Plant your winter and spring garden NOW!
- For a mass of spring colour, sow these annuals into well-prepared garden beds, after the first rains:
- If you haven't already, sow your sweet peas! Check out our sweet pea series for all you need to know about growing one of spring's greatest pleasures.
- Have you purchased spring-flowering bulbs yet? Store them in a cool dry place and only plant when temperatures drop significantly.
- Prepare beds for planting winter and spring flowering bulbs - work in loads of compost to aid drainage, scatter a handful of organic general-purpose fertiliser per square metre, and add a generous dressing of bone meal.
Plant bulbs in a container
Bulbs spoil us with such a beautiful display in spring, and the best thing about them is that you don't need a garden to be able to grow and enjoy them. Most bulbs can easily be grown in pots, and by layering the container with different varieties, you can enjoy a prolonged and impressive display. Generally, you can plant bulbs in any size container, but you do want to plant the bulb at least three times as deep as the bulb itself. Do ensure that the container has drainage holes as you don't want your bulbs to sit in wet soil and rot over the winter. Gather your favourite bulb varieties and let’s get planting!
- Re-use those autumn leaves by either adding them to your compost heap or using them as mulch in your beds. Additional mulching will also help to keep the warm temperature of the soil.
- Remove summer-flowering annuals that are past their best and add them to the compost heap.
- Plant out seedlings of winter- and spring flowering bedding plants, like stocks and calendulas in full sun, and cinerarias and primulas in semi-shade.
- Plant up smaller beds, containers and hanging baskets with petunias, poppies, pansies, alyssum and dianthus for instant colour.
- Prune summer-flowering perennials that have finished flowering, remove old leaves, mulch with compost and water regularly.
- Lift and divide overcrowded evergreen Agapanthus, daylilies and summer flowering red hot pokers.
- Now is the time to take hardwood cuttings of trees, shrubs and climbers. Check out the how to guide below to see how it's done.
Grow from hardwood cuttings
Hardwood cuttings are taken from deciduous trees and plants (ones that lose their leaves in winter) when they are dormant between April and October. Hardwood cuttings are taken from well-ripened wood, and growth is made directly from buds that are dormant when the cutting is taken - the buds are usually visible. Unripened cuttings of this type will not propagate successfully and the best cuttings are made from the middle wood of the long shoot. Cuttings can take anything from 5 - 12 months or longer to take root and shoot be planted out in late autumn or winter.
- Prune evergreen hedges that have finished flowering in summer.
- It is the perfect time to plant trees, shrubs and roses as the roots still have time to settle in and establish before the winter cold arrives.
- Apply a final feed (2:3:4 or 3:1:5) to your roses to or a dose of potassium sulphate to give your roses a boost before winter.
- Remove spent blooms and pinch out growing tips.
- For more rose care advice check out @ludwigsroses' step-by-step rose care guide for April.
- Pull up summer crops that have finished bearing and compost those that are healthy.
- Sow or plant seedlings of these veggies for a bountiful winter harvest:
- Give growing garlic a go! Select a sunny area in your garden, with well-draining soil, and plant cloves 12 cm apart and 7 cm deep. Cover with a thin layer of soil, just enough to cover the clove nose, and water regularly.
- Collect seeds of flowering herbs like coriander, dill and fennel, on dry days.
- Plant cool-season herbs like chives, garlic chives, coriander and rocket.
- Plant strawberries and water once a week.
- Feed your citrus trees with a general fertiliser and a handful of Epsom salts per tree.
- Continue to spray your roses against mildew and black spot.
- Keep an eye out for aphids and leaf miners.
- These guys love Brassica crops so keep a close eye on the veggie garden.
- Lawn caterpillars are active at night and create bald patches in the lawn.