Garden calendarMonthly garden tasks:

January

Winter is a perfect time to prune your apple and pear trees, aiming to create an open framework. If snow falls, don’t let it sit on your shrubs and trees- shake it off to prevent any damage. Also, avoid walking on lawns when the grass is covered with frost or is waterlogged. If the ground isn’t frozen, this is a good time to plant bare root trees, shrubs and hedges, as well as to move any trees that might have outgrown their space.

February

This a good time to prune all your late/summer flowering plants such as: clematis, honeysuckle and buddleja. If you keep dogwood(cornus) and willow for winter stem colour, cut back hard all stems to within 15cm off the ground to encourage fresh growth for next years display. During heavy snowfalls, keep the snow off trees and shrubs to prevent damage. During milder days, you can re-shape the borders and remove weeds as necessary to prevent them from spreading.

March

Frequent sunny days are a perfect opportunity to start repairing the lawns if necessary, as well as edge, rake and apply fertiliser, and if a weather stays dry, give it a mow on the highest setting. It is also a good time to plant new perennials and summer flowering bulbs. Re pot or top dress all containers. You can also now divide summer flowering perennials like astrantias, hemorocallis, hostas, etc. Give your roses a boost by putting manure or rose feed around them and checking for any dead, damaged or diseased shoots

April

Continue to remove faded flowers from spring flowering bulbs, like daffodils, but not the foliage. Leave it until it is withered. If the weather is mild you can cut back last year’s stems from penstemons down to the new growth, as well as trim rosemary and sage to keep them in shape. As the ground gets warmer you can now sow sweet peas directly outside, new lawns can be seeded and general fertiliser applied to borders. Keep weeds under control by regular hoeing. Tie in climbing and rambling roses and feed to ensure strong growth; do look out for early aphid attacks and treat if necessary

May

This is the month when everything springs to action! But do watch out for late frost before putting any tender plants and hanging baskets out. Remove any frost damaged growth. It is also a Chelsea chop time- simply cutting perennials back by a third to encourage better blooms later in the summer and to prevent flopping. Stake and support tall and bushy perennials whilst they’re in growth-makes it easier to insert stakes and cages. Continue to mow and edge your lawn regularly to keep them neat and tidy. Don’t forget to feed it with high nitrogen fertiliser for lush green growth.

June

You can put all your tender plants such as dahlias, canna and pineapple lilies, and summer hanging baskets out. But do keep an eye out on the forecast as it’s not unusual to get frost as late as June. Continue to dead head spent flower to encourage more blooms. Cut back oriental poppies and pulmonarias after they have flowered, remove all leaves to allow for fresh leaves to sprout out. Spring flowering shrubs as well as early flowering clematis can also be cut back now. And don’t forget- weed, weed and weed!

July

Keep mowing, edging and feeding lawns regularly. All borders ,as well as container plants, also need regular feed, use general fertiliser or seaweed extract. If there’s a dry spell don’t forget-container plants dry out very fast and need sometimes daily watering! Continue deadheading perennials, roses and summer bedding for continuous blooms. Look after garden visitors, keep your bird baths and feeders topped up. Why not make a bee bath to keep these essential pollinators happy

August

Continue to dead head perennials, especially dahlias, which should be looking fabulous by now! Keep feeding, mowing and edging the lawn to keep it neat and tidy. If it’s been dry for a while, raise the height setting in the lawn mower to keep the lawn green. Water- any plants that are looking a bit tired need a drink, this is especially important with container plants. Camellias need to be kept well watered to ensure flowers for next years display. If you kept on top of weeding throughout the year, there shouldn’t be too much to do. This is also a good time to give wisteria its summer prune.

September

This is a good time to lay a new lawn as the soil is still warm but there’s a bit more rainfall. Begin to clear leaves as necessary and keep on top of weeding. Collect and get rid of any infected rose leaves to prevent the spread of the disease. Lift and divide herbaceous perennials. Take cuttings of tender perennials such as fuchsias, salvias and pelargonium and start to collect seeds. Continue to deadhead and plant spring bulbs for next year.

October

Now is a good time to plant trees and hedges as the soil is moist and warm. Transplant any plants that need to be moved. Plant spring bulbs, but leave planting tulips until November. Cut back perennials as they die back, lift and divide overcrowded clumps. Continue to to tidy borders of weeds and leaves, and remember to remove all fallen leaves from roses to prevent the spread of blackspot. Mulch borders and apply autumn lawn feed. Don’t forget to move your tender plants as the temperatures keep going down

November

You can continue to cut the lawn if it’s dry and no frost. Keep off the lawn if frosty. Clear fallen leaves from lawns, ponds and borders, leaving some for beneficial insects to hide under. Roses can be cut back to prevent damage from windrock. Plant out winter bedding. Buy winter flowering shrubs such as daphne or sarcococca and keep seed heads of some perennials and ornamental grasses to provide winter structure in the garden. Mulch borders, especially around borderline hardy perennials.

December

Give your borders a last tidy before Christmas, remove all debris, leaves, etc. Avoid any pruning as this will encourage new shoots that will get damaged by frost. Plant out bare root plants and shrubs. Keep snow off trees and shrubs to prevent damage. And don’t forget to take care when walking in the garden on a frosty or wet day to prevent any slips and falls.

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