Winter (December, January, February)
- Ensure that any delicate plants are protected from the cold.
- Prune woody and ornamental fruit trees.
- Prune back overgrown deciduous hedging.
- Dig in compost/manure into prepared beds.
- Newly planted shrubs and trees will not yet have established good root systems. Check them regularly and, if necessary, use stakes and ties to help them withstand winds and gales.
- Treat timber structures (shed, pergola, fencing etc) with preservative.
- Check your fencing and carry out any repairs needed.
- Use a power cleaner on paths and driveways to remove moss and lichen – it’ll help avoid accidents through slipping.
- Check your outside taps and make sure pipes are insulated if need be.
- Plant summer flowering bulbs, such as begonias, dahlias and gladioli.
- Cordylines and fuchsia won’t survive the frosts so put them in your greenhouse or conservatory.
- Be prepared for strong winds and secure fencing, panels etc. Support young trees by staking, and make sure climbing plants are well fastened.
- Despite the cold, there will be warmth in the soil so it’s still a good time to plant hedges, shrubs and trees.
- Replace old roses before the snow arrives.
- Plant out camellias, azaleas and rhododendrons.
- Clear flower borders of any debris. Dig out annuals and turn over the soil. Cut perennials at ground level.
- Mulch borders using leaf mould, compost or well rotted manure. Put down a layer two inches deep. This will put nutrients back into the soil, as well as increasing the soil temperature and protecting plant roots.
- Prune fruit trees while they are dormant. Cut back new growth to one or two buds. Thinning branches will also improve the condition of the trees.
- Repair and reshape lawn edges.
- Dig up, divide and replant perennial plants to encourage healthy growth.
- Flowering bulbs such as snowdrops and crocus should also be divided and replanted to create better spread.
- If you’re planning to seed a new lawn prepare the ground now. Dig over the area and remove perennial weeds. Leave the soil clumpy – it will break down naturally.
- Established lawns should be scarified and spiked. Remove fallen leaves.
- Shrubs in containers should be moved into an unheated greenhouse.
- Deadhead winter flowers, such as winter pansies, to prolong the flowering season. Remove dead leaves from other flowering plants, such as iris.
- In the event of heavy snow, brush snow off trees, shrubs and conifers to prevent damage to branches.
- Remove leaves and litter from the lawn and flowerbeds.
- Keep ponds clear of leaves and twigs. Cover with thin netting if possible. Remove and clean pumps, filters etc. Put a ball in the pond – if the water ices over gases can still escape and fish can get oxygen.