On this page we hope to keep you up to date with what to do in the garden throughout the year.
Now is the time to get out in the garden and enjoy the crisp air, keeping warm by digging the ground to a good depth. Heavy and medium soil should be manured now, leaving the light soils for the Spring manuring. Now is the time of year to give land that becomes waterlogged drainage treatment. This can be achieved in various ways, either dig gravel into the soil or, in extreme cases, lay land drains towards a suitable soakaway. Tidy or make those paths or remake old ones that have needed it for years. Rubbish should be collected and burnt so that it can be dug in.
Surplus manure should be spread around the flower beds if leaf mould is not available and the soil dug. Herbaceous borders will need to be forked over and plants trimmed and cut down after they have bloomed. Leave the plants that give good displays of foliage of winter colour and shape so that a vista is given. The dead foliage can be cut down and dealt with in the Spring. Carnations and pinks that were layered can now be potted up and placed out of reach of cold winds. Dahlias that have flowered should be dug up and stored; whilst the young ones should be potted up and kept dry throughout the winter. If you are fortunate enough to have well established hollyhocks you should propagate them by taking small sections of the stools, but be careful not to move the parent plant. You will certainly need some reserve Pansies in the Spring so thin out and pot up those removed. A lot to do this month so get to it on fine days. Peonies can be propagated by taking part of the root.
Now is the time to take stock and look to see what plants are becoming old and which may need to be replaced at short notice. Having made your selections you should set about taking cuttings.
Final plantings of Anemone tubers, Canterbury Bells, Pansies, Primroses, Sweet William, Violets and wallflowers should be made. Irises should be planted in groups of three in a feature position. Your selections of Roses should be planted and prunings pushed into the ground in a sheltered position; no point in throwing them away when they may well strike and give you more plants. The ambitious may like to try planting some stock collected from the hedgerows for grafting next Spring. Think about planting some unusual tulips.
Watch the temperature at night and do not let it get below 5 to 7C. On the other hand if the temperature rises during the day ventilation will need to be given. Watering should be given only when plants require it, but be careful not to over water. Auriculas will need worming and treated with lime water if found. Calceolarias and Cinerarias need dead leaves removed and repotting. Camellias need careful attention as the buds swell. Pansies will need a warm place. Pelargoniums should be tidied up and the dead leaves removed and got ready for their flowering pots.
SEEDS TO SOW
Sow Cyclamen for next year.
Pot shrubs such as Azaleas and Deutzias. Bulbs for Spring flowering should be put in pots. Astilbes, Dicentras and Lily of the Valley should be potted up.
Get the soil ready for spring sowing. Those feeling energetic wanting to keep warm should get the hoe going in between the growing crops. Collect vegetable refuse and compost or burn it - do not let it rot next to the plants. Artichokes for future use should be lifted and stored in sand. Crowns should be protected with a mulch of leaves. The Asparagus bed should be dressed with rotten manure dug after any remaining growths have been cut down. The remains of the Beetroot and carrots should be lifted and prepared for the freezer. Celery and leeks require earthing up. Endives should be blanched as required to be harvested. Parsnips may need covering. If you are keeping some of your own potatoes for seed pick out the best and store. Spinach will continue to crop as it is thinned.
SEEDS TO SOW
Sow beans and peas.
Plant Cabbages, Leeks, Savoys as they will stand over the winter.
Vegetables in frames should have a free flow of air over the plants so as to harden them off, but watch the cold air. Try Carrots, Onions, Radishes in frames then you will have some early crops. Some Rhubarb can be lifted and forced in a frame; try some Seakale too.
SEEDS TO SOW
Seeds to be sown are Beans French, Lettuce, Mustard and Cress and Radishes.
This is the month to plant Fruit trees, so look for mild days to be in the garden working. When you prune fix in your mind what shape the tree should be when you have finished or you will end up with some pretty odd shapes, so do not get carried away with enthusiasm. You can if you wish spray with a suitable wash obtained from the garden centre, but follow the instructions. Currants and Gooseberries should be planted. Figs will need thinning. New Strawberry plants should have some manure spread between the rows.
Grape vines that were planted last month should be showing signs of breaking bud and should be kept at a temperature of about 12C. Peaches and Nectarines should be planted for next season's fruiting and a temperature of 7C maintained.
TREES AND SHRUBS
There is still time to plant flowering shrubs and trees for next season. Those feeling energetic should thin the border and carry out any alterations. It's easy to draw a border or dream about what it should look like, but it can be hard work in the garden. Whatever you decide enjoy yourself.