Gardening tips


In the flower garden…

• Prune Wisteria now if you haven’t already done so, cutting back summer side-shoots to 2 or 3 buds.

• Cut back shrubs such as Cornus and Salix cultivars (grown for their colourful winter stems), down to their bases.

• Prune summer-flowering Clematis towards the end of the month, before new active growth begins.

• Cut back the old foliage of ornamental grasses. Clip them to within a few centimetres of the ground.

• Prune over-wintered Fuchsias back to one or two buds on each shoot.

• Prune winter-flowering Jasmine after flowering, to encourage new growth for next year’s blooms. Cut back the previous year’s growth to 5cm from the old wood.

• Prune winter-flower shrubs such as Mahonia and Viburnum once they have finished flowering.

• Trim winter-flowering heathers as the flowers disappear, to prevent plants becoming leggy.

• Move any deciduous trees or shrubs that need repositioning now, provided the soil is not frozen or waterlogged.

In the fruit garden…

• Now is your last chance to cut autumn-fruiting raspberry canes to the ground to stimulate new canes to fruit in the autumn. Cut the tips of summer-fruiting canes that have grown beyond the top of their supports; cut back to just above a bud.

• Prune blackcurrants, gooseberry and redcurrant bushes back to maintain a productive framework.

• Mulch fruit trees with well-rotted manure or garden compost, taking care not to mulch too far up the trunk.

• Winter prune apple and pear trees whilst they are still dormant.

• Protect blossom on apricots, nectarines and peaches from frost with horticultural fleece, but make sure pollinating insects can still reach the flowers.

• Force rhubarb for an early crop.

• Cover outdoor strawberries with cloches to encourage an early crop.

In the vegetable garden…

• Start chitting early-potatoes – stand them on end in a module tray or egg box and place them in a bright, cool, frost-free place.

• Mulch perennial vegetables such as asparagus or artichokes with well-rotted manure or garden compost.

• Prepare vegetable seed beds by removing all weeds and forking in plenty of compost. Cover prepared soil with sheets of black plastic to keep it drier and warmer in preparation for spring planting.

• Remove yellowing leaves from brassicas including Brussels sprouts, to prevent downy mildew and grey mould from spreading.

• Tidy up vegetable plots, removing any remaining plant debris.