John Logan's December gardening tips.
If you want to leave Dahlias in the ground over winter cover with wood ash then compost
Keep off the lawns and the edges during hard frost
Stop dividing herbaceous plants in hard frost
If weather is reasonable complete pruning your fruit, not much needed on top fruit, and remove any rotten apples, but don’t cut stone fruits until summer to avoid entry of disease
Cut roses half way down to avoid wind rock and to leave enough stem to allow for frost damage
Seasonal Tips from John Logan
Gardening Tips for November
Take full advantage of the fine days this month to:
Collect fallen leaves for compost, but burn any diseased leaves
If you are affected by box blight, cut off and sweep up any diseased leaves, discard by either burning or double wrap and put in the household bins, mulch under the plant
Start winter pruning of deciduous shrubs. In cold districts, pruning is best left until March to take account of any frost damage during the winter. Any shoots or branches that are growing out of place should be removed now, together with any broken or damaged wood and branches causing overcrowding within the shrub. (courtesy of seasonalgardening.co.uk)
Take the opportunity to overhaul your lawn mower once mowing has ceased
November is the best month to plant tulips but you can still do this right up to the end of December. To encourage them to be perennial, plant tulips as deep as possible, and the Darwin and Viridiflora types are best if you want tulips to reappear year after year.
October Garden Tips
Choose dead flowers, particularly hydrangeas, to dry for the house during the winter months.
Don’t leave bare patches in the vegetable garden during the winter, sow with a green manure such as clover.
Keep disbudding dahlias for larger flowers.
Prune stone trees such as plum, peaches, as soon as fruiting is over.
If you have a greenhouse, you can continue with late sowing of salad greens.
September's Gardening Tips
There seems to be an outbreak of horsetail in local gardens, it is quite hard to kill even with Roundup because it has a coating of silica. Giving it a rough treatment with a stiff brush may help the poison to work.
Remove dead heads of Euphorbia Wulfenii. Beware of the thick milky sap, which is an irritant to skin, wear gloves. The same applies to Aconitum (monkswood) which is very poisonous.
Thin the flowered branches of early flowering shrubs.
And keep deadheading.
August's Gardening Tips
If you have Bearded Irises that have been in the same place for more than two or three years: lift, divide (discarding old gnarled rhizomes) and replant with the rhizomes (also called creeping rootstalks) well out of the ground. Cut leaves back to 5 cm (3”), make a mound and place the rhizome on the top of it, splaying out the roots around it. Back fill and leave the rhizome exposed to the sun.
Make sure that container plants have plenty of water, they need more than you think!
Prune Blackcurrants as soon as picking has finished.
Sew Poppy seeds where they are to flower next year.
Cut back herbaceous geraniums to the ground when they have flowered to promote a new flush of healthy leaves.
July's Gardening Tips
Top priority for this month is to dead head any plant that can repeat flower, don’t let them think they have done their job otherwise they will throw in the towel.
If you have a heavy crop of blackcurrents, cut off the fruit bearing branches and pick them at a table, it is very like giving them a good pruning.
Continue to thin top fruit up to the size of a half crown (if you know what that is) - about 3 cm.
To prolong the life of Erysimums (perpetual wall flowers) keep them trimmed. I recommend Bowes Mauve - a bushy evergeen perennial to 75mm, with narrow dark grey-green leaves and erect racemes of rich mauve flowers 2cm in width. It flowers nearly all year round.
Never water a lawn however brown they get. They will always recover.
Act promptly at the first sign of bind weed, otherwise you will soon have a plague!
Junes Gardening Tips
There are two things to watch out for this month:
Firstly is for Leather Jackets damage, there seems to be a lot of it about and unfortunately there is no legal remedy for it. These are large earth coloured grubs the larvae of the cranefly or daddy long legs . They live on the roots of grass. Many plants in the garden can be attacked by leather jackets particularly after a wet autumn.
If you want to use a non chemical remedy try something based on garlic.
They use Garlic remedies in the gardens at Buckingham Palace, they reckon it works.
Secondly keep an eye out for black spot (dark brown spots on the foliage, twigs and leaf stalks) on your Roses before it takes hold. Cut off the affected parts, if there are any fallen leaves pick those up, then burn them.
Apples and Pears, thin the fruits after the June drop has taken place if there are still too many of them. Also with apples cut off any excessive foliage that is stopping the sun getting at the fruits.
Keep feeding your Roses.
If you have a bare patch where the soil is a bit poor and you would like a bit of quick colour, try sewing some Nasturtium seeds, they will flower in no time. Better bet than putting in some bedding plants which need to be watered twice a day, Nasturtiums seem to look after themselves. There are some lovely varieties to choose from one being Indian Queen a beautiful scarlet.
Mays Gardening Hints
Clip over Heathers that have flowered. Don’t cut into the old wood.
Chelsea Chop - reduce perennials by 40%, otherwise they get too lush, (particularly Sedums), this will not do them any harm.
Prune shrubs that have finished flowering.
Don’t be in a hurry to sow Runner or French Beans in the open.
Mulch as much as possible to a good depth. Do a small area deep rather than a large area shallow. Don’t mulch on dry soil.
Watch out for sneaky roots of Bindweed and Ground Elder. Dig out before they spread, but if essential to use weed killer do it in a plastic bag.
April’s Gardening Tips
If you want quick results to make your garden look good, edge the grass. If you have any edges that are badly eroded cut a turf and turn it around.
There is still time to prune some plants like Buddleia and HT Roses, but do it soon.
It is known that we can get hard frost up to the 10th May, so don’t rush to put tender plants out.
Give your Roses a feed, they have a lot of work to do.
Check supports and ties on vulnerable plants before they get too big.
For February and March
Keep off sodden soil, this can damage the ground for years to come.
Spread compost or manure on the top of the soil and allow the worms to do the work
If the tops of snowdrops and aconites are still green you can increase your stock by dividing from the middle of the clump as they soon heal over. Replant in groups of three or four stalks. Water well if it turns dry.
Water rhubarb well even if it is raining.
When sodden soil does dry out it can set like a brick, aerate with a fork if necessary.
Check peaches and nectarines for leaf curl. If you don’t want to spray, pick off and burn affected leaves.
If you are tempted to plant a Camellia, plant in an acid soil. Two important points to remember are, don’t plant in a lime soil or facing the early morning sun. Once established they are quite happy to be pruned.
If possible sow peas in a length of gutter and slide into place. If you don’t have a gutter sew into the ground with chopped gorse to keep the mice away.