Gardening tips

In the flower garden…

• There’s still time to plant spring bulbs for a great display next spring.

• Now is the ideal time to plant shrubs for a beautiful display next year.

• Continue to lift dahlia tubers, begonias and other tender bulbs and corms to store dry over the winter months. Remove any dead foliage before storing.

• Cut back the yellowing foliage of herbaceous perennials, and lift and divide overcrowded clumps to maintain their vigour.

• Before the birds eat them all, cut a few stems of holly with berries for making Christmas arrangements. Stand them in a bucket of water in a sheltered spot where our feathered friends can’t take them.

• Plant out winter/spring bedding plants such as pansies, violas, primroses and polyanthus.

In the fruit garden…

• Now is the ideal time to plant currant bushes whilst they are dormant.

• Plant raspberry canes now for a delicious home grown crop.

• Apply glue bands to the trunks of fruit trees to prevent wingless female winter moths climbing the trunks and laying their eggs on the branches.

• Remove the top netting on fruit cages as heavy snow in winter can make it sag.

• Check stored fruit and promptly remove any showing signs of disease or rotting.

In the vegetable garden…

• Lift parsnips after the first frosts when their flavour will have sweetened.

• Divide mature clumps of rhubarb once they are dormant.

• Prepare bed for planting autumn garlic. Improve heavy soils with organic matter before planting.

• If you have fresh manure, now is the time to spread it across the surface of your vegetable beds to rot down over winter.

• Stake top-heavy brassicas and draw up some soil around the base of the stem to prevent wind rocking the plant and causing damage to the roots.

Looking after your lawn…

• If you haven’t already aerated your lawn, there’s still time to do it before winter sets in.

• Continue to clear fallen leaves off the lawn to keep it healthy.

• Remember to set your lawn mower to a higher cut-height for winter.

• Create neat edges on your beds.