There’s always something you can do in the garden

whatever the season.


  • Clean pots and greenhouses ready for spring. Thorough cleaning with hot water and a mild detergent will reduce pest and disease problems. Ventilating the greenhouse on mild sunny days will help to reduce fungal infections.
  • Ensure all stand pipes and irrigation lines are drained to avoid damage from water freezing in them. If being used throughout the winter put lagging around outdoor taps to prevent freezing.
  • Garden contractors are often short of work in winter and therefore available to do major tasks such as paving, fence building and pond digging.
  • Consider purchasing water butts now ready for the summer. Rainwater is particularly useful for watering acid-loving, ericaceous plants (tap water is often slightly alkaline)


  • Keep putting out food and water for hungry birds. Place Wild bird feeders in different areas in your garden and remember to use a variety of wild bird food mixes to attract the greatest diversity of song birds to your garden area , who will in turn eat pests in your garden. You can add a nesting box to your garden to help the birds find a safe place to nest. Leave some garden areas uncut, a little longer, to provide shelter for wildlife in your garden.
  • Plant a touch of spring colour by using Cyclamen, winter-flowering Pansy, ViolaPrimula and Polyanthus that will flower intermittently during mild spells during the winter. The following can also be used: Spring flowering Heathers, large-flowered bedding Daisies (Bellis perennis), Wallflowers (Erysimium) and potted spring flowering bulbs.
  • Plant bare root roses now in a sunny position for spectacular summer colour
  • Plant new Barerooted Hedges before end of March. This is a deadline, so you must get the soil prepared now. Spray off any weeds, and dig a trench along the required length. Pot Grown hedging can of course be planted at any time of year.
  • Sow seeds of BegoniaLobeliaSalvia and Pelargonium in a heated greenhouse or propagator to provide early plants. Tomato’s, Aubergines, Chillies and hardy herbs can be sown into a Heated Propagator and place on a bright window sill. You can expect new plants within a couple of weeks.
  • Sweet peas can be sown this month. Sweet peas sown earlier in the autumn can now be potted on taking care not to disturb the roots too much. Place them on a sunny windowsill, or on a high shelf in the greenhouse that gets plenty of light.
  • Pot up summer flowering bulbs for colour in your garden from May to early winter. Dahlias, Gladioli, Begonias and Lillie’s offer long lasting flower colour if potted and placed in a warm bright location indoors now
  • Lawns – During dry mild weather cut your lawn for the first time. Set the mower blades higher than normal and collect the clippings using a grass box. Control lawn moss by applying a dressing of a moss control product to your entire lawn area. By treating lawn moss now you will prevent a major lawn moss problem this spring. Watch your lawn for signs of waterlogging, as the weather gets wetter. You can remedy the situation a bit, by spiking the lawn with a garden fork or mechanical aerator. Then fill the holes with a mixture of sharp sand and loam, brushed in using a stiff broom.
    If your lawn is developing bare patches from walking on it during the wet, muddy season, then consider laying stepping-stones to allow easy access across it without causing damage.


  • Harvest  parsnipsswedesprouting broccoliBrussels sprouts, leeks, celeriac, Jerusalem artichokes and turnips.
  • Start seed potatoes off indoors so they can develop green sprouts (known as “chitting”). Simply place the new potato tubers into a seed tray of compost and place into a bright frost free location. The shoots will appear in a couple of weeks. Choose some First Early varieties so you can have your own potatoes in Mid June!
  • Tidy all wall climbers, trim and tie in where needed.
  • Prune apple and pear trees.
  • Houseplants – Check that light levels are sufficient for houseplants. They will need light to carry on over the winter, and can easily be forgotten in a back or spare room that receives little natural light. They are best moved to sunny windowsill until March. Also remember not to leave houseplants on windowsills behind the curtains on frosty nights, especially if your windows are not double glazed. Water houseplants sparingly. Most should be barely moist in winter. Cacti also need very little water, and no feeding, over the winter. Keep them barely moist until the spring, when they will be coming up to flowering and will therefore appreciate extra water and feed


Jobs For February


Plant Roses – Avoid planting in areas where roses were previously growing otherwise they may suffer from replant diseases. If pruning cut back all growth by two thirds, always to an outward pointing bud, and cut away any stems growing across the centre of the plant.

You can also plant Daylillies, Hostas and Bleeding Hearts.

Remove weeds from around the bases of young trees, flower beds and kitchen garden. Any time spent digging up perennial weeds now, is time saved later on in spring.

  • Cut back ornamental vines such as Virginia creeper and Boston ivy now, particularly those climbing house walls and heading for windows and gutters. They are vigorous, so you can hack back hard.
  • Fruit trees can be pruned now. There are many guides on the internet on the “correct” way to do this. Ideally, you want an open canopy that you can see through, allowing good air circulation which is important for disease prevention and enable to sunlight penetrate all of the tree to allow the fruit to ripen.
  • Tie wall shrubs and climbers onto their supports to protect them from wind damage.
  • Finish planting any bare-root or root-balled deciduous trees in shelter belts or hedges within the next month if the ground has dried out sufficiently — aim to get it done before the middle of March.
  • Take action to remove algae from paths if they start to become slippery. Power wash paths, scouring off all the slippery mould and dark patches that have formed over the winter.
  • Go through your shed and remove any old, out-of-date garden chemicals. Also take some time to check out your mowers and other garden tools. Don’t wait till you need them to find they need maintenance/repair.
  • HOUSEPLANTS: Deadhead Amaryllis leaving the flower stalks to die down naturally. Keep feeding and watering and you may be treated to further flowers in August as well as the normal blooms next winter.
  • LAWNS: If the weather is warm and dry your lawn can have its first cut of the year. Turf can be laid, provided the soil is not too wet or frosty. Work from planks, to avoid compacting the soil. Do not walk on the newly laid turf and leave undisturbed for several weeks to allow new roots to establish.
  • Sow seeds of tomatoes, peppers and chillies in the greenhouse or heated propagator.
  • Also Rhubarb, Horseradish, Artichokes and Asparagus can be planted. Garlic needs to be in the ground before the end of the month.
  • For lettuce crops in May and June sow now under cover. Plant them out under cloches once they are a few inches tall.
  • If you are planning to grow Parsley, wash seeds in warm water the night before you want to sow them, then lay them out to dry on kitchen paper overnight. This washes off the germinator inhibitor in the seed coat and will give you a harvest in a shorter time.
  • Turn the compost heap.
  • In dry weather, bring out your wooden garden furniture, sand them down and treat with Danish oil. They will look beautiful and have you longing for summer. The treatment also makes the wood water repellent and the furniture likely to last longer.
  • Hanging fat ballsin your fruit trees will encourage the birds to come along and gobble up any greenfly or woolly aphids that have survived the winter on your trees.
  • Don’t forget, if it snows, knock the snow off tree and shrub branches to avoid damage.

Jobs For March

  • March is all about preparation. Now is the time to weed, feed and mulch. Don’t forget the containers which will benefit from removing the top 1” or so and replacing with fresh compost.
  • When preparing the vegetable beds, remove all weeds and fork in plenty of compost. Cover the soil with sheets of black plastic to keep it dry,warm and ready for planting.
  • Rhubarb can be covered with a bucket to force it on.
  • Bareroot roses can be planted now, and already established plants can be pruned and given a feed.
    Plant summer flowering bulbs. And in the vegetable patch you can plant shallots, onion sets and early potatoes.
  • Trim winter-flowering heathers as the flowers fade. This will prevent the plants from becoming leggy and bare.
    Seeds and plug plants can be started in the greenhouse. If your greenhouse is heated you can sow tomatoes for an early crop.
  • Check House plants to see if they are potbound and repot if necessary.
  • Daffodils can be deadheaded once they start to fade. Do not cut the foliage, let it die back naturally.
  • If your patio or path is slimy, clean with a broom or better still, a pressure washer.
  • For climbers, it is best to get supports in early, so that the plants grow up through them, covering them discreetly. Adding supports afterwards is difficult and results in the stems lacking much needed ventilation.

Jobs For April


The sun was warm but the wind was chill.
You know how it is with an April day.
When the sun is out and the wind is still,
You’re one month on in the middle of May.
But if you so much as dare to speak,
a cloud come over the sunlit arch,
And wind comes off a frozen peak,
And you’re two months back in the middle of March.

Excerpt from Two Tramps in Mud Time by Robert Frost (1926)

Expect the inevitable April showers this month but sunny days too, when you can turn your attention to the garden. It’s an exciting month, with indoor-sown seeds well into growth; it’s also time to start sowing outdoors. Just watch out for frosts…

  • As always the first job on the list is weeding, though it feels like weeds have a knack of growing faster than crops! Remove them while they’re still young or they’ll take all the nutrients from the soil.
  • Plant your chitted potatoes outside in the ground or in containers. Also Brussels sprouts, kale, Swiss chard, broad beans, onions, perpetual spinach, summer cauliflower, leeks, lettuce, radish, turnips, and kohl rabi.
  • If your greenhouse is heated, plant up your summer hanging baskets with plug plants now and keep them under cover until all risk of frost has passed. Remember to use a slow release fertilizer and a water retaining gel for longer lasting displays.
  • Plant out autumn-sown sweet peas that have been raised in pots, and prepare your wigwam supports for them to climb, using a light twine to tie the plants in.
  • Top dress spring-flowering alpines with grit or gravel to show off the plants and to help prevent stem rots.
  • If we are lucky enough to get any dry spells, you can treat structures with wood preservative and stain. Only do this in a well-ventilated space, to reduce the risks to your lungs and eyes.
  • Also, if the weather is warm and sunny, you may need to start damping down the floor of your greenhouse in the morning; splashing water over it will increase humidity levels.
  • If April showers turn heavy or persistent, bulbs coming up in your rock gardens or in containers may benefit from overhead protection from the rain – a sheet of glass or perspex placed on bricks will do the job.
  • Plant Lilies into pots, this means that as they come into bloom you can move them around the garden to fill gaps and bring colour to any area.
  • Deadhead pansies, primulas and other spring bedding plants. Pansies will carry on into the spring and even to early summer if you give them a bit of love and attention!
  • Evergreens, such as rosemary, lavender, bay, myrtle, sage and thyme, can be pruned as soon as the winter is over. Never cut into old wood and always leave enough foliage to help draw energy back into the limbs.
    But the most important job is to enjoy your open spaces! Take some time to sit back, enjoy the wildlife and plan your dream garden.

Jobs For May


“A wet and windy May fill the barns with corn and hay,”
“A wet May and dry June make the farmer whistle a tune”
“A swarm of bees in May is worth a load of hay”

  • Harden off plants raised from seed and cuttings by leaving them outside for gradually increasing periods of time. Start with only the warmest part of the day, and build up to overnight exposure. Do this for 10-14 days before planting them outdoors permanently (whenever the risk of frost has passed)
  • Keep tubs, hanging baskets and alpine troughs well watered. Use collected rainwater, or recycled grey water wherever possible.
  • Open greenhouse vents and doors on sunny days. Greenhouses, whether glass or plastic, can overheat in sunny weather. Plants can be protected from excess heat by shading and ventilation.
  • Earth up potatoes and this is your last chance to get them in the ground this year!
  • Inspect lilies for red lily beetles as the larvae can strip plants in days.
  • Protect lily, delphinium, hosta and other susceptible plants from slugs and snails. This can be done by placing slug pellets around the garden, beer in a container or saucer will also do the trick if you prefer a more organic or humane approach.
  • Clip evergreen hedges. If not too woody, shredded clippings can be added to the compost heap, ideally in combination with soft material such as grass clippings. Don’t forget to check for nesting birds before starting.
  • Twining climbers (such as honeysuckle and Clematis) need regular tying in and twining around their supports.
  • Baby vegetables are becoming very popular especially where space is limited. Many can be sown at this time and, with the exception of sweet corn, can be grown in containers and growbags on the patio as well as in the vegetable garden. However, should soil conditions be cold and wet delay sowing.
  • Cover strawberry plants with netting before they fruit to prevent birds pecking away at them. Also lay straw around the bases of the plants which will keep the fruit clean as they’re kept off the soil and harder for the slugs to get to. Alternatively plant them through weed membrane fabric if you’re starting a new patch.
  • When sowing edible crops stagger the planting to avoid a glut. Once a batch of seedlings emerges sow another row which will give you a steady supply over the summer months.

Jobs For June


“In winter I get up at night
And dress by yellow candle-light.
In summer quite the other way,
I have to go to bed by day.
I have to go to bed and see
The birds still hopping on the tree,
Or hear the grown-up people’s feet
Still going past me in the street.
And does it not seem hard to you,
When all the sky is clear and blue,
And I should like so much to play,
To have to go to bed by day?”
–  Robert Louis Stevenson, Bed in Summer

  • Cut back bulb foliage as soon as it has died down naturally
  • Prune out overcrowded or dead stems of evergreen Clematis after it has finished flowering to maintain a good shape.
  • If you are thinking about drying your own lavender to make into fragrant pillows and sachets for your drawers and wardrobes, you need to pick the flowerheads before they open – that way, your lavender should retain its strong scent and vivid purple colour.
  • Dead-head and cut back oriental poppies after flowering. Cutting them close to ground level will stimulate new foliage.
  • Dead-head your roses if they are repeat-flowering types. Otherwise leave the seed heads on for decoration.
  • Potassium-rich banana skins make excellent rose snacks. Lay flat around the plant and bury under an inch of soil.
  • As soon as your sweet peas start to flower, keep picking them to encourage more blooms.
  • If any of your hanging basket plants have become leggy or misshapen, simply trim the excess off – this will encourage bushy growth.
  • Pinch out the tips of your Fuchsias to encourage a bushy habit and more flowers.
  • Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of bulbs.
  • Pinch out any side shoots from your tomato plants and feed once the first truss is setting fruit. You can pot up the side-shoots to create new tomato plants.
  • Continue to earth up potato plants as they grow. If you’re growing potatoes in bags simply add more compost to half way up the plant stem.
  • Harvest early potatoes – these are normally ready from 10 weeks after planting
  • Look out for onion and garlic leaves yellowing and dying back – this means they are ready to harvest!
  • Clip evergreen hedges such as Privet, Box and Yew whilst they are in active growth.
  • Turn the compost in your compost bins every month to keep it well aerated.
  • If bedding plants are a little set back by cold weather, just after planting out as sometimes happens, a liquid feed will help to bring them on.
  • Potassium-rich banana skins make excellent rose snacks. Lay flat around the plant and bury under an inch of soil.

Jobs For July


“The glowing Ruby should adorn
Those who in warm July are born,
Then will they be exempt and free
From love’s doubt and anxiety.”

  • Water your containers and baskets thoroughly in hot weather.
    Continue to feed them with a balanced liquid fertiliser every 2 to 4 weeks.
  • Cut back faded perennial plants to keep borders tidy.
  • Dead-head bedding plants and perennial plants to stop them self-seeding and to encourage further flowering
  • Cutting back growth in hanging baskets can encourage new
    flowers and foliage and will revive the display. Make sure you that feed your baskets well after doing this.
  • Dead-head your roses to keep them looking tidy.
    Leave the flowers in place if your rose produces attractive hips (seed pods).
  • Cut back hardy Geraniums and Delphiniums after the first flush of flowers to encourage new growth and further blooms.
  • Continue to tie in and train new growth on climbing plants.
  • Take cuttings from your favourite tender plants for over-wintering indoors.
    Cuttings can also still be taken from shrubs and herbaceous perennials.
  • Capture seed heads from dandelions and other weeds. Collect them before they get a chance to release their seeds and spread throughout your garden.
  • Keep an eye out for pests on plants, early treatment is best.
  • Clear weeds regularly, as they compete with your crops for nutrients and water.
  • Plant second cropping potatoes now to give you new potatoes for Christmas.
    Plant your Christmas potatoes in pots or bags which can be brought under cover before the first frosts.
  • Nip off the growing tips of squash and courgette to encourage branching.
  • It’s difficult to think anything but pleasant thoughts while eating a homegrown
    –  Lewis Grizzard

  • Boost your tomato crop by regularly feeding them with dilute tomato fertiliser once a week.
    If leaves look pale and yellow feed more regularly.
  • Use grass clippings as a mulch around potato plants to stop tubers near the surface from turning green.
    Alternatively earth up your potato plants as they grow. If you’re growing potatoes in bags, gradually add more compost until the bag is full.
  • Damp down your greenhouse on hot days to increase humidity and deter red spider mites.
  • Water your lawn during hot weather, particularly newly seeded or turfed lawns.
    Do not allow new lawns to dry out.
  • If you are experiencing prolonged dry weather, set your mower blades higher to reduce stress on the grass.

“We go in withering July
To ply the hard incessant hoe:
Panting beneath the brazen sky
We sweat and grumble, but we go.”
–  Ruth Pitter, The Diehards

Jobs For August

jobs for august

“How sociable the garden was.
We ate and talked in given light.
The children put their toys to grass
All the warm wakeful August night.”
–  Thomas Gunn, Last Days at Teddington

  • Bird Baths will quickly evaporate or become full of algae growth quick in the summer, remember to clean them out regularly to help our birds during the worst heat
  • Keep patio container plants well watered and feed with a liquid fertiliser every fortnight.
  • Dead-head bedding plants and perennial plants to stop them self-seeding and to encourage further flowering into the autumn.
  • Dead-head Lilies for a better flower display next year.
  • Cut back herbs now to encourage a new flush of tasty leaves you can harvest before.
  • Prune summer flowering shrubs once they have finished blooming.
  • Trim your Lavender plants after they’ve finished flowering to keep them compact.
  • Collect ripened seed and store for next year. Leaving some seed heads in place can be attractive and allows the plant to self-seed in the surrounding soil.
  • Finish dividing clumps of Bearded Iris now so they have time to form roots and flowers buds for next year before the cold weather arrives.
  • Apply a high-potash fertiliser such as tomato food once fruits start to form on peppers, cucumber and aubergines.
  • Pinch out the top of tomato plants to concentrate the growth into the fruit that has already formed. Aim to leave 5 or 6 trusses of fruit per plant.
  • Lift and dry onions, shallots and garlic once the foliage has flopped over and yellowed. Store them in onion bags to prevent moulds developing.
  • Established clumps of chives can be divided now.
  • Hedges can be given a final trim now before they stop growing.
  • Recycle your water – collect washing up water in a bucket outside for watering beds and lawns.
  • Turn the compost in your compost bins every month to keep it well aerated and to speed up decomposition.

Jobs For September

september jobs thumbnail

  • Plant spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths now.

  • Buy early and plant before the first frosts and come Springtime your garden will be a riot of colour.

  • Create a new lawn from turf or seed – autumn weather is favourable for good lawn establishment.

  • Raise the height of your mower blades as grass growth slows down.

  • Now is a good time to carry out essential lawn maintenance to avoid waterlogging and compaction.

  • Try aerating your lawn with a garden fork, removing thatch from the surface with a rake and repairing dead patches. Use a specialist lawn scarifier if you have a large area to cover.

  • Apply a special lawn top-dressing after carrying out maintenance work. Follow the instructions on the packet carefully.
  • Sow green manures such as mustard, clover and rye grass on uncultivated areas to improve soil and keep weeds down over winter.
  • Create compost bins in preparation for all the fallen leaves and dead plant material which you’ll be collecting over the coming months. Autumn leaves make a great addition to compost bins and are ideal for making leaf mould.
  • Raise pots off the ground for the winter by using bricks or ‘pot feet’, to prevent waterlogging.
  • Install water butts to collect rain this autumn and winter. Rain water is great for watering ericaceous plants such as blueberries, Rhododendrons and Camellias.
  • Start planting autumn onion sets.
  • There are a variety of autumn and winter vegetables you can plant to ensure fresh produce for the colder months – winter and spring cabbage, purple sprouting broccoli, Little Gem lettuce, ice berg varieties and Chinese cabbage are a few options.
  • Pot up some mint and parsley for the kitchen windowsill, to use through the winter.
  • Pull or cut off the foliage of maincrop potatoes at ground level 3 weeks before lifting them to prevent blight spores infecting the tubers as you lift them. This will also help to firm the skins of the potatoes.
  • It’s time to start planting seed potatoes in preparation for Christmas, Maris Piper or Duke of York are good choices to plant now for a late November harvest.
  • Prune climbing roses and rambling roses once they’ve finished flowering (unless they are repeat-flowering, in which case leave them).
  • Keep deadheading annuals and perennials to extend their performance.
  • Continue to feed and dead-head your hanging basket and container plants – they will often keep going until the first frosts. Once they are past their best, re-plant as winter/spring hanging baskets with spring-flowering bulbs, winter heathers, trailing ivies and spring-flowering plants.

  • September is a good time to plant new perennials as the soil is still warm but there is generally more rainfall.
  • Get your bird table cleaned and start leaving out food for the birds – they will benefit from storing up fat now to get through the winter ahead.
  • Cover the surface of ponds with netting to stop fallen leaves from entering. Accumulated debris in the pond can encourage growth of algae and weeds, which will eventually harm the fish by reducing available oxygen levels.
  • Cleaning the greenhouse is best done before bringing in all your tender plants for the winter. Pests and diseases can hide in tiny nooks and crannies, only to come back to life the following spring. Hose down the structure with a forceful jet of water, and then use a safe cleaning products such as Citrox, and a non-abrasive scourer specifically recommended for cleaning glass.
  • Early autumn is the ideal time to plant a new hedge in your garden for shelter and privacy.

Jobs For October

jobs for october

“October’s the month
When the smallest breeze
Gives us a shower
Of autumn leaves.
Bonfires and pumpkins,
Leaves sailing down –
October is red
And golden and brown.”

  • Plant daffodil bulbs, tulip bulbs and Allium bulbs for a glorious spring display. Dot them through borders or naturalise them in grass.
  • Plant spring bedding such as wallflowers, Bellis, Primulas and winter pansies for a fantastic spring display.
  • Lift Dahlia tubers, Begonia tubers and Gladiolus corms to store dry over the winter months. Remove the dead foliage before storing them.
  • If your summer containers are looking past their best, re-plant them with fresh winter bedding plants
  • Autumn is the ideal time to plant Clematis plants.
  • This month is an ideal time to move trees and shrubs, and plant hedges.
  • Plant bareroot ornamental trees and shrubs
  • Prune climbing roses and rambling roses once they’ve finished flowering and tie in the stems before autumn winds cause damage.
  • Clear up fallen rose leaves to prevent diseases such as black spot from over-wintering – don’t compost the leaves.
  • Clear overhanging plants away from pathways to maintain access routes throughout the garden.
  • Cut back perennial plants that have died down or alternatively leave the dead foliage in place for over-wintering wildlife.
  • Lift and divide any overcrowded herbaceous perennials whilst the soil is still warm.
  • After tidying borders, mulch with bark chips, well-rotted manure, leaf mould or spent mushroom compost to insulate plant roots for the winter and keep weed growth in check.
  • Harvest squashes and pumpkins before the first frosts. They will quickly turn mushy if left outside.
  • When you harvest your cabbages, leave the root in the ground and make a cut across the stem to encourage a flush of smaller leaves.
  • Any plants with green tomatoes or peppers remaining can be hung upside down indoors to ripen.
  • Protect autumn cauliflower heads from frost by wrapping the outer leaves around them and securing with string. Alternatively use a cloche or fleece.
  • Continue to plant autumn garlic bulbs now for a bumper crop next summer.
    Plant autumn.
  • Plant autumn onion sets for cropping next summer.
  • Reuse old grow bags by cutting away the top and sowing late salad crops. Cropping can be extended into winter if grown under glass, cloches or polytunnels.
  • Divide congested clumps of rhubarb by digging up and splitting into several pieces with a spade. Re-plant the healthiest looking pieces.
  • Divide congested clumps of rhubarb by digging up and splitting into several pieces with a spade. Re-plant the healthiest looking pieces.
  • If you haven’t done so already, remove any greenhouse shading to allow as much light in as possible.
  • Move tender plants into the greenhouse to protect them from early frosts. Make sure that there is enough space between them to keep them well ventilated and reduce the risk of disease.
  • Check any plants which you are bringing inside for pests such as aphids
  • Clear up fallen leaves regularly to allow light to the grass.
  • Autumn leaves are great for adding to the compost heap, or for rotting down in black plastic bags on their own to make a finer type of compost called leaf mould.
  • A last mowing can be made this month before leaving your lawn for the winter.
  • .

  • Recut any lawn edges if needed. Try installing lawn edging to make future maintenance easier.
  • Fresh turf can still be laid now. Autumn rains should ensure the turf settles successfully.
  • Create compost bins for collecting fallen leaves and dead plant material.
  • Make time to give evergreen hedges a final trim before the bad weather sets in, so they look neat and tidy for the winter.
  • Raise pots off the ground for the winter by using bricks or ‘pot feet’, to prevent waterlogging.
  • Once plants are dormant, it is a good time to lift and relocate any plant that you want to move.