January is a time for planning your garden for the coming year, so we thought we’d give you a helping hand and provide a snippet of what needs doing each month. We all love a To-Do list, don’t we?
Life may be quieter after the excitement of Christmas, but there is still plenty to do in the garden. Apple and pear trees should be pruned now, but only if you have them… and if you happen to have peach and nectarine trees too, constructing a polythene shelter will protect them from peach leaf curl. Cleaning pots thoroughly will help control pests, as will cleaning greenhouses; removing algae, moss and grime, will allow more light in and improve the overall environment. With spring around the corner, you don’t want to get caught out. If you have any vacant plots that haven’t been dug already, now’s the time to get stuck in, and while you’re there, disperse any worm casts that may have appeared in your lawn. Dahlia, begonia and canna tubers should be checked for rot or drying out, and rhubarb can now be forced. And, if you have any time left, why not take a look at planning your vegetable crop rotations for the coming season? Don’t forget the birds; they need all the help they can get during the winter months. Need any supplies? We have all you and your feathered friends need.
It may still be cold, but spring’s on its way, and there are several tasks that still need to be completed. Vegetable seed beds can be prepared now, and some vegetables seeds can be sown under cover; check the packets to be sure you’re not too early, and keeping account of what to sow, where and when will ensure you have a constant supply throughout the season. It’s also time to chit your potato tubers, so let them sprout those shoots. Any apricot, nectarine or peach blossom should be protected from frosts, and vegetable crops should be netted to keep out the birds that you’re already feeding. Snowdrop bulbs can be divided and planted ‘in the green’, and winter-flowering shrubs that are no longer flowering can be pruned, along with wisteria, hardy evergreen hedges and conservatory climbers like bougainvillea. Deciduous grasses that you may have left uncut over the winter can now be cut back, and you can remove dead grass from any evergreen grasses you may have. Seeds, seed trays, compost and propagators can all be found at Brookside Garden Centre, along with all the tools you’ll need to keep your garden tidy.
Longer days and (hopefully) rising temperatures should make gardening a little more bearable in March. Bush and climbing roses need pruning now, and shallots, onion sets and early potatoes can be planted, as can summer-flowering bulbs. Lift and divide any overgrown clumps of perennials, and top dress your containers with fresh compost. If the sun shines and the lawn looks dry enough, it’ll probably need a cut, and cornus (dogwood) and salix (willow) can be cut back too, though it's not advisable with the lawnmower. Catch any weeds early by hoeing and mulching, and protect any new spring shoots from slugs. Ponds heaters can now be removed and fountains used once again, and if the temperature exceeds 10°C, start feeding your fish. If you need advice on anything, drop by and have a chat to one of our experts.
Spring should have settled in now so our gardens should start to take shape. Hardy annuals, herbs and wildflower seeds can be sown outdoors; keep a watch for shoots coming through. Your fruit blossom should still be protected as we’re not yet done with frosts, and climbing and rambling roses should now be tied in. Continue to work on removing any weeds before they take over, and feed your citrus plants and those hungry shrubs and roses. New lawns can be sown now, and bare patches repaired. Do you have fig trees? You cab prune them now, and your bamboos and waterlilies can be divided. We have everything from seeds to secateurs and plant food to protective fleece here at Brookside Garden Centre.
The weather may have improved (we hope, we hope!), but our gardens can still be affected by late frosts, so protect tender plants and blossoms. ‘Earthing up’ potato plants as they grow will protect early shoots from frost damage and ensure the developing potatoes aren’t exposed to light, minimising the chance of them turning green and poisonous. If you live in a milder area, summer bedding plants can be planted out at the end of the month, and be sure to water them early and late to get the most out of your water; recycle water wherever you can. You should continue to hoe off weeds, and on warmer days, open greenhouse vents and doors. Lawns can be mown more regularly in May, and if it’s necessary to clip hedges, do check for nesting birds before starting. Overcrowded clumps of daffodils and other spring-flowering bulbs can now be lifted and divided, and watch out for viburnum beetle and lily beetle grubs, treating where necessary. Come and speak to our experts if you need any help.
Now the threat of frosts has passed, your summer hanging baskets and containers can take pride of place outside; be sure to continue watering early and late to save on water – a water butt will always be useful – and as you water your tomatoes, check the plants for any shoots sprouting just above each leaf – from the joint between the leaf and the stem – and pinch them out. Salad vegetables – including lettuces and radishes – can be harvested, along with early potatoes. Continue to watch and treat weeds, and mow the lawn at least weekly. Summer bedding plants can be planted, and tall or floppy plants should be staked; many spring-flowering shrubs can now be pruned. Keep greenhouses cool, and prevent scorch by shading them. We have a huge selection of bedding plants, hanging baskets and pots so drop by and take a look.
As the weather warms up, ensure your plants get enough water, especially during holiday season. Many watering systems are available and easy to use, and your compost can play a big part too, so ensure you have the best for your plants. Deadhead your bedding plants and repeat-flowering perennials frequently to ensure continuous flowering, and check clematis for signs of clematis wilt. If you want courgettes and not marrows, pick them now, and check your apples and treat apple scab. Algae, blanket weeds and debris should be cleared from ponds, and they may need to be topped up. Lawns would benefit from a quick-acting summer feed, especially if they didn’t receive a spring feed, and apricots, peaches and nectarines can now be harvested. We have a superb range of watering systems so be sure to drop by and discuss your options with our experts.
If you’re booked to fly to sunnier climes, be sure to plan your gardening tasks. Wisteria needs regular pruning to keep the growth and size under control, but it also improves the flowering display, so be sure to tackle it before it takes over. If your apples and pears are trained as restricted forms, now is a good time to prune those too to allow sunlight to ripen the fruit and ensure good cropping for next year. Deadheading needs to continue frequently for flowering plants; remove any flowers that look scruffy, and watering – hopefully from your shiny new water butt – is still important. Start collecting seeds from your plants, storing them appropriately, and harvest your vegetables when they’re ready. Old raspberry canes should be removed, and rooted strawberry runners can be lifted and potted up. Keep an eye on ponds and water features, topping up as required, and spread some green manure around to feed your soil. Whatever you need to keep your garden looking good can be found here.
With any luck, we’ll still be enjoying some good weather, so start dividing herbaceous perennials, and if it’s dry, you can pick ripe raspberries. Continue to collect seeds from perennials and hardy annuals, and sow them for extra blooms next year. Your potatoes should be dug up before the slugs attack them, and leafy vegetable crops should be netted before any birds can feast on them; ponds, too, should be netted too to catch leaves as they start to fall. New plants will still need to be watered, and cold frames and greenhouses should be cleaned out ready for autumn use. Need any help? There’s always someone at Brookside to give you the advice you need.
Tender plants – including aquatic ones – should be moved into a greenhouse or conservatory. Perennials that have died down can be cut back now, divided and planted elsewhere in the garden, and be sure to collect more seeds; herbaceous perennials and established rhubarb crowns can also be divided to create new plants for next year. Plant out spring cabbages, harvest your apples, pears, grapes and nuts, and prune your climbing roses. Ponds will need attention now to ensure they and your fish are ready for winter, and take advantage of any dry and warm days tpo mow the lawn and trim hedges for the last time, laying turf to renovate old lawns or to create new ones. Our fish experts are always on hand to discuss any concerns you may have, and we have turf throughout the autumn to help you out.
Leaves seem to be the mainstay of November, so clear up any that have fallen, especially from lawns, ponds and beds. If rain persists, raise containers off the ground to prevent waterlogging and, when the frosts start, to prevent compost freezing. Outdoor containers can be insulated from frost by wrapping in bubblewrap, so long as you can resist popping the blisters. Spring bulbs should be planted now, ready for next year, along with winter bedding plants, and be sure to cover brassicas with netting if pigeons are a problem; tempt them away – and encourage other birds – with some suitable birdfeed. Wind-rock can be prevented by pruning your roses now, and damage to fruit trees by winter moths can be avoided by using grease bands around the trunks. Given the time of year, a bonfire is the ideal way to rid yourself of excess debris that can’t be composted. Find all your favourite bulbs instore.
As the cold, wet and windy weather returns, be sure to check your winter protection structures are still securely in place; trees, shrubs and garden structures such as trellis can all be damaged by the wrath of winter weather. Improving shelter for vulnerable plants, staking tall ones, mulching, wrapping pots and planting your prized plants in appropriate sites will limit any problems. Ensure greenhouse heaters are working, and insulate outdoor taps to prevent freezing. Monitor the weather, particularly if you have a pond and it’s stocked with fish, and if it does freeze over, the ice can be melted by placing a hot pan on the surface; alternatively, installing a pond heater or water feature will prevent freezing and eradicate the problem. If your apple and pear trees are open-grown, prune them; if they’re trained against a wall, leave for now. Acers, birches and vines should also be pruned to avoid bleeding, and leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage and sprouts can all be harvested. You can still plant and transplant trees and shrubs and take hardwood cuttings, and lastly, whilst feeding the birds and other wildlife is essential, be sure your produce is safe from mice. Help is always on hand at Brookside Garden Centre so be sure to drop by and ask our experts.