawns

  • Continue to mow grass raising the height of cut in dry weather
  • Water in dry spells provided there is no hosepipe ban

Greenhouse

  • Spray Peaches and Nectarines every day with tepid water
  • Use biological control where pests are a problem
  • Ensure that all vents are working and close them on cool evenings
  • Soak the floor morning and evening to keep up humidity
  • Remove faded flowers and dropped foliage to prevent the build up of fungal diseases

Ponds

  • Continue to feed pond fish
  • Remove any blanket weed by twirling it around on a stick
  • Check filters on pumps to ensure that they are not blocked
  • Remove any plant material that has fallen into the pond to prevent the build up of disease

General Tasks

  • Top canes with cane caps to protect eyes
  • Clean paving or slabs with an algicide
  • Put pots of plants into gaps in the borders
  • Use a Residual Current Device (RCD) when using any electrical equipment in the garden
  • Feed the garden using granular fertilisers like Growmore or Rose Plus

August

Transition your garden from summer into autumn with ease by following our insider tips and key themes for August. From growing fruit and veg to cleaning up your garden pond, there’s plenty of options to keep your garden in shape.

Flowers

  • Keep your hanging baskets looking good with daily watering and weekly feeding.
  • Give Camellias some TLC with regular watering as now they’ll be forming next year’s flower buds. Dead heading sweet peas is also a must to maximise the flowering season.
  • Maintain your roses by picking and spraying frequently. Encourage climbing roses by tying in growth.

Fruit & Vegetables

  • Pick ripe raspberries and remove straw from underneath strawberries. Prune all summer varieties down to ground level and ensure netting on fruit cages hasn’t worn.
  • Support brussel sprouts and potatoes by earthing them up, and continue to water onions to get the most out of your crop.
  • Love fresh plants? Sow salad crops into soil now to keep them coming.

General Housekeeping

  • Maintain a humid greenhouse by dampening the floor each morning and close vents when the temperature drops.
  • Look after your pond and prevent disease by keeping filters clear and removing any weeds.
  • Ensure a clear garden path by cleaning the slabs with algicide and satisfy your garden’s hunger with a granular fertiliser e.g. Rose Plus or Growmore.
sunflowers
Acer

Autumn

After the frenzied activity of the summer period, September is the perfect month to take stock of the flower and vegetable garden, whilst starting to make plans for the coming Spring. Soils warm from the summer season are perfect for establishing new plantings and the arrival of sprin bulbs inspire new ideas for the coming seasons.

September

Tubs and Baskets

  • Continue to dead-head, water and feed summer planting in tubs and baskets to prolong the display for a couple more weeks.
  • Tired and spent planting can now be replaced with fresh topical ranges to provide colour throughout the autumn and winter season. Pansies, Violas and Wallflowers are traditional favourites that can also be planted with hardy tub and basket plants and spring bulbs for a display to brighten the dullest of winter days.
  • Remember to refresh the compost, now exhausted from the summer season.

Spring Flowering Bulbs

  • Deliveries of new season spring flowering bulb collections are now in store to include inspirational colour mixes as well as tried and trusted traditional favourites.
  • As gaps appear in beds and borders, now is the ideal time to plant bulbs such as Crocuses, Daffodils, Narcissi and Snowdrops.
  • Dwarf Narcissi and Crocus also look great with winter bedding in patio pots and hanging baskets for a cheerful splash of early spring colour.
  • Daffodils benefit from planting in September, while Tulips can wait a little longer, even into November. Be sure to buy early though to get the widest choice.
  • Indoor bulbs such as prepared hyacinths can also be planted now in bowls and wicker baskets, specially treated so that they flower at Christmas time.

Beds and Borders

  • Introduce winter structure to the garden with evergreen shrubs such as Viburnum tinus or Sarcococca, the latter planted near a path or front door to appreciate its winter fragrance.
  • Our widest range of new season Ornamental Trees are available now to add height and structure to your garden, large or small. See our website for details of our British grown trees available in store or for delivery direct from the nursery to your home.
  • Fiery shades of early autumn foliage start to light up late summer borders. Shrubs such as Acers (Japanese Maples), Cotinus (Smoke Bush) or climbers such as Parthenocissus (Virginia creeper) come into their own now. Visit your local store to see all the new ranges freshly delivered and ready for planting now.
  • Give Azaleas, Rhododendrons and particularly Camellias a good drink of water now to ensure they set plenty of buds for spring.

Cottage Garden

  • Dead head Dahlias to encourage further flowering until the first frosts.
  • Remove faded blooms on Cottage Garden Perennials to extend the flowering season.
  • Dead head Roses to encourage a late season flush and tie in whippy growths on rambling roses to bear next years trusses of flowers.
  • As gaps appear in beds and borders, sow hardy annuals such as Nigella (love in the mist) and Centaurea (Cornflowers) to bloom in spring.
  • Plant new perennial plants now while the soil is still warm to enable them to establish a strong root system during the winter months in readiness for spring.
  • Plant biennial Sweet Scented Stocks (Matthiola)  and statuesque Foxgloves now to fill your borders colour and fragrance next Spring.

Grow Your Own Salads & Vegetables

  • Harvest crops of Garlic, onions and shallots as tops start to yellow and topple over. Leave to dry in a cool shed before storing away in breathable drawstring bags for the winter months or have a go at plaiting your garlic and onions together to make a traditional string to hang in your kitchen or larder.
  • Give Tomato plants as much sunshine as possible to ripen trusses of fruit.
  • Keep picking courgettes when they are young and tender to encourage yet more to follow.
  • Continue to water squash and pumpkins as they ripen under the late summer sun.
  • Rocket and winter salad leaves can be sown now if not done so already, as well as a last sowing of quick growing radishes.
  • Coriander grows well from a sowing now that the intense summer heat has passed.
  • Swiss Chard sown now will make strong plants for tasty winter pickings. The striking stem and foliage colours look great in both the garden and on the plate!
  • Winter Spinach can be sown now and is less likely to bolt with the cooler temperatures.
  • Sow Broad Beans and hardy peas for the earliest tender spring pickings.

Fruit Garden

  • Apples should be ripening now. Check that they are by gently cupping the fruit in your hand whilst carefully twisting the stem. If it is ready it will come away with ease. Do the same with Plums to avoid fruits falling and bruising on the ground.
  • Excess Apples can be stored in a cool shed for the winter. Space Apples on a slatted shelf to keep them cool and aerated. Make sure they are not touching to prevent any spread of disease.
  • Cut back spent summer fruiting raspberry canes to the ground, tying in the new whips for next year’s crop as you go.
  • Net late summer / autumn Raspberry canes to prevent bird damage.
  • Pot up Strawberry runners for fruiting next summer.
  • Our widest range of new season Fruit Trees are available for planting now, including Apples and Pears, Plums and Cherries. See our website for details of our British grown trees available in store or for delivery direct from the nursery to your home.

Lawn Care

  • September is the ideal month to give your lawn some attention that will ensure that it goes into the winter strong and healthy ready to look its best next spring.
  • Most lawns benefit from being aerated every year to reduce compaction after the pounding it has taken during the summer months. The easiest way to do this is to use a garden fork, pushed six inches in to the lawn at regular intervals.
  • Apply autumn weed and feed to tackle unwanted weeds and boost your lawn ready for the coming winter.
  • Any bare patches can be repaired with lawn seed or larger areas with rolls of turf.

September is the ideal time to establish a new lawn, the rains of autumn helping to settle in the new lawn ready for winter.

October

As autumn draws in on the garden, October brings the last burst of colour to our beds and borders. Cold nights and shorter days cloak our gardens in fiery autumn shades and the first frosts etch the garden with a silvery sheen.

Tubs and baskets

  • Clear the last of tender summer bedding plants and replace with fresh new season plants to provide colour and texture throughout the autumn and coming winter. Pansies, Violas, Cyclamen, winter Heathers, ornamental grasses and trailing Ivy are all popular choices for long lasting and proven garden performance. Add early flowering dwarf bulbs such as Narcissi or Crocus for a cheerful splash of spring colour.
  • Be sure to refresh the compost, now exhausted from the summer season.

Spring Flowering Bulbs

  • Continue to plant Spring Flowering bulbs in beds and borders. Visit your local store to see our extensive range of tried and trusted favourites as well as new and inspirational colour mixes. For best effect plant bulbs in groups of 5, 7 or 9, tucked into gaps generated in the border as perennial plants are cut back for the winter.
  • Early flowering Spring bulbs, such as Daffodils and Crocus benefit from being planted now, whilst Tulips can wait until November if you are busy, but be sure to visit your local store early for the widest selection and store in a cool garden shed until you are ready to plant.
  • Dwarf Iris or Crocus also look great planted in shallow terracotta bowls, displayed near the house for an enchanting flower display as early as January.
  • Indoor bulbs such as prepared Hyacinths and Narcissus Paperwhite should be planted now to fill the house with fragrance throughout the festive period. Use Bulb Fibre, particularly if you are planting your bulbs into a container without drainage holes.

Beds and Borders

  • Plant drifts of Wallflowers, under-planting with Tulips and forget-me-nots for a colourful display.
  • While soils are still holding the last of the summer warmth, now is the perfect time to plant new shrubs, roses and cottage plants, enabling roots to establish during the winter in readiness for next spring.
  • Add winter structure to the garden with evergreen shrubs such as winter flowering Viburnum tinus, or fiery autumn foliage colour from Acers and Parthenocissus, or sweet fragrance from Sarcococca and Mahonia japonica. Visit your local garden centre to see all the new ranges freshly delivered and ready for planting now.
  • Plant Ornamental Trees to add height and structure to your garden. See our website for details of our widest ever range of British Grown trees available in store, or for direct delivery from the nursery to your home.
  • Summer-flowering shrubs such as Buddleia and Lavatera should be cut back by half now to prevent any damage caused by wind rock during the winter.
  • Trim hedges now for a crisp finish to last all winter.

Cottage Garden

  • Lift tender Dahlias touched by the first frosts. In milder areas, on well draining soils, consider leaving them in the ground, top dressing with a think protective layer of mulch, such as straw or bracken.
  • Lift Cannas and other tender garden exotics. Store in a dry frost-free garden shed or greenhouse for the winter months.
  • Cut back and tidy cottage garden perennials, adding them to the compost heap. Leave grasses and seed heads to feed winter birds and to shelter overwintering insects. On frosty mornings they look stunning in the low winter sunshine too!
  • Herbaceous perennials establish quickly if planted now. Use this opportunity to split and divide existing clumps too, invigorating new growth for next spring and summer.
  • Plant biennials now, such as Sweet Scented Stocks, Foxgloves and Honesty for strong statuesque plants to carry masses of flower early in the spring.
  • Prune and tie-in climbing Roses now, cutting shrub Roses back by around half to prevent damage from wind rock.

Fruit Garden

  • Harvest the last of the Apples and Pears and store in a cool airy shed on slatted benching for good air circulation. Make sure they are not touching to prevent any spread of disease.
  • Our widest range of new season Fruit Trees are available for planting now, including Apples and Pears, Plums and Cherries. See our website for details of our British grown trees available in store or for delivery direct from the nursery to your home.
  • New season ranges of soft fruit, across a wide range of berries and currants are available now too. Browse our website for our comprehensive range grown in Scotland and available in store. Available soon for on-line ordering for delivery direct from the nursery to your home.
  • Blackberry, Raspberry and Loganberry canes that have finished cropping should be cut out and new canes can be tied in to support framework

Vegetable Garden

  • Harvest Pumpkins, Squashes and Gourds. Pumpkins are great fun for carving for Halloween, but are also tasty in soups and curries. Gourds in their myriad of colours also look stunning in a display basket.
  • Plant Garlic now for the largest bulbs next year.
  • Potatoes, carrots and beetroots should be lifted now to avoid slug damage.
  • Put deterrent in place to avoid the ravages of pigeons on brassicas
  • Dig over ground as it becomes vacant. Apply a layer of mulch over the top, allowing worms to work it down into the ground during the winter.

Lawn Care

  • Rake up leaves and add to the compost heap, or store in separate pens for rotting down into leaf–mould. Shredding the leaves first with a mower will help them to rot down quicker.
  • Scarify established lawns to remove dead thatch, which can stifle growth in the winter months. Spike the surface with a fork or lawn aerator to reduce compaction and allow nutrients to reach the roots.
  • Apply an autumn lawn food to help strengthen your lawn ready for the coming winter.
  • October is an ideal time to lay new lawns from turf or seed, the warm moist soils perfect for new roots to establish quickly.
  • Reduce mowing frequency and set the blades high. By the end of the month it will be time to stop cutting and the mower should then be serviced in preparation for next year

Garden Tidy

October is the time for tidying up and storing away for winter. Cover ponds with netting to catch falling

November

Ever darkening days. Wet and stormy weather. Trees shedding their remaining leaves…

But it’s not all doom and gloom. Even now there is an array of colour. From the bright foliage of variegated evergreens and stems to a wide range of deciduous trees and shrubs, with our expert gardening tips, you can enjoy a more colourful garden in November.

Flowers

  • Prune back Roses and tidy up deciduous shrubs. Both may need a further prune in February/March

Conditions on mild days are still ideal for planting:

  • Later flowering spring bulbs such as Lilies and Tulips
  • Bare-root or root balled trees, shrubs and Roses
  • New hedges i.e. Beech, Hawthorn, Privet, Laurel
  • Dig up and divide established plants which are now overcrowded and re-plant
  • Pansies, primulas and other winter/ spring bedding plants

Fruit

  • Harvest and store late varieties of Apples and Pears
  • Plant new fruit trees and bushes once the ground has been dug over and manured
  • Prune Apple and Pear trees
  • Once all leaves have dropped apply a “winter wash” to control pests.
  • Raspberry Canes are available for planting now

Vegetables

  • Dig over vacant ground and work in well rotted manure or compost
  • Order seed catalogues
  • Protect cauliflower curds by bending a few leaves over the centre
  • If storing vegetables make sure that they are well spaced and dry, and if any are rotting throw them away
  • Leeks and parsnips may be left in the ground until required for use

Lawns

  • There is still time to apply an autumn lawn food and mosskiller
  • Spike badly drained lawns to improve drainage and if not carried out previously scarify to remove dead grass
  • Depending on the season and location it may still be necessary to give the lawn a final cut. If so do it on a high blade setting
  • If conditions permit (not too wet or too cold) turfing can still be carried out

Greenhouse

  • Water carefully to avoid leaf splash
  • Control pests and diseases encouraged by warm, damp conditions
  • Ventilate when possible to improve air circulation and control humidity
  • Grow plants such as Chrysanthemums, Cyclamen, Azaleas, Poinsettias to provide colour in the house
  • Make sure heating system is working efficiently as it will be required more and more as winter continues

General Tasks

  • Continue to rake up leaves from beds, borders and out of the pond, and stack them to compost
  • Provide food and water for garden birds
  • Protect tender plants which cannot be moved by insulating them with straw, bracken, horticultural fleece, etc.

Drain stone fountains etc. so

Winter

With the approach of winter the garden takes on an air of quietness. There is an abundance of urgency and a more leisurley pace can be taken; leading up to a well deserved Christmas break.

December

Flowers

  • If not frosty plant new Rose bushes
  • Cut back the herbaceous border and mulch thickly with composted bark
  • Put slug pellets around treasured plants, especially Alpines and Bulbs in mild weather
  • Protect delicate evergreens from cold winds by using Horticultural Fleece

Fruit

  • Still time to plant new fruit bushes if the soil is not frozen
  • Make sure Apples and Pears are pruned by the end of the month

Vegetables

  • Buy seeds now to ensure full availability
  • Net winter vegetables to keep pigeons away

Lawns

  • Avoid walking on lawns in frosty weather
  • If puddles stay on the lawn spike with a garden fork or an aerator to aid drainage and prevent disease
  • Consider having lawn mowers and strimmers serviced

Greenhouse

  • Clear greenhouse gutters of autumn leaves
  • Wash greenhouse glass inside and outside to allow as much light in as possible
  • Line the inside of the greenhouse with bubblewrap to keep plants warmer
  • Do not water plants too much, water when compost is dry
  • Check plants regularly for pests and disease i.e., moulds and fungus
  • Ventilate on warm days

General Tasks

  • Sweep up leaves to make compost
  • Take pumps out of ponds and fountains (drain fountains to prevent splitting)
  • Move patio pots to house wall to give support and protection
  • Cut some stems of viburnum x bodnantense to brighten and perfume the house

Ensure outside taps are insulated or drained

January

Get ahead in your garden this year

January brings us the shortest and coldest days of the year, but even now some plants are growing and flowering as if it were high summer. It is an ideal time to catch up on reading gardening advice and get on with the other jobs that the busy months do not give us time to do. Here are our top 10 tips to get ahead this January:

  1. Plant your pot grown Christmas tree– remember to plant as soon as possible in January to enjoy next Christmas. Select a spot that has well drained soil, sun and enough space for your tree to sit comfortably. Then all you need to do is keep it watered and protected.
  2. Buy seeds early– spend an hour browsing our seeds in-store. Buy anything that takes your fancy before the spring rush.
  3. Look out for plug plants– these small bedding plants offer great value for money, and are available early in the year. Pot them up and grow them on before planting outside after the risk of frost.
  4. Decide on a colour theme– give your garden a designer look by colour theming your containers and accessories. Plan ahead so you can keep your eyes peeled for things that fit in with your scheme.
  5. Clean and service tools– get your tools up to scratch so they’re in tip-top shape when the gardening season gets in full swing or browse our range in-store. Petrol mowers will benefit from a professional service.
  6. Move plants– if you are planning on moving any plants in your garden it’s best to do it now when they’re fairly dormant, before they put on lots of spring growth.
  7. Design new borders– get creative and plan new borders. Use the traditional method, and take pencil to paper to work out perfect plant combinations for the New Year.
  8. Tidy your borders– cut back and clear dead foliage and the last of any fallen leaves. Take care not to damage emerging roots.
  9. Chit first early potatoes– chit seeded potatoes for 3 – 4 weeks then plant to enjoy tender new potatoes in early summer – Look out for Duke of York, Epicure and Rocket varieties in-store.
  10. Force rhubarb– enjoy an early harvest by covering the crowns with a bucket or rhubarb forcer – you’ll have tasty young stems in no time.

 Flowers

  • Check and firm in all newly planted shrubs and trees
  • Check Dahlia tubers, Gladioli and Begonia corms that are being stored and remove any that are rotting
  • Spot water containers, pots, tubs and window boxes if necessary
  • Remove snow from evergreen trees and shrubs

Fruit

  • Check and firm in all newly planted shrubs and trees
  • Plant new fruit bushes when the ground is not too wet or frozen
  • Check and loosen tree ties, replace any that are broken
  • Check stakes on fruit trees for being loose or broken

Vegetables

  • Dig over vacant plots and leave rough for frost to break down
  • Check stored vegetables and throw out any that are rotting
  • Towards the end of the month consider putting up plastic cloches to warm the soil and give early salad crops a good start.

Lawns

  • Keep off in frosty weather
  • Have the lawn mower serviced and the blades sharpened
  • If puddles stay on the lawn, spike with a garden fork or aerator to aid drainage

Greenhouse

  • Start to heat Greenhouses, which have Peaches and Vines in them
  • Prune Vines now before sap rises
  • Check heating is still running efficiently
  • Ventilate cold houses on mild days
  • Check plants regularly for pests and disease i.e., moulds and fungus

General Tasks

  • Keep an area of the pond free of ice to help fish to breathe
  • Store seed potatoes in a dark place
  • Clean and oil all garden tools

February

As the days begin to lengthen, early spring bulbs and Snowdrops start to colour the bare earth. And longer days mean you can spend longer in the garden, doing some of the tasks below…

Flowers

  • Lightly trim winter flowering Heathers when the flowers die off
  • Divide Snowdrops after flowering
  • Plant Lily of the Valley Crowns
  • Prune summer flowering shrubs

Fruit

  • Tie in wall trained fruit trees and bushes
  • Set Peaches, Vines and Nectarines into growth in a greenhouse
  • Check stored fruit and discard any that are rotting
  • Complete the pruning of fruit trees

Vegetables

  • Dig any unworked vacant ground
  • Dig and store any root crops still in the ground
  • Check stored vegetables and discard any that are rotting

Lawns

  • Keep off in frosty weather
  • Ensure that the mower is serviced
  • Spike lawns to aid drainage

Greenhouse

  • Plant new Grape Vines
  • Check the glass is not loose after high winds
  • Sow Sweet Peas for planting out later
  • Clean out accumulated rubbish in preparation for spring
  • Check that the heating system still works

General Tasks

  • Provide food and water for garden birds
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