Gardening Advice & Tips



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Prune fruit trees and bushes
Cut down faded foliage on perennials
Purchase your seed potatoes
Tidy up beds and borders


Put out bird food on the ground, bird tables and in hanging bird feeders

Keep the bird bath topped up and make sure it is not frozen

Make sure a wildlife pond does not freeze over by placing a float on the surface

Plant berrying deciduous trees - a mixture of native and non-natives works well

Put out food for hedgehogs - not bread and milk! Dog food is best but not chicken varieties.

Make a log and/or rock pile to create areas of shelter for wildlife

Prepare for Spring by Sowing or planting wild flowers

 


Regularly shake leaves off nets over ponds, or rake out fallen leaves from un-netted ponds

Use pond heaters to keep ponds from freezing over. If you don’t have a pond heater, there are other precautions to prevent freezing over, such as placing floats on the surface of the water

Monitor the water level of your pond, as hard frosts can cause defects in the liners. If the pond has developed a leak keep it topped up and carry out repairs in the spring

 


Recycle your Christmas tree by shredding it for mulch - check to see if your local council offers this recycling service

Repair or replace patchy lawn and re-shape edges

Check any stored tubers of Dahlia, Begonia and Canna for rot or drying out

Currants and gooseberries can be pruned now

Start forcing rhubarb

Plan vegetable crop rotations for the coming season. Select the varieties you intend to grow during the year and buy the seeds

Tidy beds and borders, mulch with well rotted manure, compost or bark and apply a slow release fertiliser e.g. bone meal

To prevent branches snapping remove snow from evergreen trees and shrubs

Avoid walking on your lawn when it is frosty, as this will cause damage

 


Ventilate the greenhouse on warm days

Do not over water your plants, water only when the compost is dry

Check regularly for moulds & fungus on your plants

 
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Prune summer flowering shrubs
Feed fruit trees and bushes with a high nitrogen fertiliser
Plan and construct new garden features
Buy baby bedding and starter plants and keep them somewhere frost free


Do not over water your plants, water only when the compost is dry

Plant new Grape vines, or prune established vines

Sow Sweet Peas for planting out later

Check the glass is not loose after high winds over the winter

 


Buy and put up nesting boxes for birds

Keep bird feeders topped up and put out food on the ground and bird table

Avoid foods that could cause choking in young fledglings i.e. whole peanuts

Keep the bird bath topped up

Regularly clean the bird bath and table to cut down the risk of disease

Put out food for hedgehogs -not bread and milk! Dog food is better for them although not chicken varieties.

Plant new berrying trees and shrubs – a mix of natives and non-natives works well

Put out log and/or rock piles to create areas of shelter for wildlife

Build a compost bin

 


Continue to keep ponds from freezing over. It is important to keep an area ice free so that the fish can breath

Monitor the water level of your pond, as winter weather can cause defects in liners and concrete structures.

Dig a new pond with gently sloping contours between the shallow and deep areas, and between the bank and the water. This is wildlife-friendly and will help to make marginal plantings appear natural.

 


Prune back Buddleja and Sambucus (elderflower) plants hard; down to just 18 inches or 50cm if wished

Start sowing vegetables but make sure you keep them under cover

Protect blossom on apricots, nectarines and peaches

Prune winter-flowering shrubs that have finished flowering

Divide bulbs such as snowdrops when they have finished flowering

Prune Wisteria back to 2 or 3 buds

Prune hardy evergreen hedges and renovate overgrown deciduous hedges

Cut back deciduous grasses, ready for new growth in Spring

Prick out seedlings and pot them on as soon as they are large enough

Buy your plug plants, keep them somewhere frost free

Prune back Roses and Clematis that flowered late summer and Autumn

If you suffered from peach leaf curl on your peaches or nectarines last year spray now with a copper based fungicide before bud burst.

 
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Prune rose bushes
Spike and scarify lawns to improve drainage
Feed trees and shrubs with a general fertiliser to give them a good start
Purchase new season shrubs from Polhill
Buy dahlia tubers now from Polhill
Prune any winter flowering shrubs when they have finished flowering
Plant summer-flowering bulbs


Do not over water your plants, water only when the compost is dry

Check regularly for moulds & fungus on your plants

Ventilate only on warm days

 


Put up nesting boxes for birds

Top up bird feeders and put food out on the ground and bird table

Avoid chunky foods that might cause young fledglings to choke i.e whole peanuts

Keep the bird bath topped up and clean

Put out log, twig and/or rock piles to create shelter for wildlife

 


Start feeding fish. Be careful not to feed to excess as this will lead to unwanted algal blooms

If warm enough, remove pool heaters

Remove netting coverings placed over the pond to protect it from Autumn leaf fall

Clean out pond filters

Cut back old marginal vegetation from around the pond

If overcrowded, divide marginal and bog garden plants

Put aquatic plant baskets in, using aquatic compost topped with a layer of gravel (Do not use normal compost as this contains too many nutrients)

 


Plant shallots, onion sets and early potatoes

Sow tomato seeds indoors, lettuce, parsley and radish

Protect new spring shoots from slugs

Lift and divide overgrown clumps of perennials

Top dress containers with fresh compost

The lawn may need to be mown by March

Cut back Cornus (dogwood) and Salix (willow) left from winter

Deal with weeds early before they get out of hand later in the season

Sprinkle a general fertiliser around trees and shrubs such as Growmore or Fish, Blood and Bone

Treat or repair fences before climbers start to grow over them

Prune roses, making sure you apply a thick layer of compost and rake up leaves from the ground to avoid black spot

Plant rhubarb crowns

 
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Purchase new seasons herbs and alpines at Polhill
Plant trees and shrubs - improve the soil with tree and shrub compost
Where aphids become a problem on roses and other plants spray with an insecticide such as Provado Ultimate Bug Killer


Plant Tomatoes, Aubergines and Peppers in unheated greenhouses. Remember to cover them with horticultural fleece on cold nights

Sow half-hardy bedding plants in trays. When the seedlings are large enough hand prick them out into individual pots or space out in seed trays

Plant up hanging baskets with fuchsias and tender perennials and hang them in the greenhouse to develop

Plant begonia tubers in the greenhouse. Make sure they are planted with the concave surface uppermost and just cover with compost. Pot on as the plants grow

 


Top up bird feeders and put out food on the ground and bird table

Avoid chunky foods that could choke young fledglings i.e. whole peanuts

Keep the bird bath topped up and clean

Put up a bat nesting box

Plant annuals and perennials to attract insects

Put out log, twig and/or rock piles to create shelter for wildlife

Sow or plant a wildflower meadow, and mow newly established meadows

Buy and hang a bee nesting box

 


Feed fish if they are near the surface

Plant water lilies or other pond plants once the water starts to warm up

Divide or cut back marginal and bog garden plants if overcrowded

Contain vigorous pond perennials by planting them in aquatic plant baskets and topping with a layer of gravel to prevent fish stirring up the compost

 


Keep weeds under control and continue to mulch the garden with well rotted manure and compost

Lightly fork over borders to remove weeds, but take care not to damage any emerging herbaceous plants

Remove faded flowers on bulbs. Wait until the leaves of daffodils and other spring flowering bulbs have gone brown before you cut them off

Plant summer flowering bulbs and tubers such as dahlias

Protect fruit blossom from late frosts. Camellia and Magnolia buds will also need frost protection. Use garden fleece to do this on any late frosty nights

Tie in climbing and rambling roses. Spray roses if necessary to control pests and diseases with Multirose 3-in-1 or Roseclear

Sow hardy annuals and herb seeds

Start to feed citrus plants with BabyBio Citrus Food or Chempak Summer Citrus Feed

Increase the water given to houseplants. Repot houseplants where necessary

Feed hungry shrubs and roses with something such as Organic Chicken Manure Pellets, Toprose or Miracle-Gro Rose Plus

Sow new lawns or repair bare patches

Prune fig trees

Divide bamboos and waterlilies

Fertilise the lawn or use a combined weed and feed product such as Evergreen Complete 4-in-1 or Westland Lawn Feed, Weed and Moss Killer. Mow it as often as required.

Strawberry plants may be planted

Use slug and snail control to protect the new shoots of plants

Clean paths and patio areas so that they look good and are not slippery. There are specific path and patio cleaners available.

 
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Use slug pellets or barriers to protect vulnerable plants such as hostas and young bedding plants
Plant out summer hanging baskets and containers after the threat of frosts has passed
Purchase summer bedding plants from Polhill
Apply a weed, feed and moss killer to the lawn such as Evergreen 4-in-1 or Westland Lawn Feed, Weed and Moss Killer


Put out nesting boxes for migrant birds arriving in the UK

Take care not to disturb nesting birds in garden shrubs and hedges

Top up bird feeders and put out food on the ground and on bird tables. Avoid putting large pieces of food out as this may choke young fledglings

Keep the bird bath topped up

Make a log, twig and/or rock pile to create shelter for wildlife

Put up a bat nesting box

Put out food for hedgehogs – not bread and milk! Dog food is better for them.

Plant annuals and perennials that attract insects

Leave informal hedges un-trimmed for a while to provide food and shelter for wildlife

 


Plant up new aquatic baskets with oxygenating plants and water lilies. Divide water lilies if not done last month

Continue to plant up new bog gardens and tidy and mulch with composted bark or garden compost existing bog gardens

Thin out, cut back or divide excessive new growth on aquatic plants

Keep ponds and water features topped up in the heat

Begin stocking ponds with fish once new plantings have established. Avoid introducing goldfish to wildlife ponds. They will eat frogspawn and so upset the natural balance

Fish will need feeding. Little and often is best, to prevent excess food leading to unwanted algal blooms

To remove blanket weed twirl it around a rough stick

Skim off floating weeds such as duckweed with a net. Leave weeds on the pond side for 24 hours to allow trapped creatures to return to the water before adding to the compost heap

 


Watch out for late frosts. Protect tender plants

Earth up potatoes, and plant any still remaining

Plant out summer bedding after the last frosts

Collect rainwater and investigate ways to recycle water for irrigation

Regularly hoe off weeds

Check for nesting birds before clipping hedges

Lift and divide overcrowded clumps of daffodils and other Spring flowering bulbs

Watch out for viburnum beetle and lily beetle grubs, if you find them use an insecticide such as Provado Ultimate Bug Killer

Begin to feed houseplants using a liquid fertiliser

Lift and divide daffodils

Mow the lawn regularly. Be careful to remove the cuttings and apply lawn feed regularly. Use a weed and moss killer where necessary

Weed around fruit bushes and strawberries to allow movement of air around the plants

Clear out Spring bedding from borders when it fades, and fork in a general fertiliser such as Organic Chicken Manure Pellets or Growmore

Ensure newly planted plants are kept watered in dry spells

Clean and oil wooden garden furniture

 


Tie in the lengthening growths of vines

Continue to plant tomatoes, aubergines and peppers in unheated greenhouses

Ventilate well and damp down on sunny days as longs as seeds are not being raised

Pinch out side shoots of melons and cucumbers when two side shoots have been formed

Watch out for pests and treat immediately using either a chemical spray or a biological control

 
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Spray roses to control pests and diseases with a product such as Multirose 3-in-1 or Roseclear
Visit Polhill to purchase ready planted baskets and containers for instant colour
Feed tomato plants once a week as soon as fruits have formed with Tomorite
Prune Spring flowering shrubs such as spiraeas and berberis


Top up bird feeders and put out food on the ground and bird tables

Keep the bird bath topped up in the heat

Trim hedges less frequently to allow wildlife to shelter and feed

Leave nesting birds undisturbed in garden shrubs and hedges

Put up a bat nesting box

Put out food for hedgehogs. Do not put out bread and milk; dog food is better for them, but not chicken varieties.

Use wildlife friendly slug pellets if chemical slug control is needed

Leave roses that produce hips without dead-heading them

Mow spring flowering meadows once bulb foliage has died down

Mow recently established perennial meadows to control weeds

Leave annual meadows un-mown

 


Continue to feed pond fish

Remove blanket weed by twirling around a stick

Check for blocked pump filters and clean out

Tidy up bog gardens

Thin out, cut back or divide excessive new growth on aquatic plants. Feed large aquatic plants by inserting slow-release fertiliser tablets well below soil level around the base of the plant

Keep ponds and water features topped up

Once new planting has established start to stock new fish ponds with fish. Start stocking and feeding when the water is warm. Don’t leave fish sitting in plastic bags of water – put them in the pond as soon as possible so that they have sufficient oxygen

Avoid introducing goldfish into the wildlife pond, as they will upset the pond’s natural balance.

Cover or use safety grills on ponds in gardens where young children play

 


To keep weeds to a minimum, hoe borders regularly

Watering is essential. The best time to do this is in the early evening when it is cooler and when less evaporation will occur

Pinch out sideshoots on tomatoes

Harvest vegetable including lettuce, raddish and early potatoes

Position summer hanging baskets and containers outside

Plant out summer bedding and half hardy annuals. Mid month, feed bedding annuals with a liquid feed such as Miracle-Gro Liquid Feed

Feed roses with a good granular fertiliser such as Toprose.

Stake tall or floppy plants

Prune Spring flowering shrubs

The lawn will require cutting weekly. If you have used chemicals on your lawn do not add the grass cuttings to the compost heap.

To speed up the composting process in the compost heap damp it down with water if it dries out

To improve the quality of strawberries lay straw around them and feed with a high potash food and ensure that they are watered well during dry spells

 


Shade greenhouses to prevent plants scorching and in hot weather open the vents and dampen the floor to cool and humidify

To control white fly in the greenhouse, grow extra basil in pots, and once well covered with the pest, remove and dispose of the plant

Use shade paint or green house shading netting on the greenhouse glass to prevent overheating and scorching of tender plants

Feed plants at least once a week

Use a biological control or fumigate if pests in the greenhouse are a problem

Open the vents every day to allow circulation for the of air

Remove side shoots from tomatoes, not the bush varieties

Continue training and feeding cucumbers and melons

Pick male flowers from cucumbers and pollinate female flowers

 
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Purchase flowering roses and clematis from Polhill
Water hanging baskets and containers at least once a day in dry weather
Sprinkle fertiliser around garden plants and lightly fork in
Apply liquid feed in damp weather to the lawn to give it a boost


Spray Peaches and Nectarines every day with tepid water

Use biological control where pests are a problem

Ensure all vents are working and close them on cool evenings

Remove faded flowers and dropped foliage to prevent the build up of fungal diseases

 


Top up bird feeders and put out food on the ground and bird tables

Keep the bird bath topped up

Plant marigolds around the vegetable patch to attract hoverflies

Go bat-watching on a summer evening!

Watch out for adult frogs and toads leaving the pond this month

Plant annuals and perennials to attract insects

Trim hedges less frequently to allow wildlife to shelter and feed in them

Leave nesting birds undisturbed in garden shrubs and hedges

Mow recently established perennial meadows to reduce weeds

Annual meadows do not need mowing

Leave roses that produce hips without dead-heading

 


Top up ponds and water features if necessary - a spray attachment on the hose will aerate the water, and help the fish

Any pumps on water features should be left on during sultry nights, as oxygen levels are lower in such conditions

Remove dead foliage and blooms from waterlilies and other aquatic plants. Cut back any marginal plants that are getting out of hand

Skim off floating weeds, such as duckweed, with a net, rake, scoop or wooden board

Leave weeds on the side of the pond for 24 hours to allow trapped creatures to return to the water, before adding the weed to the compost heap

To improve water quality and prevent the growth of weeds and algae clean out debris from the bottom of the pond

 


Check clematis for signs of clematis wilt

Place plants from Conservatory outside in a sunny area

Keep tubs and new plants watered regularly in the heat

To ensure continuous flowering over the summer, deadhead bedding plants and any repeat-flowering perennials

Give the lawn a quick acting summer feed, especially if a spring feed was not done

Give woodwork a lick of paint or preserver, while the weather is dry

Mow lawn once a week. In late summer, lawn growth slows down, so raise the cutting height slightly to allow your lawn to resist wear better

Feeding your lawn with fertiliser will help to keep it in good condition

For a green lawn, use a sprinkler once a week during dry weather. When watering the lawn, soak it to get the water down under the roots

Roses should be deadheaded. Look out for black spot. Lightly prune back and apply fertilisers to encourage a second flowering

Tie in the long growths of climbing roses, honeysuckles and vines

Containers and hanging baskets will need regular watering - make sure the compost is thoroughly soaked

Plant leeks for winter

Plant your spring crops of cabbage, broccoli and cauliflower (brassicas)

Pick beans regularly and keep them well-watered

Prune apple and pear trees to allow more light to the ripening fruit and encourage new growth

Feed perennials and shrubs with a granular fertiliser such as Organic Chicken Manure Pellets or Growmore and hoe into the soil

Feed container plants and hanging baskets with a liquid fertiliser such as Feed-all or Miracle-Gro every week

 
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Apply selected weed killer if weeds are appearing on the lawn such as Westland or Verdone Lawn Weed Killer
Remove faded flowers from all roses and summer bedding plants
Clip yew and other hedges
Purchase pot bedding from Polhill to fill in gaps in your displays or baskets


Damp down greenhouses on hot days to increase humidity for the plants and control red spider mite

Pinch outside shoots on tomatoes and feed with a tomato food regularly

Shade plants to prevent scorching. Use netting or shade paint on the outside

 


Remember to change the water in your bird bath frequently as stale water is unhealthy for the birds and can become a breeding ground for mosquitoes

Top up bird feeders and put out food on the ground and bird tables

Plant marigolds around the vegetable patch to attract hoverflies

Watch out for adult frogs and toads leaving the pond

Plant annuals and perennials to attract insects

Trim hedges less frequently so that wildlife can feed and shelter there

Leave nesting birds undisturbed in garden shrubs and hedges

Leave roses that produce hips without dead-heading

Allow seed heads to develop on some plants as a source of food

Summer meadows may be ready for cutting

Recently established perennial meadows need mowing to control weeds

Annual meadows do not need mowing

 


Remove any blanket weed by twirling it around on a stick

Remove any plant material that has fallen into the pond to prevent the build up of disease

Aerate the water in hot sticky weather by leaving fountains on overnight

Shallow water features or those with water washing over cobbles can become green very quickly in summer weather. Algaecides may need applying more frequently than in normal ponds

Clearing out fallen leaves and debris regularly will help to keep down algal growth, as there will be fewer nutrients available from rotting organic matter. Barley straw pads or extract may also be beneficial

 


Prune Wisteria back to 6 or 7 buds on long growths

Don’t delay summer pruning restricted fruits such as Fans, espaliers and cordons grown against walls and fences.

Deadhead flowering plants regularly

Don’t forget to water containers, and new plants. Where possible use grey recycled water or stored rainwater

Collect seed from favourite plants

Harvest summer vegetables as they become ready

Cut any old canes on raspberries, once they have fruited

Lift and pot up rooted strawberry runners

Mow the lawn frequently. You could leave the cuttings on the lawn to provide protective moisture-retentive mulch. Raise the blades on fine lawns to help prevent lawn scorching

Deadhead roses to prolong the display into Autumn. Cut off just above the uppermost leaf on the stem

Feed roses with a specialist rose fertilizer

Deadhead plants such as Dahlia to maintain their displays into Autumn

Keep containerised plants well-watered throughout summer

Plant bulbs for spring flowering. Give priority to daffodils as they begin their root growth early

Clip evergreen hedges now to give them time to grow new leaves before winter

Pick any remaining raspberries then prune the stems down to soil level. Tie in new shoots and remove excess ones

Peg down strawberry runners

Dead head Sweet Peas to increase the flowering season

Water containers twice a day during the hot weather, even if there has been some rain

Remove straw from under Strawberries that have finished fruiting

 
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Purchase spring flowering bulbs from the wide range at Polhill
Plant prepared indoor hyacinth bulbs for Christmas flowering
Transplant evergreen shrubs and conifers
Plant Spring flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and snowdrops


Narcissus can be planted to ensure a display for Christmas

Be extra vigilant for pest and disease

 


Clean out birdbaths to prevent the risk of disease and keep them topped up

Replenish birdfeeders. The breeding season is not yet over, so avoid large chunks and peanuts

Leave some seed heads standing, rather than cutting them back, to provide food and shelter for wildlife

Give meadows a final cut before the winter, aiming for 7.5cm (3in) height, and letting the clippings lie for a couple of days before raking to allow wildlife to crawl out

 


Remove any blanket weed by twirling it around on a stick

Put a net over the pond to prevent leaves falling in to it. Accumulated debris in the pond can encourage growth of algae and weeds, which will eventually harm the fish by reducing available oxygen levels

Remove dead leaves from water lilies as the foliage dies back

Water lilies can be prone to fungal problems such as crown rot and leaf spot, so nip any problems in the bud by dealing with them promptly. Remove affected leaves, reduce water splash from fountains and, if necessary, repot the whole plant in fresh compost after first removing all rotten looking bits of root, stem and leaf

Divide water lilies and other pond plants, both floating and marginal, in order to increase their stocks or to control over-vigorous growth

Cut back overgrown marginal plants. A maximum of 50% of the water’s surface should be taken up with planting

Submerged Oxygenating plants may need to be thinned out, as they can quickly build up and crowd the pond

 


Divide herbaceous perennials once they are dormant

Pick Autumn raspberries

Collect and sow seed from perennials and hardy annuals

Dig up any remaining potatoes before the slugs spoil them

Put a net over your pond to protect from falling leaves

Keep up with watering of new plants, using rain or grey water if possible

Start to reduce the frequency of houseplant watering

Clean out your greenhouse ready for the Autumn

Cover leafy vegetable crops with bird-proof netting

Plant Spring flowering bulbs

Once faded, take out summer bedding plants and replace with spring ones such as Pansies and Wallflowers

Deadhead Roses regularly

Clear up any fallen leaves and other dead plant material to prevent diseases over wintering and remove shelter for Vine Weevils

Begin planting your Autumn, Winter and early Spring flowering plants

Empty containers of plants which are now passed their best in preparation for replanting with Autumn and Winter flowering types and Spring flowering bulbs. Remember to empty hanging baskets at the same time

Line the insides of your pots before planting with bubble plastic to protect your plants’ roots and clay pots from frosts

Raise your containers off the ground slightly using small pieces of wood to allow them to drain more freely as the days become increasingly wet

Spring flowering bulbs should be ideally planted before mid-November

Whenever possible, plant bulbs straight away, otherwise store in a cool dry place

 
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Apply an Autumn lawn feed for a better lawn next year
Spike the lawn to improve drainage
Visit Polhill to purchase from the wide range of Spring flowering plants and shrubs
Clear faded bedding plants from baskets and borders
Buy bunches of wall flowers now
Buy and plant Spring flowering bulbs
Plant out Winter and Spring bedding such as pansies, primulas and wallflowers


Replenish birdfeeders. All feeds, including whole peanuts, are safe, as the breeding season is now over

Leave some seed heads standing, rather than cutting them back, to provide food and shelter for wildlife.

Leave mature ivy uncut if possible, as it is an excellent late source of nectar for insects.

Make a leaf pile for hibernating mammals and ground-feeding birds overwintering in the UK.

Buy a hedgehog hibernation box

 


Continue to place nets over small ponds to prevent autumn leaves falling in

Tidy up the pond and clear out any debris, weeds and excess oxygenating plants. Leave the plants on the side of the pond for 38 hours before composting them so that any wildlife can escape back into the pond

Tender plants, such as water hyacinth and lotus need to be removed from the pond. Remove any dying foliage and place the plants in trays of deep mud or damp sand keeping them in a frost-free location (such as a greenhouse of conservatory) until the risk of frost has passed

Remove dead leaves from water lilies as the foliage dies back

Divide water lilies and other pond plants, both floating and marginal, in order to increase stocks or to control over-vigorous growth

Remove pumps or fountains and removable lighting systems, clean them and store over winter in a safe place

Gunneras require winter protection. Remove the old leaves and place them over the crown of the plants. Gunneras have spines on the foliage so ensure that you use gloves to do this

Zantedeschia (arum lily) also require protection. Cover these with a layer of straw or bracken

If there is any risk of frost or ice in your area, then take precautions to prevent the pond from freezing over entirely

 


Clear up fallen Autumn leaves regularly

Cut back perennials that have died down

Divide herbaceous perennials and rhubarb crowns

Move tender plants, including aquatic ones, into the greenhouse

Plant out Spring cabbages

Harvest apples, pears, grapes and nuts

Prune climbing roses

Last chance to mow lawns and trim hedges in mild areas

Renovate old lawns or create new grass areas by laying turf. This month is an ideal time to make a new lawn from turf as it unlikely to dry out

Plant Winter and Spring flowering bulbs such as Daffodils, Narcissi and Crocuses should be planted in the garden or patio containers

Check the supports and ties on young trees and climbing plants

Re-position tender plants into a frost-free environment such as a greenhouse of conservatory

Help to drain your lawn by using a lawn aerator

Tidy up the garden shed and clean and sharpen secateurs in preparation for Winter pruning

Wash and sterilise pots and trays. The usual method of sterilisation is to soak the pots in a tub filled with 1 part bleach to 10 parts very warm water. As an alternative, you could use an all-purpose, environmentally friendly cleaner instead of bleach. Scrub the pots clean with a brush. Rinse and lay them out to dry in a rack or a towel. Store them for use next Spring

 


Protect plants in your greenhouse from cold winter nights with a heater

Water plants in the morning so that the foliage is not wet during the night

Clean the greenhouse glass inside and out to maximise the Winter sun and remove any greenhouse shading

Ventilate the greenhouse to keep up air movement and alleviate dampness

 
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Protect tender plants by covering them with horticultural fleece
Plant tulip bulbs
Provide food and water for garden birds
Visit Polhill to see the Christmas displays


Replenish birdfeeders, or hang one if you have not done so in previous seasons. All feeds, including peanuts, are safe, as the breeding season is now over

Clean out nesting boxes so that birds can shelter inside them during the winter

Leave some seed heads standing, rather than cutting them back, to provide food and shelter for wildlife

Leave mature ivy uncut if possible, as it is an excellent late source of nectar for insects

Make a leaf pile for hibernating mammals and ground-feeding birds overwintering in the UK

 


Generally clean up your pond taking care not to disturb hibernating wildlife.

Remove pumps and clean and store them in a dry place.

Put a net over the pond if not already to prevent leaves falling into it and regularly shake off leaves to prevent them from building up.

Drain stone fountains and water features so freezing conditions are less likely to cause damage.

Rake out fallen leaves from ponds that are not netted

Remove the last of the dead foliage from floating plants, such as water lilies, and from marginal plants that overhang the edge of the pond.

Watch out for hungry herons - they will deplete fish stocks quickly. Nylon strings strung across the edges of the pond (where they often wait for fish) can deter them from approaching the water. They need to be 15cm (6in) from the ground and 15cm in from the edge of the pond.

 


Clear any fallen leaves from your lawn, pond and beds

Raise containers onto pot feet to prevent water logging

Plant tulip bulbs for a Spring display next year

Prune roses to prevent wind-rock

Plant out winter bedding

Cover brassicas with netting if pigeons are a problem

Stop winter moth damage to fruit trees by using grease bands around the trunks

Encourage birds in to your garden by putting out bird food

Use a seasonal bonfire - where this is allowed - to dispose of excess debris unfit for composting. Check for wildlife prior to this.

Continue to tidy beds and borders, then mulch with compost, well-rotted manure or bark and apply a slow release fertiliser such as bone meal.

Provide Autumn and Winter interest by leaving attractive stems or seed heads for wildlife. Cut back old, unsightly perennials to ground level though

Keep Autumn flowering plants looking their best by removing dead heads and ensuring they’re not being covered with fallen leaves.

Be sure to rake up leaves regularly to prevent them from smothering your grass. Either add them in small amounts to your compost heap or put them in large plastic bags to rot.

 


Protect plants in your greenhouse from cold winter nights with a heater

Water in the morning only, so that the foliage does not remain wet at night and try to avoid leaf splash.

Sow winter Lettuce in the greenhouse border soil.

Ventilate the greenhouse with care in order to keep up air movement and alleviate dampness without letting temperatures fall too low.

Insulate the greenhouse from frost – bubble wrap works well or purchase a bubble insulation pack.

 
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Purchase a real Christmas tree from the large selection of quality trees from Polhill
Visit Polhill to choose houseplants from the fantastic selection
Give fruit trees protection from pests and diseases by using a Winter wash
Repair and replace broken fences and wooden garden features


Hang bird feeders

Fill the birdbath and keep it clean to prevent the risk of disease and keep it free of ice

Leave some berries on plants such as holly - they are food for wildlife

Leave perennials un-cut for as long as possible - they provide food and shelter

Incorporate a few native trees and shrubs into new, more exotic plantings

Build a compost heap

Feed hedgehogs with proprietary feeds, or with tinned cat or dog food (not bread and milk and not chicken flavour food)

Create overwintering sites for a range of insects, reptiles, amphibians and mammals. For example, leave tidying borders and shrubs until late Winter or early Spring to provide shelter for insects through the cold weather.

 


Regularly shake off leaves from nets over ponds to prevent them from building up

Rake out fallen leaves from un-netted ponds before they sink

Use pond heaters to keep ponds from freezing over, as this can be fatal for fish and other pond life. There are other precautions you can take to prevent your pond freezing over, if you do not have a heater. To make a hole in frozen ponds, hold a saucepan of hot water on the surface until melted through. Do not crack the ice, as this is harmful to fish

Watch out for herons stealing fish from your pond. The only way to discourage them is to net your pond

This may be a good time to repair any leaks in your pond

 


Check your Winter protection structures are still securely in place

Check that greenhouse heaters are working OK

Prevent ponds and stand pipes from freezing

Prune open-grown apples and pears (but not those trained against walls)

Prune acers, birches and vines before Christmas to avoid bleeding

Harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts and remaining root crops

Deciduous trees and shrubs can still be planted and transplanted

Take hardwood cuttings

Reduce watering of houseplants

Continue to tidy beds and borders, then mulch with compost, well-rotted manure or bark and apply a slow release fertiliser such as bonemeal.

Cut back established rose bushes to stop them from snapping in the cold and windy
conditions

Move delicate pots in greenhouses or wrap in bubble wrap to prevent from freezing

Mow if necessary - but only if the grass isn’t wet or frozen, and keep the blades set high

 


Clear greenhouse gutters of autumn leaves

Line the inside of the greenhouse with bubble-wrap to keep plants warmer.

Do not over water your plants, only water when the compost is dry

Check plants regularly for pests and disease i.e. moulds and fungus.

Ventilate only on warm days


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