July

Jul
24

Today I must....plant out my biennial seedlings…

Plant out biennial seedlings where you want them to flower next year and water in well if it is dry.  Space them 15cm (6″) apart in a row, and the rows about 30cm (1′) apart.

Jul
23

Today I must....disbud my chrysanthemums…

Disbudding chrysanthemums can be carried out now; this means selecting the five strongest shoots and removing the rest, to encourage fewer but large flowers.  Remove side shoots as they appear on the remaining shoots.

Jul
22

Today I must....take cuttings…

Take cuttings from fuchsias and zonal pelargoniums which root readily now; it also gives them time to develop good root systems before over wintering in a frost-free area.

Jul
21

Today I must....plant winter-flowering crocuses…

An ideal time to put in winter-flowering crocuses, which should not be put in too shallowly – the corms should ideally be planted around 8cm (3″) deep.

Jul
20

Today I must....look after my lawn…

Even if the weather is dry you probably don’t need to water the lawn – it should recover in the autumn.  But you can help it by cutting it less short.  This helps it retain moisture.

Jul
19

Today I must....check for heavy fruit…

If the branch of a fruit tree is suffering under the weight of the fruit on it, prop it up with a length of forked wood if possible, to reduce the risk of the branch snapping.

Jul
18

Today I must....pick my tomatoes and cucumbers…

Pick tomatoes and cucumbers regularly as they ripen.  Not only does this give you a regular supply, it also helps new fruit develop.

Jul
17

Today I must....plant out strawberry runners…

Plant new strawberry runners now to give the plants a chance to develop well through the early autumn, and provide a good crop next year.

Jul
16

Today I must....mulch my vegetable beds…

Look after your vegetable garden by giving it an organic mulch to help keep in moisture; make sure the soil is already wet, though, before you cover it.

Jul
15

Today I must....check dahlias for aphids…

Check dahlias for aphids and other pests and remove as necessary.  As the plants grow tie them onto their supporting stakes.

Jul
14

Today I must....check for unwanted shoots…

Check your shrubs and trees to make sure they are not putting up any unwanted shoots from the base; remove any you find with a pair of sharp secateurs.

Jul
13

Today I must....dead-head my perennials…

Dead-head any perennial plant flowers that have gone over, apart from those you want to keep for harvesting the seed or to leave as food for birds in the winter.

Jul
12

Today I must....continue dead-heading my roses…

Dead-head roses as soon as the first flush of blooms is finished, cutting the flower stems back by about a third.

Jul
11

Today I must....cut back alpine plants…

Alpine plants such as dwarf phloxes and helianthemums can be cut back now after flowering.  This gives the plant better shape and helps encourage more blooms next year.

Jul
10

Today I must....check for lily beetle…

Examine your lilies now for the distinctive red-coloured lily beetle, which can be a real pest.  They are best removed by hand.

Jul
09

Today I must....continuing sowing vegetable seeds…

It is not too late to sow carrots, spinach and lettuce to produce crops this year – while sowing parsley now will produce a winter crop.

Jul
08

Today I must....review my garden colours…

Spend a few minutes wandering around your garden to see which colours work together and which clash; make a note in a notebook so you can change things later in the autumn or next spring.

Jul
07

Today I must....lift and divide my daffodils…

Lift and divide daffodils growing in beds or borders.  This should be done every three or four years.  Dry them somewhere cool and airy under cover, removing any that are rotten.

Jul
06

Today I must....check for aphids…

Keep a close eye out for pests such as aphids that can thrive and multiply quickly in humid, warm conditions.  Remove by hand and squash if possible; if spraying is necessary wait until evening when the bees have stopped their labours for the day.

Jul
05

Today I must....consider dividing my irises…

If planning to re-plantbearded irises next month – they need to be divided periodically but require time to establish before winter – prepare soil now, adding well-rotted manure to the site.

Jul
04

Today I must....prune established hedges…

Many different types of established hedges can be pruned now, including box, Spanish gorse, laurel and Elaeagnus x ebbingei.  With larger-leaved plants such as laurel and Elaeagnus it is best to use secateurs to avoid cutting leaves in half.

Jul
03

Today I must....feed my roses…

Roses will appreciate a feed now as this will encourage blooms later in the year.  Do not leave this too late in the month – that might now allow new growth to mature in time for winter.

Jul
02

Today I must....not forget my garden wildlife!

Think about your wildlife as well as your plants; birds may find plenty of food to feed their young but if the weather is dry they may need water.  Keep a shallow dish topped up so they can bathe in it.

Jul
01

Today I must....install water collectors…

Water can be scarce at this time of year so consider installing water collectors to gather rain from summer showers and storms from your gutters.

June

Jun
30

Today I must....stop harvesting my asparagus…

If your asparagus is well established and cropping, stop harvesting now and give the plants a good feed with a general fertiliser to help improve next year’s crop.

Jun
29

Today I must....continue watering and mulching…

Perennial plants can easily become stressed if they are not watered well at this time of year.  Applying a mulch after heavy watering can help the plant and also reduce water usage.

Jun
28

Today I must....check on my early potatoes…

Check your early potatoes to see if they are ready for harvesting; dig away from the base of the plant to reduce the risk of piercing any with the prongs of your fork.

Jun
27

Today I must....feed my grape vines…

Reduce the number of bunches developing on grape vines being grown under glass and give the plant a high-potash feed.

Jun
26

Today I must....weed my new hedges…

Weed any new hedges planted in the winter.  Keeping them weed free is one of the best ways of helping them become established quickly.

Jun
25

Today I must....remove perennial flower heads…

Unless you are planning to collect seed later, you can remove perennial flower heads to make the plant stronger and also increase the chance of a second crop of flowers.

Jun
24

Today I must....put out my containerised azaleas and cyclamen…

Containerised azaleas and tender cyclamen being stored under glass can be put outside now.  Keep the cyclamen dry but give azaleas a liquid feed, havin

Jun
23

Today I must....plant De Caen type anemone bulbs…

Give yourself a nice late summer/early autumn display of colour by planting De Caen type anemone bulbs in window boxes, pots or in the ground.  Soak them well before planting.

Jun
22

Today I must....pinch out my dahlias…

Pinch out the growing points of the top two pairs of leaves on dahlias to encourage stronger and bushier side growth, and tie plants to supports.

Jun
21

Today I must....keep my pond topped up…

Water restrictions allowing, keep the garden pond topped up regularly rather than let the water level fall significantly before doing so.  This can help reduce the growth of algae.

Jun
20

Today I must....propagate my pinks…

If you like pinks – Dianthus – now is a good time to propagate from cuttings.  Put them in a pot with free-draining compost, water them and leave in a cold frame that is shaded.  They should root within a month.

Jun
19

Today I must....cut back my oriental poppies…

Oriental poppies are beautiful when in flower but less so later once they have faded; after the flowers have gone over cut the plants back and give them a gentle feed to strengthen the plant.

Jun
18

Today I must....lightly prune my hedges…

Lightly prune yew, beech, pyracanthus and privet hedges now.  Privet and honeysuckle hedges will need light pruning two or three times in their first year to encourage thick growth.

Jun
17

Today I must....move my spring and summer snowflakes…

When spring and summer snowflakes – Leucojum aestivum and L. vernum – have finished flowering they can be moved immediately if they are needed for another spot.

Jun
16

Today I must....remove suckers from my roses…

Any suckers growing on roses from below the graft joint should be removed, cutting (or better still, twisting and pulling) them off right back at the rootstock.  Suckering growth is often paler than the growth on the top part of the plant.

Jun
15

Today I must....turn off the heat in my heated greenhouse…

The heating in heated greenhouses can be safely turned off but watch out for any unseasonably cold spells that are forecast.

Jun
14

Today I must....sow my swedes…

Sow swede seed direct into the ground about 38cm (15″) apart.  Keep well watered.  If you can, use seed bought a year ago – they produce better roots than fresh seed.

Jun
13

Today I must....plant out my cannas…

Cannas can safely be planted out in the garden now.  One tip is to leave them in their pots and just bury these into the ground.  This makes taking them in again easier in the autumn – though they may require more watering like this.

Jun
12

Today I must....tie back my climbing roses…

Climbing roses will be putting on rapid new growth.  Tie them loosely in position to stop them getting damaged or broken by strong winds.

Jun
11

Today I must....prune my shrubs…

Shrubs that flower on last year’s growth such as Philadelphus, Deutzia and Weigela need to be pruned as soon as their blooms have gone.

Jun
10

Today I must....remove fading blooms…

Remove fading flowers from plants such as camellias and rhododendrons.  This makes the plant concentrate on producing next year’s buds rather than seed.  Be careful not to harm the new shoots that lie just below the flower heads.

Jun
09

Today I must....thin out my hardy annual seedlings…

Thin out hardy annual seedlings to give the remaining plants more light and space to flourish:  some of the thinned plants can be carefully replanted elsewhere.  water them in well.

Jun
08

Today I must....thin out my plum tree…

If your plum trees look as if they are going to have a heavy crop, thin out a few now.  Be prepared to repeat at the end of the month as necessary.  This helps prevent the brittle branches cracking under the weight of fruit.

Jun
07

Today I must....net my dessert berries…

Raspberries, redcurrants and dessert gooseberries may be ready to pick soon; before they are, check if you need to erect netting to keep the birds from getting to them first.

Jun
06

Today I must....plant containerised trees in the evening…

If planting a containerised tree try to do so in overcast or weather or in the evening when the sun is going down – this helps reduce damage to the sensitive roots from strong sunlight.

Jun
05

Today I must....check for peony wilt…

Check peonies to see if they are suffering from peony wilt.  This is most likely if the weather has been wet.  Remove any dead growth and then apply a fungicide at the base of each plant.

Jun
04

Today I must....tidy up my hellebores…

Hellebores can be tidied up now, removing old foliage and giving them a feed.  Seed is best sown ripe – wear gloves when handling as the plant can irritate the skin.

Jun
03

Today I must....water shrubs if dry…

Shrubs may be suffering if there is a long, hot dry spell.  If you are able to water them it is better to water less often but well, rather than a little but often.

Jun
02

Today I must....fill gaps with annuals…

If you have any gaps in your perennial borders now is a good time to fill them with annuals to give you extra colour for the rest of the summer.

Jun
01

Today I must....sow courgettes and marrow direct…

Sow courgettes and marrows direct in their beds, spacing them around 90cm (3′) apart and 5cm (2″) deep.  Put three seeds in each spot and simply thin them out if more than one germinates.

May

May
31

Today I must....sow my sweetcorn…

Sow sweetcorn, putting them in clusters of three so that you can thin them down to the strongest.  Make sure you sow at least a dozen clusters in all, around 38cm (15″) apart, as sweetcorn are wind-pollinated.

May
30

Today I must....plant my frost-tender plants…

Time to plant frost-tender plants out in containers now.  Though watch out for the forecast and if cold weather is expected bring them in or cover them with fleece.

May
29

Today I must....plant out my courgettes…

Courgettes and marrows can be safely planted out once all risk of frost has gone.  they will need plenty of space – 90cm (3′) in each direction – and ideally rich, water-retentive soil.

May
28

Today I must....water my heathers…

Heather will need watering if the weather has been warm and dry.  If you live in a hard water area, try to use collected rainwater to prevent the foliage turning yellow.

May
27

Today I must....feed my tomatoes…

Tomatoes, aubergines and sweet peppers should all be fed once a week from now on with a high potash fertiliser to provide strong, healthy plants.

May
26

Today I must....plant germinated melon seeds…

If you have germinated your own melon seeds, now is the time to plant them out in your greenhouse, leaving them around 60cm (2′) apart.

May
25

Today I must....plant my rooted dahlia cuttings…

Rooted dahlia cuttings can be planted out now that all risk of frosts has gone, as long as they have been hardened off in a cold frame or greenhouse.  Remove any aphids you see on them.

May
24

Today I must....sow my cardoons…

Sow cardoons two to a pot and ideally place them in a warm sunny place to germinate.  Discard the weakest of seedlings and plant the others out in the garden in mid June.

May
23

Today I must....feed my lawn…

If applying a light dressing of fertiliser to the lawn, mix it with some sandy soil first to help get a more even distribution and to avoid scorching the grass.  Do not apply fertiliser in dry weather.

May
22

Today I must....remove the blossom from strawberry runners…

Remove blossom from strawberry runners planted in the spring to enable the plants to become stronger and thus provide better fruit later in the year.

May
21

Today I must....sow French beans…

Sow French beans in soil that has been enriched with compost or manure over the winter.  Choose a sheltered spot away from cold winds.

May
20

Today I must....carefully move evergreen hedges…

Evergreen hedges, for example box or laurel, that have been put in the wrong place can with care be moved now.  Try to avoid moving established hedges.

May
19

Today I must....feed my young trees…

All trees and especially recently planted ones will appreciate a feed now, ideally with a specialist tree fertiliser.  It should be raked and watered in well.

May
18

Today I must....plant out half-hardy annuals…

Once half-hardy annual seedlings have been hardened off they can be planted out, providing there is no cold wind.  Water the seedlings well before you plant them.

May
17

Today I must....grow aubergine or pepper plants…

If you have not sown your own, buy aubergine and sweet pepper plants to be grown on in the greenhouse.  Aubergines should be grown 60cm (2′) apart while peppers should be spaced every 45cm (1.5′).

May
16

Today I must....lift my tulips!

Lift tulips to provide space for other plants.  Put the bulbs into a spare piece of ground until the leaves have withered then store them dry until planting out again in the autumn.

May
15

Today I must....keep on top of weeds!

If you have planted young trees over the winter or in the early spring make sure they are kept free of weeds – competition from other plants can hinder their development at this stage.  Mulching is one way of keeping them weed free.

May
14

Today I must....sow attractive winter bedding plants…

Sow attractive winter bedding plants such as ornamental cabbages in 8cm (3″) pots at a temperature of 18 degrees C (65 degrees F) and pot on when large enough to handle.  they can then be kept outside.

May
13

Today I must....feed my spring-flowering bulbs…

Spring-flowering bulbs have finished by now and it is time to give them a good feed to encourage better flowers next year.  If dry, water the fertiliser in well.

May
12

Today I must....thin my gooseberries…

If your gooseberries have set well, thin them out by removing those large enough to be used for cooking and freezing.  The rest can be left to mature for dessert use.

May
11

Today I must....cut back aubretia and alyssum…

Plants such as aubretia and alyssum can become bare in the middle.  If so, cut them back quite hard and then feed them.  This will encourage new growth.

May
10

Today I must....prune my Clematis montana…

Prune Clematis montana once it has finished flowering.  If growing up a large tree it needs little pruning but if you have limited space cut out dead and diseased wood and take back stems to the desired length to encourage good flowering next year.

May
09

Today I must....plant out my container-grown evergreens…

Container-grown evergreens such as holly can be planted out now especially if the soil is damp.  Make sure you choose the right spot first time – they will not like being moved once established.

May
08

Today I must....harden off my ready-planted containers…

If you buy ready-planted hanging baskets or containers you will need to make sure they are hardened off before being left outside permanently.  Keep them outside during warm days but bring in at night and when there are cold winds until they are acclimatised.

May
07

Today I must....support my sweet peas…

Sweet peas will be growing fast by now and will need support and a little training.  Tie them gently to their supporting sticks or twigs and their clinging tendrils will do the rest.

May
06

Today I must....plant and stake my chrysanthemums…

If planting out chrysanthemums, put stakes into the ground first to avoid disturbing the plants once they are in the ground. This is a good time to buy rooted chrysanthemum cuttings.

May
05

Today I must....lift and divide my primulas…

Once early primulas have finished flowering, lift and divide them to produce more plants for next year.  If replanting them back in the same area freshen up the soil with some compost.

May
04

Today I must....sow perennials…

Sow perennials such as achillea, delphinium and lupins straight into shallow drills in flower beds.  Do not sow too closely together.

May
03

Today I must....protect my roses…

Rose diseases can be avoided with some preventative measures, a keen eye and diligence.  Spray new leaves on disease-prone roses with fungicide to prevent infection by mildew, rust or blackspot.

May
02

Today I must....plant last-minute container-grown roses…

If you have any gaps in your shrub beds it is not too late to plant container-grown roses now.  Make sure they are kept well watered early on, especially if the weather is dry.

May
01

Today I must....watch for late frosts…

Keep old newspaper, straw or horticultural fleece handy in case the night-time temperatures are set to drop below freezing and you need to protect vulnerable plants.

April

Apr
30

Today I must....protect my fruit trees from codling moths…

Codling moth is the cause of “maggoty apples”, and a pest that can damage a high proportion of the fruits of apple and plum trees in gardens.  To help reduce their numbers buy pheromone traps – these comprise an open-sided box that is hung in the tree in early May. The bottom of the box has a sticky sheet on which the pheromone pellet is placed. This exudes a scent similar to that produced by virgin female codling moths to attract mates. Male codling moths are lured into the trap and get stuck.

Apr
29

Today I must....feed my strawberry plants…

Feed strawberries with a high potash (potassium) feed, such as tomato fertilizer.  Continue to feed every ten days or so until harvest.

Apr
28

Today I must....start staking my herbaceous plants…

If you haven’t already done so, start staking and training your taller herbaceous plants.  The vigorous growth of many perennials and climbers often needs a helping hand to prevent them flopping over, and putting plant supports in place early means that even the most obvious ones can be hidden by the foliage in just a few weeks.  Use twiggy sticks (cuttings from your shrubs can be useful here), birch trimmings, straight hazel branches, bamboo canes or willow to create supporting structures.

Apr
27

Today I must....plant out my dahlia tubers…

Plant out dahlia tubers stored over the winter, making sure the beds have been prepared with both fertiliser and organic material.

Apr
26

Today I must....buy plug plants…

If you haven’t had time to sow your own bedding plants visit your local garden centre or nursery to buy plug plants – these are young, small plants grown in tiny containers or plugs.  They can be grown on in a greenhouse or cold frame.

Apr
25

Today I must....revive my older shrubs with a hard prune…

Hard pruning can revive some old or poorly performing shrubs now.  Leave young base shoots but cut back the rest.  If there are no young shoots cut the whole shrub back to the ground.  Suitable shrubs for this approach include Syringa (lilac), Forsythia x intermedia, Deutzia and Philadelphus.

Apr
24

Today I must....feed my blackberries and blackcurrants…

Blackcurrants and blackberries need a good feed to help them put on extra growth for the year.  Follow the instructions and don’t over fed – too much soft growth can make them more vulnerable to disease.

Apr
23

Today I must....check my alpines are watered…

Alpine plants always need good drainage but they should be growing well now so check that they have enough water.

Apr
22

Today I must....watch for early aphids…

Watch out for an early attack of aphids on shrub roses.  Removing them now can avoid a build up of large colonies.  They can just be rubbed off.

Apr
21

Today I must....plant my containerised magnolia tree…

If planting a containerised magnolia tree – it is too late now to plant or move bare-rooted trees – make sure you choose a sheltered spot, avoiding any frost pockets or east-facing spots.  As with camellias, early morning sun on frozen buds can damage them.

Apr
20

Today I must....keep cutting the lawn…

When cutting the lawn, vary the direction in which you mow it, alternating between crossways and lengthways.  This helps check coarse grasses and troublesome weeds and can also reduce soil compaction.

Apr
19

Today I must....sow annual climbers under glass…

Annual climbers such as Ipomoea (morning glory) and Cobaea scandens can be sown now under protection at about 18degrees C (65degrees F).  These striking plants add colour and height to the garden but are vulnerable to cold weather, so do not plant out until all risk of frost has gone.

Apr
18

Today I must....sow sweet peas in the ground…

Sow sweet peas directly in the ground now to give you some extra late summer and early autumn colour.  The soil needs to be moisture-retentive.

Apr
17

Today I must....liquid feed my greenhouse tomatoes…

If you are growing tomatoes in a cool greenhouse give them a liquid feed as soon as the first truss of fruit has set.  When potting plants on or preparing them for growbags at this time of year, warm up the compost first by leaving it in the sun.

Apr
16

Today I must....take conifer cuttings…

Take conifer cuttings now to boost your stock.  Remove some side shoots, take off the bottom, older wood and some of the lower leaves, use a rooting hormone and leave in a sheltered spot in well-draining compost.

Apr
15

Today I must....plant my container-grown hedge…

Plant coniferous or evergreen hedges, making sure that plants in containers are given a good soaking in a bucket of water before going into the ground.

Apr
14

Today I must....watch for vine weevil grubs!

Keep an eye out for vine weevil grubs in container plants, especially those under cover.  Either dispatch these cream-coloured creatures yourself or introduce their natural predator – a microscopic nematode worm available by mail order.

Apr
13

Today I must....feed established roses…

Established roses will benefit from giving them a feed, using a balanced fertiliser – hoe it into the top inch of the soil around the base of the plant.

Apr
12

Today I must....check for self-seeded perennials…

Check your borders to see if any of your annual or perennial plants have self-seeded.  Many such as Verbena bonariensis and foxgloves do this frequently.  If moving them to another site, water them in well.

Apr
11

Today I must....liquid feed my fruit trees…

Fruit trees such as fig, peach, apricot or nectarine growing in containers or against a wall will benefit from a liquid feed – the one you use for tomato plants will do.

Apr
10

Today I must....sow tomatoes under cover…

If planning to grow tomatoes outside, sow them under cover now in shallow trays or 8cm (3″) pots in good quality compost.  Putting them in a propogator at 22 degrees C (70 degrees F) will help them germinate.

Apr
09

Today I must....sow hardy annuals seeds into the ground…

Sow hardy annual seeds directly into the ground now, on beds that have been well raked to provide a fine tilth.  Do not attempt to do this if the ground is wet and sticky.

Apr
08

Today I must....lightly prune my lavender…

Give lavender its light annual pruning, cutting back the tips of the shoots with secateurs or shears.  This helps the shrubs stay bushy.  Don’t cut into older wood.

Apr
07

Today I must....think ahead – sow winter brassicas!

Sow winter brassicas in a prepared seedbed ready for planting on in their permanent position when they have developed two or three true leaves.

Apr
06

Today I must....ventilate and water the greenhouse…

In the cold greenhouse plants will need greater ventilation as the weather gets warmer and plenty of water as they start to grow.  Vines should be sprayed with water to encourage them into growth.

Apr
05

Today I must....start dealing with my snails and slugs!

Warm wet weather will soon bring out the snails and slugs.  If you are gardening organically use organic slug pellets sparingly.  Beer traps are a useful alternative way of killing these pests and you can also lay out a flat stone for passing thrushes to use as an ‘anvil’ to smash snail shells.

Apr
04

Today I must....mulch my perennial beds…

Mulch perennial beds to prevent weeds growing between them.  The best time to do this is when the soil is moist and also warm after a sunny spell.

Apr
03

Today I must....plant gladioli…

Plant gladioli in any gaps you have in the borders.  This will give you a splash of colour in August when many other blooms may be fading.

Apr
02

Today I must....check my pond pumps…

If you have a pond, it’s time to re-install surface pumps and make sure that submersible pumps are running freely and are not clogged up.

Apr
01

Today I must....weed my rock garden…

Weed rock gardens thoroughly to stop weeds from setting seed and making more work for you later in the year.

March

Mar
31

Today I must....plant my onion sets…

Plant onion sets 2.5cm (1″) deep in rows, taking care to cover them completely so that foraging blackbirds do not pull them out.

Mar
30

Today I must....watch out for late frosts…

If you still have protection over tender perennials you should be able to remove this now though you will need to keep an eye out for heavy late frosts – or even snow!  Lift and divide them if you want to increase the number of your plants.

Mar
29

Today I must....sow basil seeds under glass…

Sow basil under the protection of glass at a minimum temperature of 13 degrees C (55 degrees F).  Prick out into a tray and slowly harden off.  Plant out when all risk of frost has passed.

Mar
28

Today I must....plant early potatoes outdoors…

Early potatoes can be risked outside now.  Plant them about six inches deep but be prepared to cover the area with fleece or other suitable material if there is danger of frost.

Mar
27

Today I must....cut back my Cornus and Salix…

If you grow dogwood (Cornus) and willow (Salix) for the colour of their stems, cut them back hard now.  This will promote strong new growth and coloured stems that will be attractive next winter.

Mar
26

Today I must....sow alpine strawberries…

Sow alpine strawberries under glass, to be planted out in the garden in May where the plant makes an attractive border plant as well as producing fruit.  Runners of ordinary strawberry plants can be planted out.

Mar
25

Today I must....feed my lawn…

This is a good time to feed the lawn with a liquid fertiliser unless the weather has been very cold.  Depending where you are in the country you may already be mowing the lawn regularly – but don’t cut it during cold weather or when the lawn is too wet.

Mar
24

Today I must....prune spring-flowered shrubs…

Once they have finished flowering, prune shrubs such as forsythia, kerria and broom to give them maximum time to grow before next spring.  These shrubs flower on the previous year’s growth.

Mar
23

Today I must....sow my hardy herbs…

Hardy herbs such as parsley, fennel, chives and coriander can be sown outside.  Sow them in drills, as for vegetables, and place in their final destination once large enough to handle.

Mar
22

Today I must....propagate shrubs by layering…

Propagate shrubs such as forsythias, philadelphus and hydrangeas by layering.  Within a year the new shrub should have rooted and be ready to be detached from the parent plant and sited elsewhere.

Mar
21

Today I must....move my half-hardy annuals to the cold frame…

Half-hardy annual seedlings that were pricked out last month should now be strong enough to move to a cold frame.  Cover the frame with sacking or other material if frost is forecast.

Mar
20

Today I must....start sowing my lettuce now…

Start sowing lettuce now in shallow drills no more than 2cm (3/4″) deep to get first crops in around ten weeks.  Sow sparingly but regularly to achieve a good continuous supply of plants through the spring and summer.

Mar
19

Today I must....sow tomato, pepper and aubergine seeds…

Sow tomatoes, peppers and aubergines in a cool greenhouse.  Use a propagator and a temperature of 21 degrees C (70 degrees F) to help them germinate and pot up individually when large enough to handle.

Mar
18

Today I must....sow beetroot seeds…

Choose an open, sunny site to plant beetroot in drills about 2.5cm (1″) deep.  Make sure you sow cultivars that are suitable for early sowing and which will not ‘bolt’.

Mar
17

Today I must....plant roses in containers…

Plant roses in containers, using soil-based composts such as John Innes No. 3 rather than soil-less media.  This will not only hold key nutrients better but will also reduce the amount of watering needed.

Mar
16

Today I must....sow asparagus seed…

Sow asparagus seed now in drills about 5cm (2″) deep and spacing the rows about 30cm (12″) apart.  Make sure the soil is fertile.  You can also plant asparagus crowns now.

Mar
15

Today I must....deadhead spent daffodil flowers…

Deadhead spent daffodil flowers to prevent the plant’s energy going into making seed rather than building up the bulb.  Don’t remove the leaves as these help them store energy.

Mar
14

Today I must....plant my spent hyacinth bulbs outside…

Take any remaining hyacinth bulbs from inside the house and plant them outside, giving them a good feed to help them develop for next year.

Mar
13

Today I must....sow my sweet peas outdoors…

Sweet peas sown in October can be planted out in the garden as long as the weather is not too cold or too wet.  First, however, gradually acclimatise them to outdoor conditions by placing their pots outside on warmer days and taking back inside at night.

Mar
12

Today I must....mulch my hedges…

Stimulate growth in a hedge that is not developing quickly by giving it a deep mulch – up to 8cm (3″) – of well-rotted manure.

Mar
11

Today I must....protect my young hostas from slug damage!

Protect young tender shoots of plants such as hostas and delphiniums from slug and snail damage by putting a physical barrier around the individual plants.  Coarse grit is a good deterrent.

Mar
10

Today I must....divide my snowdrops…

If you are planning to reposition your snowdrops (species of Galanthus) now is a good time. Unlike most bulbous plants, snowdrops are best moved while growing, not when dormant.

Mar
09

Today I must....prune my gooseberry bushes…

If you did not prune your gooseberry bushes in the autumn, now is the time to do so.  Cut back the main stems by a third and side shoots back to the third bud.  Make the cuts just above a bud.

Mar
08

Today I must....prune my rose bushes…

Prune rose bushes, cutting back weaker-growing plants harder than strong-growing ones as this will encourage new growth.  Use clean, sharp secateurs and cut back to a dormant, outward facing bud.

Mar
07

Today I must....propagate my delphinium cuttings…

Propagate delphinium and Michaelmas daisy cuttings which should be in growth now if they were brought into the greenhouse in January.

Mar
06

Today I must....sow perennial plant seeds…

If you have not done so already, sow perennial plants such as aquilegia, delphinium, Eryngium and oriental poppies (Papaver orientale).  Apply gentle heat and the seeds should germinate within three weeks and make substantial plants by the autumn – ready to flower next year.

Mar
05

Today I must....propagate my Chrysanthemums…

To propagate Chrysanthemums, remove developing shoots, trim them, and place them in pots or trays of a sandy compost to root under cover.

Mar
04

Today I must....prepare the ground for hedge planting…

Prepare the ground ready for planting an evergreen hedge next month, making sure you remove all perennial weed roots from the site.

Mar
03

Today I must....check my young outdoor plants…

Check young outdoor plants for wilting, especially if the weather has been sunny and windy as these conditions can quickly dry them.  If necessary, damp foliage with a fine spray.

Mar
02

Today I must....sow my dahlia seeds…

Sow dahlia seeds in good seed compost and keep them at a temperature of around 18degrees C (64 degrees F).  Once they have germinated, prick them out into seed boxes or individual pots.

Mar
01

Today I must....trim summer-flowering heathers…

Trim summer-flowering heathers with a pair of sharp shears.  Cut off the flowered growths but be careful to prune no lower than the base of the flowering spike.

February

Feb
28

Today I must....manage my hedge roots…

If you have a problem with hedge roots crowding into a border take a spade and push it hard into the ground along the length of the hedge, in a line about 45cm (18″) from its centre.  This will sever the roots without harming the hedge.

Feb
27

Today I must....check over my canes…

Examine any canes and stakes you intend using later in the year and ensure they are in good condition.  If necessary, cut them back to remove any rotting material.

Feb
26

Today I must....prune back my Pyracantha…

If you did not prune wall-trained Pyracantha in the autumn, cut back any long growth that extends beyond the general framework to within two buds of the main frame.

Feb
25

Today I must....prepare to sow a new lawn…

If planning to sow a new area of lawn in the spring, prepare the ground now if it is not too wet or frosty.  Use a cultivator with prongs to break up lumpy areas.

Feb
24

Today I must....check my shrubs for winter damage…

Check shrubs for any signs of disease, weather damage or dead wood and remove using a clean and sharp pair of secateurs.

Feb
23

Today I must....thin out my hardy annuals…

Finish thinning out hardy annual plants sown in autumn, but only do this if the weather is dry – don’t walk on the soil if it is sticky.  Use spare plants to fill up any gaps elsewhere in your garden.

Feb
22

Today I must....cut back my clematis…

Cut back Jackmanii and Viticella groups of clematis to about 30cm (12″) from the ground.  However, if you want early flowers prune less severely.

Feb
21

Today I must....complete my tree pruning…

Formative pruning of deciduous trees should be completed by the end of this month, otherwise developing buds could be damaged.  Cherry trees and other Prunus species are best left until early summer.

Feb
20

Today I must....formative prune my deciduous trees…

Formative pruning of deciduous trees should be completed by the end of this month, otherwise developing buds could be damaged.  Cherry trees and other Prunus species are best left until early summer.

Feb
19

Today I must....continue dead-heading winter-flowering pansies…

If you dead-head winter-flowering pansies regularly they will reward you by continuing to bloom right into spring or even early summer.

Feb
18

Today I must....increase my favourite heathers…

Increase a favourite heather by ‘dropping’ it.  This technique involves digging the plant up and putting it in a large new hole leaving just the tips showing.  Backfill with a gritty compost.  Within a year the stem tips should have formed new rooted plants.

Feb
17

Today I must....cut back my autumn-fruiting raspberries…

Cut back autumn-fruiting raspberries now to ground level, to allow new growth in the spring.  Feed with a high-potash fertiliser afterwards.

Feb
16

Today I must....keep watering my containers…

Plants left in containers grown outside can often dry out at this time of year – especially evergreens.  Water as necessary, ideally in the morning, but be sparing and don’t do it if a frost is forecast.

Feb
15

Today I must....move my sweet peas into a cold frame…

If you sowed sweet peas in January, the seedlings should be ready now to be moved into a cold frame.  Pinch out the growing tip of autumn-grown plants to encourage bushy growth.

Feb
13

Today I must....feed my fruit trees…

Feed fruit trees, bushes and canes with a nitrogen, potassium and phosphorous fertiliser to encourage growth, strong roots and good fruit.  Mulch them afterwards.

Feb
12

Today I must....plant my bare-rooted deciduous hedging plants…

It’s not too late to plant bare-rooted deciduous hedging plants; but if the soil is wet, wait until it has dried out before firming them in completely.

Feb
11

Today I must....prepare for early planting and sowing…

If you have light, well-draining soil, dig and manure your vegetable patch and prepare seedbeds ready for early planting and sowing.

Feb
10

Today I must....move my strawberry plants…

Move strawberry plants that have over-wintered in a cold frame into the greenhouse ready to fruit in May.

Feb
09

Today I must....plant bare-rooted cane fruits…

If you are planning to plant bare-rooted cane fruits this year you need to complete this task soon.  They need lots of organic matter dug into the soil.  All the canes will need supporting – apart from autumn-fruiting raspberries.

Feb
08

Today I must....sow early maturing peas…

Sow early maturing peas and lettuce in a pot or seedbox filled with seed compost ready for planting outdoors next month.  Peas are best sown individually in small pots to avoid disturbing the roots.

Feb
07

Today I must....plant Anemone coronaria…

Plant Anemone coronaria – for example the De Caen group – for a good summer display.  Soak the tubers for a couple of days before planting to stimulate growth.

Feb
06

Today I must....check my alpines…

Check alpines kept in cold frames and greenhouses and pot up any seedlings that have appeared, making sure they are given a gritty, well-draining compost.

Feb
05

Today I must....prick out half-hardy annuals…

If you sowed half-hardy annuals in January they should be ready for pricking out now from their pots or trays into compost-filled boxes to give them more room to develop.  Make sure they get good light and enough heat.

Feb
04

Today I must....prune winter-flowering shrubs…

If your Hamamelis (witch hazel) has finished flowering for the winter, prune out any unwanted branches or those that are crossing – if they rub together in the wind this could damage them.

Feb
03

Today I must....sow hardy annuals…

Sow hardy annuals in a cold frame or cold greenhouse.  They are best grown in the individual cells of a modular tray – this reduces the amount of root disturbance when you plant them out.

Feb
02

Today I must....nurture spent bulbs…

Bulbs that were taken inside and which have now finished flowering can be returned to the greenhouse or cold frame and fed with a potash liquid fertiliser.  Do not apply during frosty weather.

Feb
01

Today I must....fertilise my perennial beds…

Finish off forking over well-established perennial beds and remove all perennial weeds.  Sprinkle general fertiliser (we favour chicken manure pellets) to give your plants a good start when they start their re-growth.

January

Jan
31

Today I must....sow spring onions…

Sow spring onions in the greenhouse border, having first worked in some compost and a little light fertiliser.  Scatter seeds thinly.

Jan
30

Today I must....protect my evergreen shrubs…

If there is a prolonged spell of cold, drying easterly or northerly winds, protect your evergreen shrubs from losing moisture and drying out by erecting a protective screen.

Jan
29

Today I must....clean up my mower!

Examine your mower and make sure it is in good condition or take it to a specialist for a check.  If you wait until spring, when everyone is taking their mower, this will take more time.

Jan
28

Today I must....make a note of early-flowering bulbs…

If you have just moved into a new home, make a note of where any early-flowering bulbs appear, marking the spot or area with twigs or a stick.  This will make them easier to find should you want to move them later.

Jan
27

Today I must....prepare for an early crop of strawberries…

To get an early crop of strawberries, cover the plants with a cloche or polythene tunnel and leave them there until about mid-March.

Jan
26

Today I must....create a hardwood hedge…

The cheapest way to create a hardwood hedge is to make it from hardwood cuttings placed where you want the hedge to grow.  Dig a trench along the line of the hedge and space the cuttings about 30cm (1′) apart.  If drainage is poor, add sharp sand to the trench.

Jan
25

Today I must....cut back yew and privet hedges…

If the weather is mild, yew or privet hedges can be cut back hard now if they are overgrown or have developed a thin patch.  Cut back to within 15cm (6″) of the main stem.

Jan
24

Today I must....start sowing bedding plants…

Sow bedding plants such as begonias, pelargoniums, lobelias and gazanias that need a long growing season if they are to flower in the summer.  Use a heated propogator to keep ground temperatures around 21 degrees C (68 degrees F).  You can also sow half-hardy annuals.

Jan
23

Today I must....spray winter wash carefully…

If using a winter wash on deciduous trees to kill off insect pests and their over-wintering eggs, take care to avoid getting the spray on evergreen trees or grass.  Do not spray during strong winds or frost.

Jan
22

Today I must....stop my hedges crowding the borders…

If you have a problem with hedge roots crowding into a border take a spade and push it hard into the ground along the length of the hedge, in a line about 45cm (18″) from its centre.  This will sever the roots without harming the hedge.

Jan
21

Today I must....get digging…

Digging is great January exercise, but also very beneficial – the frosty weather helps break down heavy clods of soil.  Remove any emerging weeds and add well-rotted organic matter in the top spit and as mulch.

Jan
20

Today I must....continue planting bare-root trees and shrubs…

Continue planting bare-root deciduous hedging plants, shrubs and trees and move any established deciduous trees or shrubs if necessary – but only providing the ground is not sodden or frozen and there are no strong winds forecast!

Jan
19

Today I must....collect twigs and small branches…

Collect material for making pea sticks to support herbaceous perennials; hazel and birch are best.

Jan
18

Today I must....start tidying my borders…

Start by cutting back herbaceous perennials, but consider leaving them in certain areas if seed heads and hollow stems are useful for over-wintering wildlife.

Jan
17

Today I must....see what repairs are needed…

When the soil is too cold or water-logged to do anything with, instead spend time carrying out repair jobs.  Check for broken or weak fence panels and fix up bird boxes; check over the handles of your tools, sand down and wipe over with boiled linseed oil.

Jan
15

Today I must....do an early check for weeds…

Some weeds will continue to grow in winter and it is easier to remove weeds with long taproots, such as dandelions and docks, at this time of year.

Jan
14

Today I must....sow vegetables under glass…

Under glass: broad beans, sprouting broccoli, leeks and onions can all be started now. Outdoors: sow cut-and-come-again salad crops, radishes and lettuces (protect the latter). Cut-and-come-again crops will be ready 3-4 weeks after sowing.

Jan
13

Today I must....prepare veg beds for early sowings…

In mild areas fork the beds over, rake well and cover soil with black polythene to warm the soil for early sowings. Leave the polythene in place for between 2-4 weeks, or longer if the weather turns particularly cold.

Jan
12

Today I must....wash and tidy my pots….

When it’s cold and rainy or even snowing, get ahead by brushing off or washing your pots and seed trays, store in plastic bags ready for use in a few weeks time.

Jan
11

Today I must....check my trees for disease or damage…

Check all trees for disease or damage and prune as necessary. Remove any crossing or rubbing branches and check that tree ties are not too tight. Always disinfect pruning tools.

Jan
10

Today I must....heel in any bare-root trees or shrubs…

If your bare-roots trees and shrubs arrive during a period of bad weather, the ground is too frozen or you just can’t get around to planting them in situ immediately, you can heel them in. Pile some soil into a wedge shape, sloping down into a trench large enough to take the roots. Lay plants in the trench with the trunks/stems supported by the wedge. Cover with a good layer of soil, so they are protected from the cold and can’t dry out.

Jan
09

Today I must....deadhead my pansies…

If you can get to your winter-flowering pansies, and they’re not all covered with snow, after the worst of the cold is over it’s a good time to deadhead them. They should recover quickly ready to give another flush of flowers.

Jan
08

Today I must....force a crop of early rhubarb…

Force an early crop of rhubarb by covering dormant buds with straw or dry leaves inside a forcing pot or large bucket that excludes the light.

Jan
07

Today I must....try make my steps and paths safe…

When heavy rain, snow or frost hits, our paths and steps can become quite treacherous. Take early precautions by scrubbing away any algae build-up, then grit when necessary to prevent accidents.

Jan
06

Today I must....protect against frost damage…

Move containers close to walls to offer some protection. If sharp frost or snow is forecast move containers under glass if possible, or wrap with horticultural fleece or bubble wrap before everything freezes solid.

Jan
05

Today I must....look after the birds…

During winter it’s essential to keep food tables full and bird-baths free of ice and topped up with fresh water.

Jan
04

Today I must....continue pruning fruit trees…

They are completely dormant at this time, so continue pruning any mature apple and pear trees (not espaliers, cordons or fans). The aim is to thin the tree to allow in more light and encourage fewer but larger, healthier fruit.

Jan
03

Today I must....tidy my hellebores…

Remove the old leaves from hellebores (Helleborus niger and H. x hybridus) leaving space for the new buds and leaves to appear.

Jan
02

Today I must....check on my greenhouse plants…

On sunny days make sure there’s adequate ventilation. Watering greenhouse or conservatory plants early in the day will give them time to absorb moisture and dry out, which will prevent disease.

Jan
01

Today I must....dispose of my Christmas tree…

If you have a rooted tree give it a new lease of life by planting outdoors. if not, dispose of it in one of the local parks where special pens have been set up, or recycle by shredding to produce small chippings to add to the compost bin.

December

Dec
28

Today I must....find a spot for yellow witch hazels…

Nothing brightens up the winter garden as much as Hamemelis (witch hazel) which produces yellow, orange or red spidery, spicily-scented flowers in mid- to late winter.

Dec
27

Today I must....consider my winter interest planting…

Now’s a great time to review your winter garden. Does it have good winter structure? The right balance of evergreen and bare-branch shrubs and trees? Enough early spring plants coming through? Make notes and take photos, these will be invaluable when it comes to planning for next winter.

Dec
26

Today I must....check out the garden centre sales…

Today it may be worth checking out what’s on offer at your local garden centre – or, if you can’t bear the thought of hitting the sales, howabout a country walk to refresh the spirit.

Dec
25

Today I must....relax, it’s Christmas day…

Unlikely of course, but if at all possible enjoy some ‘me time’ in the garden – even a brief five-minute walkabout will restore your energy!

Dec
24

Today I must....enjoy the calm before the storm!

It’s Christmas Eve, if you have a moment to spare take a quiet walk through your winter garden – and enjoy the calm before the storm!

Dec
23

Today I must....take a rest…

And prepare for festivities! With family and friends starting to gather around, now is the time to let the garden rest and enjoy some down time!

Dec
22

Today I must....prune my young roses…

Any leggy young shrub roses should be pruned back lightly to prevent wind-rock.

Dec
21

Today I must....join the RHS for 2010…

If you’re not already a member do consider joining the Royal Horticultural Society. Not only do you get free entry to all RHS gardens and discounted tickets to the RHS shows (such as Chelsea and Hampton Court Palace) – you also receive The Garden magazine monthly and have access to RHS expert advice whenever needed.

Dec
20

Today I must....join The National Trust for 2016…

If you’re not already a member, do consider joining The National Trust. Whether you’re interested in gardens, castles, wildlife, or just somewhere peaceful to relax, National Trust membership gives you a wide variety of things to do, as often as you like, for free. In Sussex alone, we have Nymans, Sheffield Park, Standen and Wakehurst Place!

Dec
19

Today I must....continue mulching the borders…

If you haven’t the time or energy to fork over your borders, then sprinkle over a mulch of compost instead. Spread thickly over the crowns of hardy plants, around trees and shrubs, and along the base of hedges.

Dec
18

Today I must....cut down my ornamental grasses…

Miscanthus and hakonechloa can look past their best by December, so now’s a good time to tidy them up. If you leave this task until spring, you’ll find it difficult snipping out the old stems from between the new shoots.

Dec
17

Today I must....wash down the greenhouse…

Give the greenhouse a thorough wash inside and out to remove grime and mould build up. Easist to use is a long-handled brush attached to a hose.

Dec
16

Today I must....choose gardening books as gifts…

If your friends and family are keen gardeners, they will love to receive a gardening book as a Christmas gift. The choice is now endless: consider their interests – allotments or vegetable growing, cutting garden flowers, or specialist plants books.

Dec
15

Today I must....prevent my pond from freezing over…

If there’s any chance of your pond or pool freezing over, float a rubber ball on the water surface so that should ice form you can lift it out leaving a breathing hole for fish.

Dec
14

Today I must....clear debris from around my pond…

Clear dead marginal plants from around ponds, also use a net to collect leaves and floating debris and put onto compost heap.

Dec
13

Today I must....keep my bird baths topped up…

Regularly clear any debris or leaves from your bird baths, and top up every few days with fresh water.

Dec
12

Today I must....bring garden canes into the greenhouse…

Wash soil off your bamboo canes and hazel or willow bean supports. Either wipe over with linseed oil, or steep the ends for an hour or so in preservative. Stack neatly in the greenhouse or shed, out of the wind and rain.

Dec
11

Today I must....put up nesting boxes…

Now’s a great time to put up some nest boxes around the garden. Simple wooden boxes, sited on trees or walls in areas with some shelter or surrounding shrubs, work best.

Dec
10

Today I must....make a Christmas wreath…

Pick a selection of evergreen foliage, berries and crab apples, hydrangea heads and sprigs of rosemary from your garden. Buy synthetic green moss, for your base, plus fir-cones and ribbons to decorate. Make a stiff wire circle, use raffia to tie on bunches of the moss, then using thin florists wire attach or tie-in layers of foliage and decorations.

Dec
09

Today I must....‘heel in’ my bare-root roses…

If you have received bare-rooted roses from a supplier or perhaps as a gift and the site is not yet ready, you can ‘heel in’ the plants in a sheltered spot in the garden until their final destination is prepared.  This means covering the roots with soil and firming them in.

Dec
08

Today I must....keep checking my forced bulbs…

If your indoor bulbs are still tucked away in a cool shed or garage, don’t forget to keep an eye on them, topping up with a little water, and bringing indoors once an inch or two is peeking above the soil level.

Dec
07

Today I must....cut foliage for indoor decoration…

Viburnum, winter-flowering jasmine, holly and ivy all make wonderful indoor displays. Also branches of late-flowering pyracantha and Hamamelis look stunning on their own in a large vase.

Dec
06

Today I must....buy my Christmas tree…

If you can buy a tree that’s potted complete with roots, it will last longest and you can keep it to use another year. Maybe a conifer that you can plant in the garden afterwards; whilst it’s indoors treat it like a large pot plant, watering regularly and siting away from radiators.

Dec
05

Today I must....take photos of my winter garden…

You may think the garden looks a little unsightly just now, but this is a great time to take photos. Close-ups of decorative seedheads and winter berries and foliage are great for Christmas cards, or look good lined up along your mantlepiece. Long-shots are useful to review in spring when you’re deciding what to plant – think ahead to ensure next autumn you have fewer gaps!

Dec
04

Today I must....cut dried seedheads for decorations…

Dried seedheads make excellent seasonal decorations. Think of teasles, Japanese anemone heads, artichoke and hydrangea heads. If you cut and saved these in dry weather, now’s the time to spray with silver or gold, bunch together and tie with bright red raffia or ribbon.

Dec
03

Today I must....pot up tulips as gifts for Christmas…

Pots of bulbs make fantastic seasonal gifts – old terracotta pots, planted with tulips and muscari, covered with moss or gravel, and tied around with a big festive ribbon!

Dec
02

Today I must....clear away debris from paths and walls…

Now’s a good time to brush the pathways clear of slippery leaves. Also cut back ivy and clear up any rubbish left in corners around the garden to help avoid too many overwintering slugs and snails.

Dec
01

Today I must....clean up my shed…

This is a great time for tackling jobs ‘indoor’ jobs, especially on a cold or rainy day. After a busy autumn the shed is a mess, so clean up garden tools (wash blades and wipe over with linseed oil), wash pots and seedtrays and stack away neatly, and brush up any debris on the floor.

November

Nov
30

Today I must....clear out the water garden…

If you have a pond or water garden it’ll be looking pretty congested and untidy by now. Now’s the time to do your autumn clear-out (if you didn’t last month), and to clean pool filters and check all cables and pumps.

Nov
29

Today I must....order my 2014 catalogues…

Get planning for next year’s planting. Nothing is more fun on a cold winter’s day than thinking about changes you want to make to your garden, pouring over the latest catalogues and getting ahead!

Nov
28

Today I must....make fat cakes for the birds…

Enjoy watching birds feeding in your garden all through the winter by making your own fat cakes for them. Feeding garden birds is important for their survival over the coming months so make up a pot of our mixture and watch the birds arrive.  Mix lard or suet with a combination of wild bird seed, currants, sultanas, oats, bread crumbs and grated cheese.

Nov
27

Today I must....lag my outdoor tap…

When hard frosts are forecast, either pop on a specially insulated tap-cosy, or simply wrap well with newspaper and bubble-wrap covered with a plastic bag.

Nov
26

Today I must....check the compost heap for mice…

As mice and rats prepare to hunker down for winter, where nicer to make their bed than in your compost heap! Disturb the heap regularly – also check they don’t tunnel into your shed or greenhouse, and keep any stored fruit or veg well protected.

Nov
25

Today I must....make a cuttings bed…

Use a spare corner of the garden. to create a ‘nursery bed’ where you can overwinter root cuttings and leave undisturbed for the following year

Nov
24

Today I must....check fruit in store…

Any fruit that’s been put into storage needs regular checking. Any showing even the first sign of bruising, damage or going soft should be removed immediately – and baked in a pie!

Nov
23

Today I must....divide fibrous-rooted perennials…

As long as you’re not on heavy clay, now is a good time to cut down your fibrous-rooted perennials, dig them up and divide them (if you do garden on clay, better to leave this task until spring). Aster novi-belgii (Michaelmas daisies), Solidago (goldenrod) and perennial helianthus are all prime candidates for this autumn treatment.

Nov
22

Today I must....prepare my dahlias for winter…

Here in the milder south, and where the soil is well drained, it is safe enough to leave your dahlia tubers in the ground all winter. They still need some protection however, so once the foliage blackens (following the first hard frost) cut down the tops and cover the area over with around 4″ (10cm) of organic mulch, bark chippings or even gravel. In colder areas, cut the stems back to 9″ (15cm) and lift the tubers. Dry them upside down under cover for two weeks then store for winter in dry compost or sawdust in a cool frost-free place.

Nov
21

Today I must....move large deciduous shrubs…

If you’re looking to reorganise your garden and need to move any established shrubs, now is a good time. Ensure they are leaflessand dormant, anytime from around mid-November to mid-March should be fine, dig out the plant keeping as large a rootball as possible and taking care particularly of the smaller fibrous roots (these young roots are better able to take in water and nutrients, helping the plant to recover quickly). If you’re moving it some distance, wrap securely in sacking, then plant as you would a pot-grown shrub.

Nov
20

Today I must....plant bare-root plants…

Whether you’re looking at planting roses, or a new hedge or tree – whilst you can plant bare roots plants any time up to bud burst in early spring, now is the ideal time as the ground is relatively warm and not yet too boggy or frozen. Don’t keep the plants hanging around – once they arrive aim to plant straight away, or at least heel them in (bury the roots in any spare patch of ground to keep them moist).

Nov
19

Today I must....plant my own garlic…

Like overwintering onions, garlic is easy to grow – and in our milder southern climate, it’s fine to plant now. Buy bulbs specially grown for planting, break up the big bulb and plant each clove individually 4-6″ apart, with only the tip showing. They’ll grow slowly over winter, but have a head start over bulbs grown in spring, giving you a great crop in good time for early summer salads!

Nov
18

Today I must....continue mowing…

In today’s milder winters grass continues growing long after you’d expect it to have stopped. You won’t need to mow as often as in summer, but take advantage of any dry spells and keep mowing through the winter months – otherwise it will look a complete mess by spring!

Nov
17

Today I must....protect outdoor bulbs from squirrels…

To prevent squirrels digging up your container and garden bulbs (they are particularly keen on tulip bulbs!) – cover pots with small gauge wire mesh (cut in squares and fold over the pot edge) or use birch twigs poked into the container to keep squirrels at bay and provide support when the stems emerge.

Nov
16

Today I must....check on the snails…!

Snails start to hibernate around November, so it’s an ideal time to look around – under pots and in crevices – and to deal with them!

Nov
15

Today I must....continue planting outdoor bulbs…

It is fine to carry on planting tulips and hyacinths through November and December. Remember: depth should be three times the height of the bulb, ideally place a little horticultural grit in the planting hole first.

Nov
14

Today I must....plant my tulip bulbs…

If you haven’t planted your tulips don’t worry – it’s not too late. In fact, bulbs planted now are less likely to suffer from the disease called ‘tulip fire’ than those put into the ground in October.

Nov
13

Today I must....bring on my Christmas Roses…

The so-called Christmas Rose – Helleborus niger – does not usually bloom by 25 December, but you can help it flower by then if you cover it with a cloche to protect it from cold winds.

Nov
13

Today I must....plant lily bulbs…

Plant lily bulbs in pots filled with compost to make a great and scented display for next summer. Put grit in the planting hole to ensure good drainage, and leave the pots outside.

November

Nov
12

Today I must....think ahead and order my seed…

Think and plan ahead to next year by ordering seed catalogues to see what old and new varieties catch your eye.  You can also now find many of them online.

Nov
12

Today I must....protect tall stems from wind damage…

If you live in an exposed, windy location cut back the tallest stems of late-flowering shrubs to make sure they are not damaged by autumn and winter gales.

November

Nov
11

Today I must....plant my bare-rooted roses…

This is a good time to plant any bare-rooted roses you have ordered or that may be available at your local nursery.  Wait for frost-free weather before putting them in the ground.

Nov
09

Today I must....prepare beds for next year…

It’s too late to sow hardy annuals but you can prepare the bed for next spring.  Give the soil a rough dig, leaving the frosts to break it down.  Don’t add manure as this might make the soil too rich for them.

Nov
08

Today I must....plant out some rhubarb…

Plant out rhubarb now, giving each plant plenty of space – up to 90cm (36″) in each direction if possible.  Give each plant a spadeful of well-rotted manure.

Nov
07

Today I must....clean my bird tables…

Birds are preparing for winter as well as humans.  Clean the bird table and feeders ready for feeding them during the winter.

Nov
06

Today I must....burn any diseased rose leaves…

If your roses showed any signs of disease during the year, make sure you do not put the dead leaves on the compost heap – it’s safer to burn them to stop disease spreading.

Nov
05

Today I must....plant deciduous shrubs…

This is a good time of year to plant deciduous shrubs, whether they are in containers or bare-rooted.  make sure the roots do not dry out before planting them.

Nov
04

Today I must....cover my brassicas…

Brassicas will become a tempting target for pigeons as the weather gets colder and food scarcer – cover them with horticultural fleece, supporting it several inches above the plants themselves.

Nov
03

Today I must....consider shrubs for winter colour…

Think about shrubs that can give you autumn and winter colour and make a note of those you might want to plant next year ready for the autumn.  Choices include Viburnum x bodnantense and the delightful Prunus x subhirtella ‘Autumnalis’.

Nov
02

Today I must....be careful around bonfires…

Bonfires are sometimes necessary in the garden – and also fun – even if much material can be shredded or put directly onto compost heaps.  However, if making a seasonal bonfire watch out for hibernating hedgehogs in rubbish piles – they are useful allies against pests.

Nov
01

Today I must....plant out perennials…

It’s not too late to plant out or divide perennials but this needs to be done soon before the soil gets too wet and cold.  Otherwise, double dig beds now for planting out in the spring.

October

Oct
31

Today I must....try root pruning…

If you have a tree that flowers poorly or not at all, root pruning can sometimes do the trick; this involves digging a trench around the tree and cutting through some roots.  this encourages new, fibrous roots to grow and helps promote flowering.

Oct
30

Today I must....sow peas for spring picking…

This is a good crop for the unheated greenhouse. If you are planting outside choose a sheltered part of the garden or veg bed, and cover with cloches or horticultural fleece to ensure they make it through the winter.

Oct
29

Today I must....plant out my onion sets…

Use hardy, over-wintering cultivars. Plant in well-drained soil, space sets 5″ (25cm) apart in either direction, or 2″ (10cm) apart in rows 7″ (35cm) apart.

Oct
28

Today I must....make my own leafmould…

Falling leaves can be a nuisance, but they are also a ready source of home-grown leafmould. You can make your own container with posts and chicken wire (approx. 1m sq.) or simply store them – wet – in a hessian sack or bin-liner with a few holes punched in it. Then stow away in a quiet corner of the garden – the leafmould should be ready in a year or two.

Oct
27

Today I must....cut down my Jerusalem artichokes…

Cut down Jerusalem artichoke tops, shred them and add to your compost heap or directly as a mulch on a garden bed. Harvest the edible roots during the autumn.

Oct
26

Today I must....plant heathers…

If you like heathers this is a great time to plant them. However, make sure the weather is not too cold or too wet. If the plants are dry, soak them well before planting. Heathers are great for container planting, mix with spring bulbs or evergreens.

Oct
25

Today I must....store my fruit for winter…

If storing fruit such as apples and pears make sure they have the following three key conditions: coolness, darkness and a little ventilation. Store fruit that ripen in mid-season away from late-ripening fruit.

Oct
24

Today I must....sow broad beans…

Sow winter-hardy broad beans directly into the soil, though you may need to protect them with a cloche in colder areas. Space them about 6″ (15cm) apart.

Oct
23

Today I must....tidy up the vegetable beds…

Remaining potatoes should be lifted now for storage, as should carrots and beet sown before midsummer. Cut off asparagus ferns when they turn yellow and before the berries fall – burn them rather than put them on the compost heap.

Oct
22

Today I must....plant my mixed borders…

If planting a mixed border of perennials and/or biennials with tulips, plant the bulbs last to avoid damaging them.

Oct
21

Today I must....take hardwood cuttings…

A wide variety of deciduous shrubs such as buddleja, dogwoods and Philadelphus can be propogated from hardwood cuttings now. It is easy, fun, and above all cheap!

Oct
20

Today I must....net over the pond…

Cover the pond with netting to stop autumn leaves from blowing or falling in. If they rot in water they release gases that are potentially toxic to fish.

Oct
19

Today I must....plant out my spring bulbs…

If you haven’t already done so, plant daffodils plus other spring bulbs such as crocuses, frittileries, muscari and tulips now. Tulips can be planted as late as December – but whenever you do plant them make sure they have good drainage – if necessary put grit below the bulbs.

Oct
18

Today I must....plant out biennials…

Biennials such as foxgloves that you have grown over the summer or bought at a nursery, can be planted out now. If the weather is dry water them well for several days to get them established.

Oct
17

Today I must....not cut the lawn too short…

If you are still mowing the lawn – and in milder areas you can continue to mow right through the winter – don’t cut the grass too short – it could be harmed if there’s a cold spell and this will allow weeds and moss to take hold.

Oct
16

Today I must....remove water hyacinth from the pond…

The water hyacinth is a tender floating plant and should be removed from the pond now and kept in a bucket of water in a frost-free but light environment for the winter.

Oct
15

Today I must....trim the Leyland cypress…

Give Leyland cypress a final trim for the winter but be sure not to cut back into old wood – it will not re-grow!

Oct
14

Today I must....plant clematis…

If putting in clematis remember that it should be planted deeper than most plants to avoid a disease called clematis wilt. The top of the root ball should be 6″ (15cm) below the surface of the soil.

Oct
11

Today I must....prepare the greenhouse for winter…

Once you’ve cleared away any finished plants from the greenhouse beds, take out all your pots, and give the inside of the greenhouse a good washing down with a mild soap solution. A cheap way of helping to keep your greenhouse frost-free during the winter is to line the inside with bubble polythene – a very effective form of double-glazing!

Oct
10

Today I must....plant an evergreen hedge…

If planning an evergreen hedge, now is the last chance to plant it before the winter cold sets in. Make sure the soil is weed-free and fertile before you start planting.

Oct
09

Today I must....try growing shrubs from seed…

An inexpensive and fun way to produce new shrubs and trees is to grow them from seed. These need to be extracted from the fruit, and then cleaned and dried. Many can be simply sown in small pots, covered with grit and then left outside.

Oct
08

Today I must....start clearing my borders…

Start clearing untidy herbaceous borders – apart from any seed heads you are keeping for propogation or for wildlife. Green vegetation can be put on the compost heap providing it is not diseased. Some seed heads such as teasels, achillea and Acanthus spinosus make attractive indoor decorations – so hang on to these!

Oct
07

Today I must....fix grease bands to my fruit trees…

Winter moths can cause damage to pear and apple trees – fix grease bands around the trunks to stop these pests climbing up. If the tree is staked, don’t forget to grease the stake too.

Oct
06

Today I must....protect citrus trees from frost…

Citrus trees do well in pots but they need to be brought in now to protect them from frost. Keep them in frost-free but cool conditions with plenty of light.

Oct
05

Today I must....sow mint and comfrey…

Now is a good time to sow mint and comfrey – the latter makes an excellent organic fertiliser. Parsley sown earlier in the summer will now need a cloche to protect it.

Oct
04

Today I must....dig over empty beds…

Dig over empty beds now while the soil is not too dry and not too wet. The patch can be left bare over winter or planted with green manure.

Oct
03

Today I must....take hardwood cuttings of my roses…

Make more of your old or species roses by taking hardwood cuttings from them now. Put the 12″ (30cm) cuttings in a sheltered spot or in a trench in a garden bed.

Oct
02

Today I must....sow sweet peas…

Sow sweet peas in a cold frame or cold greenhouse. Use deep pots to allow the roots to develop fully.

Oct
01

Today I must....lift and divide my perennials…

This is an ideal time to lift and divide plants in the border – a great way of increasing the number of your favourite plants!

September

Sep
30

Today I must....remember: less water, more light…

Remember that as temperatures start to fall plants in the greenhouse will need less water.  If you have put up shading you may need to remove this to give them more light.

Sep
29

Today I must....plant evergreen shrubs…

If you are thinking of planting evergreen shrubs, do so now while the soil is still warm.  If the weather is dry, make sure they are watered in well.

Sep
28

Today I must....lift my root vegetables…

Lift beetroot, carrots and turnips to store for winter but leave parsnips tin the ground as their flavour improves when they have been exposed to frost.

Sep
27

Today I must....dry and store my pumpkins…

After picking squashes, marrows and pumpkins leave them in the sun for some days to help them ripen – or in a greenhouse if it is wet.  Then dry them and store them somewhere cool and dark.

Sep
26

Today I must....plant my garlic bulbs…

Garlic bulbs need  a spell of cold weather to do well and this is a good period in which to plant them.  If the soil is heavy, add grit to improve drainage.

Sep
25

Today I must....pull up my tomato plants…

Pull up tomato plants and leave in a frost-free area to let remaining green fruit ripen.  Another way to get them to turn red is to wrap them in paper and put them in a dark place.

Sep
24

Today I must....start planting daffodil bulbs…

Plant daffodil bulbs either in beds or to be naturalised in a lawn.  Cyclamen and spring-flowering crocuses can also be planted.

Sep
23

Today I must....bring tender plants under cover…

Tender plants that might be hurt by an early frost should be lifted and brought under cover now.  Alternatively, take cuttings.

Sep
22

Today I must....sow spinach now…

Sow spinach now and the seedlings will grow over winter, to provide a crop in late March or early April.  Chives can also be sown.

Sep
21

Today I must....clean my greenhouse…

Give greenhouse and cold frames a good clean to make sure plants get the maximum amount of light during the darker days of the autumn and winter.

Sep
20

Today I must....lift my gladioli corms…

Once the leaves of your gladioli start to turn yellow, lift the bulb-like corms gently, allow them to dry, and then cut back the foliage.  Small cormlets can be carefully detached, dried and stored, ready to create new plants next spring.

Sep
19

Today I must....sow my hardy annuals…

Hardy annuals can be grown direct into the ground now while the soil is still warm, especially if you live in the southern half of the UK.  Suitable candidates include cornflowers, Nigella, annual poppies, Echium and Eschscholzia – Californian poppies – and corncockle.

Sep
18

Today I must....consider moving my hedge…

If you have a hedge you like but it is growing in the wrong place, now is a good time to move it, whether it is deciduous or evergreen.  The ideal conditions to do this are when the weather is damp and overcast but not too wet.

Sep
17

Today I must....plant out perennial seeds…

Time to start planting out any perennial seeds or cuttings that you have been growing into their permanent place in the borders.  This gives them a chance to establish before it gets cold.

Sep
16

Today I must....prepare for planting winter heathers…

If you are thinking of planting heathers later in the autumn prepare the spot now, adding leafy compost or leaf mould to the ground to help provide the acid conditions these plants enjoy.

Sep
15

Today I must....prune my rambling roses…

Prune your rambling roses, cutting out most or all of the old wood and leaving around six lengths of new growth on the plant.  the thicker cuttings can be propagated.

Sep
14

Today I must....scarify my lawn…

Use a spring-tined rake to rake or ‘scarify’ your lawn to remove the dead vegetation known as thatch.  If you have a large lawn consider hiring a powered scarifier.

Sep
13

Today I must....plant out spring cabbages…

Plant out spring cabbages, putting the individual plants about 23cm (9″) apart with the rows about 45cm (18″) apart.

Sep
12

Today I must....keep deadheading my dahlias…

Dead-head your dahlias regularly and give them a feed to keep them blooming well into the autumn – you can do the same with chrysanthemums.

Sep
11

Today I must....start forcing bulbs…

To get bulbs to flower in winter indoors they need to be forced.  Cover them in light compost in pots, cover the pots with black polythene and place in a cool but frost-free dark place for two months.

Sep
10

Today I must....water and feed my young trees…

Keep an eye on young trees and make sure they are not short of water, as some will be forming next year’s buds.  They will also benefit from a high-potash feed.

Sep
09

Today I must....divide my Peonies…

Peonies don’t really like being disturbed but if yours have got too large then now is a good time to divide and move them – make sure you don’t plant each part too deep.

Sep
08

Today I must....prepare my soil for planting out biennials…

The best time to plant out any biennials such as foxgloves you’ve sown is next month, but you can prepare the soil now by forking it over and adding plenty of organic matter such as rotted manure or compost.

Sep
07

Today I must....consider getting another compost bin…

The autumn usually involves a lot of clearing away of old vegetation in the garden; get ready by buying or making your own compost bin.  If you already have one consider getting a second one.

Sep
06

Today I must....prepare storage for my fruit crop…

The main crop of apples and pears should be ripening now.  Clear out your storage area and ask local shopkeepers/greengrocers if they have any wooden or polystyrene trays you can use to keep them in.

Sep
05

Today I must....support my late-flowering perennials…

Check that any late-flowering perennials such as asters are well protected against early autumn winds – canes and string are ideal.

Sep
04

Today I must....feed my autumn-flowering bulbs…

Feed autumn-flowering bulbs growing in your lawn or naturalising elsewhere in your garden with a dressing of bone meal.

Sep
03

Today I must....protect my grapes…

Grapes need to be protected from wasps and birds as they ripen – use fine netting to keep them off.

Sep
02

Today I must....take cuttings of half hardy shrubs…

If you are fond of a particular shrub that is not fully hardy, take some cuttings and propagate them in a cold frame or greenhouse over the winter.  That way if the shrub does not make it, you should have some replacements.

Sep
01

Today I must....remove seedpods from my roses…

Remove seedpods that have formed on your roses, though some attractive hips such as those of Rosa rugosa can be left on to provide a winter display – or even food for birds.

August

Aug
31

Today I must....sow half-hardy annuals…

Time to sow half-hardy annuals in your greenhouse, ready to be planted out next spring.  Once you have pricked them out, put them in a cold frame.

Aug
30

Today I must....eat up my early apples!

If you have picked any apples make sure you consume them quickly – early apples tend not to last very long.

Aug
29

Today I must....earth up my winter greens…

Winter greens such as kale and sprouting broccoli should be earthed up – this means heaping some soil around the stems to prevent them being rocked by autumn gales.

Aug
28

Today I must....check for broken branches on my plum tree…

If any of your plum tree branches have broken now is the time to cut them back to the healthy wood – this also applies to any dead branches.

Aug
27

Today I must....consider planting ‘green manure’…

An alternative to manure and compost to improve the quality of your soil is to plant so-called green manures.  Sow fast-growing rape and mustard now, and they can be dug in during the autumn before they start to flower.

Aug
26

Today I must....consider sowing a new lawn…

In colder regions it is a good idea to consider sowing a new lawn now, rather than waiting for September.

Aug
25

Today I must....order new roses…

Now is a good time to consider ordering your roses, to be delivered or collected bare-rooted in the autumn.  To get a rose that will do well in your conditions choose roses from your local nursery or one that is based in a colder area than your own.

Aug
24

Today I must....lift and divide my irises…

Bearded irises can now be lifted and divided after flowering.  Throw away the old, unproductive rhizome in the centre, plant the new rhizomes shallowly and water in well.

Aug
23

Today I must....check over my plums…

With soft fruit such as plums and gages it is important to remove any fruit that has been pecked by birds or is hit by brown rot as soon as possible – this helps prevent infection spreading to healthy fruit.

Aug
22

Today I must....check for ripe apples…

To check if any of your apples are ripe yet, lift them carefully in the palm of your hand and twist slightly – if the apple comes off easily then it is ready.

Aug
20

Today I must....plant cyclamen…

Plant cyclamen in the garden making sure the site is well drained and in semi-shade.  If buying, choose plants that are in leaf.

Aug
19

Today I must....tidy up my strawberries…

Once your crop of strawberries (ordinary not remontant) is ended, remove all runners apart from those needed to fill up holes.  Cut old leaves to a few inches above the crown and then rake up and burn all the old foliage, weeds and any straw you have used.

Aug
18

Today I must....harvest my onions…

Once the foliage of your onions has collapsed it’s time to harvest them.  Choose a dry day, dig them up and then leave them to dry thoroughly before storing them.

Aug
17

Today I must....water wall climbers…

Check any climbers growing against a wall.  These are usually very dry spots and the plant may be at risk of drying out

Aug
16

Today I must....plant turnips…

Turnips are a great source of tasty and nutritious spring greens if they are sown now.  The warm soil will help the seeds germinate and allow the plants to develop quickly before winter.

Aug
15

Today I must....plan ahead for a new hedge…

Plan ahead if you are considering planting a new deciduous hedge this autumn or winter.  Now is a good time to order your bare-rooted plants.  Order three or four more than you need, to replace any losses.

Aug
14

Today I must....harvest annual seed…

If you grow lots of annuals every year save some money – and have some fun – by harvesting the seed of this year’s crop.  Do it on a dry day and collect in a paper bag.  Remove old stalks that may rot, label clearly and store in a cool, dry place.

Aug
13

Today I must....give the lawn a final feed…

Now is about the last date for feeding the lawn.  To apply nitrogenous fertiliser later than this might encourage lush growth that would be susceptible to disease in a cold, wet autumn.

Aug
12

Today I must....pinch out chrysanthemum buds…

If you are looking for maximum bloom size, it is time to pinch out all the remaining chrysanthemum buds except for the crown bud.

Aug
11

Today I must....check ties on my young trees…

Young trees planted in the autumn or winter should be putting on considerable growth now.  Check their ties now to see that they are not too tight and loosen as necessary.

Aug
10

Today I must....sow parsley seeds…

Sow parsley seed and the crop should last you through the winter – though the plants may need some protection in heavy frosts.  Sow in shallow drills and thin to about 15cm (6″) apart once they have established.

Aug
09

Today I must....plant some Muscari bulbs…

To provide some colour in your garden through spring plant some Muscari bulbs; these plants tolerate light shade and in time will form big clumps.

Aug
08

Today I must....feed my dahlias…

To encourage your dahlias to carry on flowering well into autumn give them a good feed with liquid fertiliser.

Aug
07

Today I must....propagate my carnations…

A good time to produce more carnations by layering.  Select vigorous non-flowering shoots and cut through part of the stem – this provides a wound from where roots can develop.  Then peg them into the ground where you have wounded them.

Aug
06

Today I must....feed my shrubs…

New growth on shrubs should be maturing into woody stems now, on which the plant will flower next year.  Give it a high-potash fertiliser to help this process.

Aug
05

Today I must....spray the foliage of new hedges…

New evergreen hedges – or any newly planted evergreen shrub – may suffer in hot dry weather.  If restrictions allow, try spraying their foliage with water in the cool of the evening.

Aug
04

Today I must....watch out for rose rust…

Watch out for rose rust that can be a problem now, especially if it’s been dry.  Its presence may be a sign that your plant is lacking food so give it a foliar feed.

Aug
03

Today I must....pick annual flowers for drying…

If picking annual flowers for drying, choose those that are just about to come into bloom.  Pick the flowers in the morning or early evening.

Aug
02

Today I must....move my pots to a shady spot…

If going on holiday your container plants could be at risk if the weather is hot and dry.  Group them all together in a shady spot – this makes it easier for a friend or relative to water them in your absence.

Aug
01

Today I must....sow cabbages now…

Sow cabbages now and they will be ready to be planted out in the middle of next month – this will allow their roots to get established before winter.

July

Jul
30

Today I must....remove hardy annual flowers…

Hardy annual flowers should be removed as they fade to encourage new buds to form, but try to avoid walking between the plants – this may shorten their lives.

Jul
29

Today I must....remove fading flowers of Buddleja davidii…

If the fading flowers of Buddleja davidii are cut off now the plant should produce another round of blooms later in the year; do not remove too much of the plant, however, as the new flowers appear just below the old ones.

Jul
28

Today I must....propagate heather cuttings…

Heather cuttings can be propagated using a cold frame in a shady spot.  Put the cuttings into a well-drained sandy and lime-free compost.  Water them well and keep the lid closed to maintain humidity until they root.

Jul
27

Today I must....not work in the heat of the sun!

July weather can be very hot so make sure you avoid working in the garden in the hottest part of the day – the evening is best.  If you have to work during the day when it is sunny, wear a hat, use sun cream, take frequent breaks and drink plenty of water.

Jul
26

Today I must....take seed from Crocus species…

Take seed from spring-flowering Crocus species and sow fresh in pots.  Leave the seedlings in the pot until they are dormant and then re-pot the tiny corms individually.

Jul
25

Today I must....check if peaches are ready to pick…

If unsure whether a peach or nectarine is ripe to pick, squeeze the ‘shoulder’ of the fruit near the stem; if it gives slightly it is ready.

December

Dec
31

Today I must....enjoy the snowdrops…

It’s about now that the pointy tips of snowdrops start to appear. If it’s a pleasant day, take a quiet walk around the garden, enjoying the first signs of spring.

Dec
29

Today I must....check on my sweet-pea seedlings…

If it’s cold and wet outside, retire to the greenhouse and check on your seedlings. Pinch out tips to encourage new growth at the base and strong bushy plants.

November

Nov
10

Today I must....protect trees and shrubs from rabbits…

Rabbits love eating bark, so if you have wild rabbits in your area protect young trees and shrubs with chicken wire or with special tree guards – you can buy these in garden stores.

August

Aug
21

Today I must....tidy up my lavenders…

Once lavender flower spikes have started to go to seed remove them and also cut off about 2.5cm (1″) of growth from shoots with a pair of sharp secateurs – this keeps the plants compact.

December

Dec
01

Today I must....enjoy the last day of 2013…!

Before the New Year begins take time to walk around your garden, take in it’s winter beauty and give some final consideration to what will be needed for 2010…

Dec
11

Today I must....tidy away garden furniture…

In heavy winds lightweight garden furniture can get blown about and damage plants, so stack up and hide away behind the shed or greenhouse. Wooden garden furniture would benefit from a coat of linseed or presevative oil; and if it’s particularly wet consider raising table-legs onto bricks or small planks to avoid gradual rotting.

November

Nov
14

Today I must....collect up dead leaves…

Now’s the time to make your own leafmould and potting compost; collect up dead leaves and set aside in loose weave hessian bags.

Nov
13

Today I must....keep off the lawn…

With increasingly wet weather lawns become boggy, protect with a temporary path and sprinkle with sand if it gets slippery.

Nov
30

Today I must....hard prune Sambucus (elder)…

Now is the time to hard prune trees that respond to pollarding such as elder (Sambucus), the foxglove tree (Paulownia), buddleia and Eucalyptus gunnii, to promote new growth.