Annual Gardening Suggestions

Garden Diary

Click on a month to see its diary entry.

 

JANUARY

January is usually the coldest month of the year, conditions can be frustrating to me as a gardener, so I take full advantage of the weather and get my Lawn Mower, Strimmer, Hedge Trimmer, etc sharpened or repaired.

I have also previously drawn up a 'cropping plan' during this month, to ensure I don't replant the same vegetables in the same piece of land two years running. My own vegetable plot at home is quite small, so I use pots if necessary to vary where the vegetables grow.

If I have any new plants arrive when the ground is frozen or very wet, I put them in a frost proof shed during the cold spell, but if you do this, they need to be kept moist.

If you still have time on your hands this month, don't forget you could always clean and tidy the shed/garage/greenhouse/summerhouse, wash the pots, weed the lawn or rake up the fallen leaves.

If you look hard enough there are always jobs to do in your garden.

FEBRUARY

Digging and turning the ground is generally the order of the month for me in February - providing the ground is not too wet or frozen of course. There are often milder spells during this month, where I do my spring planting.

I have also been known to prune my newly planted trees & shrubs this month too - less to do at the busier gardening months, particularly at the end of March.

Check your ties and stakes and firm up any plant supports.

However, the best place on a nasty February day, I feel is in the greenhouse, sowing seeds. But remember to keep watering to a minimum until you are sure spring has arrived.

I also encourage Michelle to re-pot her houseplants during this time of the year - Michelle's idea of re-potting is passing them out to me to do!

You can bury a lot of troubles, digging in the dirt

MARCH

The weather, particularly in the South West varies the most in this month, so I tend to tidy borders, cut down stems and treat my soil now.

If you haven't already, now is the time to get your Mowers, etc ready for the first cut.

I am also sowing seeds like you wouldn't believe this month, and any of my seedlings already sown can be pricked out now - leaving them too long will result in them growing tall and spindly. Hardening off needs to begin early.

Michelle is a fan of pots, but for anyone embarking on large scale outdoor vegetable sowing choose the first mild day this month, when the soil can be easily working - and do your onions first! Carrots need stone free compost so we plant in pots to ensure straight (ish) growers.

Finally, I tend to look at my lawns in more detail this month too - raking & piercing the turf when I can (I can usually be seen doing this evenings due to working and 2 small children!). I only mow once or twice in March on the highest blade setting, literally just topping the grass.

All the flowers of tomorrow are in the seeds of today

APRIL

April is a busy time, for nearly all my greenhouse plants can usually be propagated this month and the 'pot' planted will need attention too;

Not to mention your lawns around now - my lawns (Michelle again is a big fan of grass) need at least a cut a week.

I have 3 Pampas grasses in my front garden, which I either cut down low or burn during April. This could be done at the end of the flowering season in October too, but I like to keep my roots safe from any frost.

Although I'm not a massive fan of the rain, I do try and use a showery day in April to plant out my seedlings. Evergreens can also be planted in late April and Rose bushes can be pruned, removing any shoots that haven't developed into buds.

Remember to make sure your greenhouse is well ventilated during the day and close up at teatime - watering if possible in the mornings.

A dedicated turfman never puts his mower away!

MAY

I don't trust the weather in the month of May, warm one minute, frosty the next.

Regular mowing is now in place, whether in my own garden or at one of my regularly managed properties. I try to weed the lawns at this time of the year too.

If you don't already have a Water Butt, now is a good time to invest in one, as watering is vital this time of year, as you'll probably notice your plants are growing like mad. With this in mind, check your stakes & ties - particularly your climbing roses; they will need a good feed now too.

All bedding plants & seedlings still in the greenhouse need to be given as much air as possible - but like I've said before BEWARE of the last May frost and cooler evenings.

Although my own garden doesn't have heathers, my client's gardens do, so May for me is Heather pruning season.

Despite the gardener's best intentions, Nature will improvise.

JUNE

I personally love this month - the sun is at its strongest ... but it's generally also a dry month, so I'm always pleased I have a water butt - try and water once the sun has gone down. I pop out after the 'soaps' have finished!

Weeding is in full force now ... .on a weekly basis in most of the gardens I visit.

My clients with evergreen hedges like me to lightly prune this time of year. Regular pruning means I can keep the hedges neat and shapely. It's also a perfect time of year to try your hand at Topiary.

Check your Greenhouse thermometer religiously during June, as temperatures can go mad - yet there is still the possibility of the odd cold June night. Thankfully I am not one to lie awake worrying about it though.

Keep your lawns neat by edging them, but remember to remove the trimmings when cut, as they may take root.

No two gardens are the same. No two days are the same in one garden.

JULY

Although we are now into the summer months, we can't guarantee fine weather. July can be one of the wettest months unfortunately - determining a good or bad summer! However, if we get a drought and the rain stays away, water in the evenings and not during the day.

Dead heading your flowers needs to be done daily during July to keep your plants interested in flowering - you don't want them to start going to seed before the season is out. I try and deadhead as I water. You could also give your plants a quick 'pick me up' feed of liquid fertiliser now. Try Miracle-Gro or even a good Tomato Feed.

Cut back blackcurrant old growth as soon as the fruit has been picked and start planting your wintergreens.

When regularly mowing, avoid a close cut as your lawns will bleach (turn yellow) in the hotter weather - I never cut on the lowest setting. I would rather cut twice a week if necessary.

Spring bulbs can now be lifted, cleaned and placed in trays in a dry frost proof place ready for replanting in the autumn. You can leave them in the ground to come up annually, but there is no guarantee the frost won't get to them.

Another big job this month is removing faded Rhododendron heads - a long process but so worth it.

Where but in a garden do summer hours pass so quickly?

AUGUST

August is holiday season, so make sure all your hard work doesn't go out the window when you fly off to the sun - call on a JB Garden Services, a neighbour or a family member to carry on where you left off - watering, mowing, dead heading, fruit picking, etc. AND, remember to check your stakes & ties before you go.

However, if you are staying at home to brave the British weather, now is the perfect time to sow a new lawn and enjoy all your fruit and vegetables.

Strawberry runners can now be separated from the main plant and watch your Grape vines for mildew.

Give your hanging baskets a last minute feed to keep them going until the first frosts of autumn.

Weeds in your lawn must NOT be allowed to establish this month, as all your hard work will be ruined.

Start a new compost head this month and then just sit back and enjoy your garden!

A garden is a friend you can visit any time.

SEPTEMBER

The important planting months of October & November are approaching, so I try to order any trees or shrubs during September - why not think about planting a tree or shrub to commemorate a birth ... I can't wait to watch mine grow with my children.

Preparation is key this month; start planting up bulbs in pots in the greenhouse using soil from the compost heap as bulbs suit this better than manure, Clear your vegetable patch of decaying leaves, etc, Plant your evergreens and order any new Rose bushes.

My grape bushes are surrounded by heavy foliage this time of year, so I try to push the leaves aside to allow the sun to get to the grapes, if you can't move the foliage don't be afraid to remove some of the leaves altogether. The fruit should be removed as soon as it is ripe.

Rockeries can be cleared of debris now; don't allow untidiness to spoil the look of your autumn garden.

I'm mowing less now, so I use this time to repair my lawns where necessary. I lift the turf to flatten out bumps or level hollows ... and with more time on your hands now that mowing is reduced why not think about spawning (sowing) mushrooms, digging out new beds or borders, trim your hedges for the last time this year or buy greenhouse, water butt or compost bin ready for next season.

One of the most delightful things about a garden is the anticipation it provides.

OCTOBER

I try and do as much digging as possible during October before winter sets in, turning the soil and removing any unwanted plants. Heathers can be planted or divided this month. What about planting a new fruit tree - have a think about getting a Quince, they need hardly any attention and flower beautifully with pink sprays and provide you with a yellow pear shaped fruit.

I pick up fallen leaves to add to my compost pile/bin round about now too. However if you have the space, light a bonfire to burn up the debris that may harvest pests and disease.

October is a good month to completely clean your greenhouse - Jeyes Fluid is brilliant for this, or check your stakes & ties again ready for a winding winter.

I try and finish all my hedge trimming now, while the growth is sappy & soft - remember to keep oiling your sheers or blades as it makes the job easier to do. Or get your local North Devon Gardener, JB Garden Services to do it!

A garden is a thing of beauty and a job forever.

NOVEMBER

A few DON'TS for you this month;
1) Don't plant too deeply, while remembering to plant firmly and stake
2) Don't let roots dry out while waiting to be planted
3) Don't bury the valuable soil
4) Don't plant in wet or frosty weather
5) Don't let your greenhouse temperatures fall below 7 degrees at night

Your vegetable garden needs to be prepared for next year's potatoes & onions; remembering to refer to your 'cropping plan' you drew up last January.

Roses can be pruned anytime they are dormant, so either now or in the spring. If you wait until the Spring I believe mid February is best for the South West. However, it is thought that pruning in November/December results in larger blooms.

Should you wish to plant now, make sure all climbers are planted at least a foot away from walls and several feet away from trees.

As a family, our last BBQ of the season is usually Bonfire Night, so once this is over I clean and tidy away my garden furniture. Then I start on any alterations or improvements needed in the garden such as guttering, drainage and lagging on outside taps etc.

Plants in pots are like animals in a zoo; they're totally dependent on their keepers.

DECEMBER

There is no reason why December should be a bleak flowerless month - Jasmines are good this time of year, generally flowering yellow. Or what about a winter Heather or winter Cherry. The months of December, January & February are my main planting months, set aside for me to concentrate on bringing colour into my gardens for the rest of the year.

If the weather is frost and snow free I like to give my lawns another run over with the mower with the blades on the highest setting. After that I then oil my equipment before storing over the winter, in readiness for another busy season.

Again providing you are frost or snow free edging of your lawns could also be done now. You can either lay new turf or cut out worn pieces and turn round to create an immaculate new edge.

What about drainage? Is your lawn sodden? Do you think you need a Land drain?

Whatever you do this December..remember to treat the leaves on your Christmas tree with a plastic spray to prevent the messy fall of fir needles and enjoy the festive season. Merry Christmas from JB Garden Services.

A man of words and not deeds, Is like a garden full of weeds

 

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