- Shake heavy snow off evergreens and conifers
- Tie in upright (fastigiate) conifers with bands of wire to stop wind and snow spoiling their shape
- Study summer bulb catalogues and order bulbs
- Order seeds
- Order plug plants of tender perennials to grow on in a cold greenhouse for summer display
- Protect crowns of hardy fuchsias with straw or bark
- Protect polyanthus buds from birds with black cotton
- Service the lawn mower
- Float a ball on the surface of the pond to keep some of it ice-free so fish and wildlife can breathe. Never break ice
- Firm down newly-planted plants which have been lifted by frost
- Dead-head winter-flowering pansies
- Avoid over watering, but don’t let compost dry out completely
- Winter—prune fruit trees such as apples — remove dead wood and overcrowded spurs to stimulate growth
- Continue winter digging, provided ground is frost-free
- Cover rhubarb crowns with straw and a large pot to produce tender, pink shoots
- Start sowing in the heated greenhouse beognias, lobelia and antirrhinum first
- Sow leeks and brassicas
- Chit seed potatoes, placing them in trays in a cool light. This speeds up growth when you plant in six weeks’ time
- In a heated greenhouse, pot up canna rhizomes to start them into growth
- If temperatures drop, cover plants with sheets of newspaper
- Check plants and pick off any sign of aphids and grey mould fungus
- Sow sweet peas if you didn’t do it in October
Know your soil type
If you don’t know the pH of your soil, now’s a good time to get a simple testing kit from a garden centre. Low pH indicates acid soil, suitable for plants such as rhododendrons, azaleas, many heathers and camellias, as well as blue hydrangea flowers. Alkaline or chalky soils have a high pH, and suit lime-loving plants.
Now’s The Time
- Paint Fences
In Fine weather take the chance to treat fences with wood preservative while plants are dormant.
Modern wood preservatives don’t damage green foliage.
- Check Houseplants
Move delicate houseplants from cold windowsills at night.
Wipe away dust from leathery-leaved specimens with a damp cloth.
- Treat Indoor Bulbs
Deadhead hyacinths and daffodils after they have flowered in the house.
Transfer the pots to a sheltered position while the foliage dies down, then plant the bulbs out in the garden in spring.
- Renovate Hedges
Old hedges of yew, lonicera and beech (but not conifers such as leylandii) stand hard pruning back to the main stem.
Feed and mulch to encourage new growth.
- Take Root cuttings
Propagate herbaceous plants such as oriental poppies and verbascum from root cuttings.
Lift a plant or scrape away the soil to expose its roots.
Cut roots into 5-10cm sections.
Plant vertically in pots and put into a cold frame until they sprout.