On this page we hope to keep you up to date with what to do in the garden throughout the year.
Unwanted flowers and vegetables called weeds will spread if it rains and the hoe is not used to good effect. If the sun shines and dries the soil use the water from the water butts to keep the plants nourished. Trees, shrubs and plants will require a soil dressing to prompt healthy growth.
It's decision time; whether to remove dead flower heads for appearance sake or leave them for bird food. The right seed heads left now make magnificent displays in the middle of the winter. Some plants may require staking and tying. Carnations can be layered, or cuttings taken and started in sand for new plants. Chrysanthemums may need their tops pinched out to prevent straggly plants. Flowering plants, such as fuchsias and geraniums, will need more water to prevent them wilting. Dahlias will need a mulch of farmyard manure and staking. If you want to move those wrongly placed bulbs now is the time, but plant them at least a spade in depth, so that a spade or rotavator can pass over them without bringing them to the surface.
SEEDS TO SOW
Sow perennial and biennial seeds, such as hollyhocks, for next year. Pansies can be sown outdoors in boxes.
Plant beds of annuals is for those looking for work and should be begun now, if not already tempted to do so by the weather. Those who planted earlier will transfer plants from the reserve bed, others will make a quick dash to the garden centre and be tempted by the array of colour on show.
Take cuttings from now onwards. Now is the time to propagate rock plants from cuttings. Indeed, all hardwood cuttings should be propagated from now on; so try them under cloches, but keep a free flow of air. Try your hand at budding roses to new stocks and take cuttings of those new plants you bought last autumn.
Flowers need watering if the sun is drawing up the the moisture from their compost. A free flow of air through the greenhouse will help avoid infestation by pests, but keep a sharp look out for any signs of the plants looking unhealthy and then take the appropriate action. Tidy up plants that have finished flowering and cut off unwanted flower heads. Remember that the greenhouse should have been cleaned and, if it has not been done, get it done. It will make you feel better to look at your handy work, and help the plants through their short life. Carnations and Chrysanthemums will need staking. The climbers will need to be secured and left tidy. Roses will need pruning.
SEEDS TO SOW
Sow seeds for wintering in the greenhouse are Border Carnations and Stocks, Spring flowering Calceolarias and Pinks.
Pick out the Cinerarias that you sowed two months ago.
Pot those plants that need repotting. Cyclamen and Primulas should be moved to their flowering pots with new soil being given to all plants. Azaleas should be given a visit to the world outside the greenhouse.
When the harvest has been gathered remove the debris to the compost heap. Cut the heads of Globe Artichokes when the heads are three parts open. A mulch of well rotted manure and soot can be applied to the carrots. Now is the time to start cutting mint and other sweet herbs for drying. Parsley should be pulled out unless it is being kept for seed. Find a suitable place to make a Mushroom bed in the open. Potatoes may need a final earthing-up. Runner beans should be stacked and fixed, "wigwam" stacking is suitable for most gardens large or small, and do not forget to water the plants now the weather is warm. Shallots for pickling should have loose soil pulled away so that they are clean and will ripen. Tomatoes need their top and side shoots pinched out. Marrows need as much water as you can give them if they are to fill out.
SEEDS TO SOW
Seeds of cabbages, spinach and turnips should be sown in quantities as required, and salad crops of endive, kohl rabi, mustard and cress, lettuce, onions, parsley, radish should be sown in quantities as required in succession.
Thin out the beetroot crop so that the fruit can form properly.
Plant kale , broccoli, celery and endive.
Propagate sage or savory from cuttings or division when plants get old and straggly.
Trees should be thinned and have any unnecessary growth removed at this time of year. Its a nice task without getting cold, provided that you have a jug of lemonade at hand. Just as you need sustenance so do the plants if the weather is warm, so give them a hoe and moisture round their roots. Fruit trees may be budded when the weather is moist. Espalier and dwarf fruit trees will need training and protection from birds. This is real summer work, not too strenuous. If you are fortunate enough to have apricots, cherries, figs and plums on walls you should remove unwanted shoots so as not to over bear the tree. Look to see if any apple trees have been attacked by mildew and spray with sulphur solution, cutting off diseased branches. Cherries and plums may be budded if you are looking for work, but it is not really necessary. Strawberries and Loganberries should be layered and clipped to the soil to secure their position.
TREES AND SHRUBS
The hoe in the hand to lean on when not moving it through the soil is the order of the day here. Cut away dead and unwanted foliage. Make the privet hedges look neat with shears or an electric cutter, but watch the safety aspect, especially when working on high hedges. Try your hand at training box and yew into eccentric shapes. This can be done with wire hidden in your plants to give them a desired shape and nurturing over the years, or you can just try your hand at cutting hedging plants into shapes. Propagation can be brought about with most shrubs by cuttings or layering. Do not forget to sit back and admire your handy work.