Gardening tips

In the flower garden…

– Start to winter-prune your Wisteria, cutting back side-shoots to 2 or 3 buds.
– Prune climbing roses now, cutting away diseased or damaged growth and tying in any new shoots to their support. Prune older flowered side-shoots back by two thirds of their length.
– Prune Acers and vines now if needed, as they will bleed sap if pruning is done any later.
– Leave the faded flowers of Hydrangeas until the spring, as they will provide protection to the swelling buds further down the stems.
– Move containers of shrubs or bedding plants to a sheltered spot to help protect from frost damage.
– Check climbers are securely attached with plant ties to their supports.
– Plant up winter containers with hardy cyclamen, ivy, skimmia and evergreen grasses to add colour to your garden. Place them in a prominent position to get the most out of them.
– Harvest Holly with berries, before the birds eat them, for making Christmas garlands and wreaths.

In the vegetable garden…

– Lift the last of your leek and parsnips before the soil becomes frozen.
– Lift and divide established clumps of rhubarb to renew the plants vigour. Outside sections are better than those from the centre.
– Dig over empty borders and pile manure on top, let the worms ans frosts break up the clods of soil.
– Try digging a trench where you will be growing your beans next year- fill with compostable kitchen waste (not cooked food) and cover with soil again. This will rot down and improve the growing conditions for your beans.
– Cover winter brassicas with netting to protect them from pigeons.
– Keep fleece to hand to protect hardy salad crops on cold nights.

In the fruit garden…

– Now is the perfect time to prune fruit trees to maintain an open, balanced structure and encourage quality fruit production. However plums, cherries and other stoned fruit should not be pruned until summer as winter pruning will mae them susceptible to silver leaf fungus.
– Prune grape vines.
– Apply glue bands or greasebands to the trunks of fruit trees to prevent wingless female winter moths climbing the trunks and laying their eggs in the branches.
– Plant raspberry canes now ready for next year.

Looking after your lawn…

– Avoid damaging your lawn by walking on it when it is covered in snow or heavy frosts.
-If it’s a mild winter, continue to cut the lawn if it’s growing, but raise the height of the mower blades.
– Spike lawns with a garden fork to improve drainage and aeration.
– Keep clearing leaves off the lawn to let the light in and prevent dead patches appearing.