Monty’s Top Ten Garden Jobs In February

February is here and with it comes signs of the approaching spring. The bravest of the bulbs and wildlife start to make an appearance as the temperature and light levels begin to increase. This is an exciting month for gardeners, the dark, cold winter is almost at an end and the days of spending hours in the garden are almost back. Which is why it’s more important than ever to get everything prepped now, so as not to miss out on all the wonders that Spring has to offer. Here you can find my top ten jobs that I will certainly be getting on with in the garden this month, putting some hard work in now will certainly pay off come the spring. 1) PRUNE PRUNE PRUNE – All through February you should be proactive with your pruning. Prune winter-flowering shrubs that have finished flowering, hardy evergreen hedges, conservatory climbers & Wisteria. Remove dead growth from perennials and genrally giving the borders and containers in your garden a good tidy. 2) Clean out ponds – To prevent any harm coming to your fish, ensure that all leaves and debris are cleared from any ponds or water features you may have. Providing they’re not iced over. When removing anything from the pond leave on the side for a day or two so anything trapped inside has time to escape back in to the pond. 3) Grasses – Ensure any deciduous grasses that have been left to grow over the winter are now cut back and tamed. A good hair cut is required at this time of year to encourage fresh new growth. 4) Beds – All flower beds should be turned over. Also a perfect opportunity to mix in some manure and compost ready for Spring planting. 5) Greenhouse gardening – Begin to sow bedding plant and some vegetable seeds under the cover of your greenhouse. Keep these covered and protected from frost. 6) Scarify/spike lawn – Unless your lawn is very new, then now is the time to scarify and spike. Ensure all leaves are gone otherwise you could end up with a yellow lawn. If you have a lot of moss in your lawn, once removed and spike brush over with some sand to help with drainage. 7) Sort your seeds – If you have not yet ordered your seeds, then now is the time. Aim to create a sowing calendar to make planting through spring easier. 8) Snow – As is the way with British weather, it is hard to tell if and when we’ll get snow. However, be ready to brush it off trees and shrubs to prevent it damaging trees. 9)...

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Monty’s Top Ten Garden Jobs In January

January is a strange month for gardeners. There doesn’t seem to be much going on out there and the often grim weather makes it all the more difficult to find motivation. However, just because  the grass doesn’t need cutting and the plants are barely growing, it doesn’t mean there aren’t jobs to be done. This is the month to take control of your garden and get it in tip top shape for the spring months. Top January Garden Jobs: 1) DISPOSE OF YOUR CHRISTMAS TREE – Once the festivities have ended the  Christmas tree is often casually discarded into the back garden without a second thought. Well this year, you could shred it and use it as mulch, or in a lot of cases, garden centres will offer a free recycling service. Don’t just leave it looking sad and unsightly by the bins. 2) Finishing clearing up leaves – Unless you’ve been extra vigilant over the festive season, you will have likely developed a build up of unwanted leaves. Now is the time to get on top of them and clear them from your lawns & patios. 3) Repair & smarten up lawn edges – Smartening up the edges of your lawn makes for a much neater garden in general. Effort put in now will make future smartening a whole lot easier. 4) Cultivate flower beds – It is often useful to work through this job at the same time as the lawn edges. Remove all old, dead plants and weeds, ready for the fresh winter bedding. 5) Tidy compost bins – Providing you already have a composting area (if not, then make one), you should get them in order. Don’t let rogue plant pots and rubbish build up around them, as these make perfect homes for snails. 6) Plant winter bedding – You can now start to plant winter bedding plants such as winter pansies, winter cherries and cyclamen. Ensure that bedding is appropriately fertilised and watered. 7) Prune Roses – Don’t be afraid to prune your roses right back. Leave just a stubby skeleton of healthy branches and it will bounce back as strong as ever. 8) Continue to put water & food for Birds  – Food is very scarce for our garden birds over winter and so they are extremely thankful for any food or water provided. 9) Care for your lawn – In the most part, stay off it. If it’s wet or covered in snow, then you’re only likely to damage it. However, if the weather allows and it is getting a little long, then a trim might be acceptable. 10) Landscaping – If you’re looking to make any changes to...

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Monty’s Top Ten Gardening Jobs In December

Well it’s here, December, where did that year go? It seems only five minutes ago that I was looking forward to a productive year in the garden and my hasn’t it flown by. December is always a busy month and can often be the month that the garden can be forgotten as you either don’t have the time or you just don’t think there is anything to do, but here is my top ten gardening tips for jobs you can get on with in the garden when your not busy stuffing the Turkey. Check Winter Protection – It’s good to always check on tender plants that you may have wrapped up or have moved indoors or a greenhouse. If they are wrapped make sure this is still secure as we often have plenty of wind in the winter months. If you have moved plants indoors make sure you do give them some water and make sure they are not in a very hot room as central heating quickly drys out plants. If plants are in the greenhouse then make sure you remove any dead or dying leaves and if the plant is trying to flower remove these also. Check Ponds – If you have a pond with fish in make sure this doesn’t freeze over. Simply add something to float in the water, as when this moves in the wind it will help to stop the water from freezing over. We have some Floating Ornaments in our store……(cheeky plug I know). Or if not pop outside if you see ice and make a hole, make sure you don’t go overboard smashing it as this noise will be very loud for the fish in the pond. Sprout Time – Well it’s Christmas so now is the time to enjoy the Sprouts you have been growing on the veggie plot. I know I will be enjoying mine, with some bacon lardons and a touch of butter. Indoor Bulbs – If you have been growing bulbs in pots such as Amaryllis, Hyacinths or even Crocus, bring these indoors and the warmth will spur the bulbs on to flower, often in time for the big day itself. Outdoor Bulbs – December is my favourite time to buy outdoor bulbs such as Tulips, Daffodils etc as they are really cheap in the garden centres but can easily still be planted in the garden with no damage to their growth. Make sure the bulbs are still firm and look healthy before you buy them, but you can really pick up a bargain at this time of year, a Gnome has to save some pennies where...

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Monty’s Top 10 November Garden Jobs

Despite not officially being winter, the signs that it is on its way are out there for all to see. The temperature dropping, winds picking up and leaves falling are all clear indications that the month of winter are close. Therefore it’s time now to get out and do your garden jobs. Fair weather gardeners tend to shy away at this time of year, however, for those of you who wrap up warm and brave the elements, you will be rewarded come next year. My Top November Garden Jobs: 1) CLEAR UP LEAVES – this is a biggy and can be a real pain, however, it is worth it. It’s especially important to remove these leaves off your lawns, ponds and beds. Then, compost them and keep the cycle going! 2) Drain hoses – often forgotten, draining and putting away your hoses will save them from freezing and bursting. 3) Insulate outdoor containers – If you can’t move your pots and planters inside then keeping them insulated will help again freezing and frosting over. Bubble wrap works ideally if you can, if nothing else make sure containers, certainly terracotta containers, are off the ground, with bricks or pot feet. 4) Don’t cut everything down – It can be tempting in the garden, when everything is looking a bit dead and glum to go around hacking it all down to the ground. Well my advice is don’t, certainly with tender plants or perennials and grasses. This ‘dead’ looking top growth will help to protect and insulate the plant against the cold. If we have a really harsh Winter you will thank me for this tip! 5) Feed the birds – A lot of the birds natural foods sources have begun to dry up by now and so feeding them is extra important. Especially if there is some snowfall which makes finding food even harder. If you have a bird bath then make sure if these freezes to replace the water or break the ice, people often forget that birds have to drink. 6) Winter bedding plants – If you’ve bought anything for your winter beds. then now is the tie to get them planted. It is a great idea to plant up some pots for the Winter months to display near the house, Winter Pansies are perfect for this and will flower for months on end, just make sure to pop out and dead head them from time to time. 7) Wind proofing – Any tall plants like climbers or roses need to be secured to canes or other supports to help combat the effects of strong winds. If needed...

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Monty’s Top 10 October Gardening Jobs

Autumn has set in and December is getting ever closer, but there’s lots you can still do in your garden to keep it looking tidy and also to prepare for the spring, such as planting bulbs. Take a look at my top tips for gardening this month to keep you busy, putting some work in now will make it easier and your garden better ready for the Spring and Summer next year. Fruit – For those of you that still have fruit on your trees you should think about harvesting them and also remove any rotting/diseased fruit to prevent infections in next years yield. An excess of fruit can be used for jams and preserves, or stored careful in a cool, dark well ventilated place. Make sure you check on them on a regular basis to stop any disease starting or spreading. Spring flowers – For a glorious spring colour you can many Spring flowering bulbs now so you can sit back and wait for them to pop up in the new year. When choosing your bulbs make sure they are healthy, they should be hard and free from any signs of mold on the bulbs or any green shoots on them as this is a sure sign of stress or bad storage. As a rule of thumb plant most bulbs a twice the size of the bulb in depth. My top tip for planting bulbs is not to plant Tulip bulbs yet, wait until next month as they don’t like to sit in wet ground for too long. Leaves – Clear away any leaf fall on a regular basis to prevent diseases but if you have a designated area for any winter wildlife you can create a wild patch in your garden with any debris. Also of course, leaves make for great compost material. I would also advise if you do make a pile of leaves or logs at this time of year and then want to move them check for wildlife first, Hedgehogs love to find places like this so let’s all make sure we look after them. Tie down – As stronger weather undoubtedly approaches, you may want to tie any weaker plants to stakes to protect them from strong winds. Certainly a good idea for any new shrubs or trees you have planted this month. Squash – If you’ve been busy growing your own crop this year then you’ve probably harvested already but if you haven’t, don’t delay; any squash such as pumpkins need to be ripened away from damp conditions, so consider moving them indoors but in any direct sunshine available. You want to be prepared for halloween don’t...

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Monty’s Top 10 September Gardening Jobs

The bad weather is coming and the days are notably shorter, so it’s time to start planning ahead for next year and harvest all your crops. You also want to keep all that colour in your garden going as long as possible with late summer flowering perennials; my top tip this month is to keep dead heading to prolong these flowers. I have comprised a list of top 10 jobs to do this month to keep you busy so scroll down and take a look and as ever make sure you make time to enjoy your garden, there are still warm days in September to sit with a glass of wine. 1. Plant your spring flowering bulbs now –  You want to prepare your garden for spring so plant bulbs such as Daffodils, Hyacinths, Alliums and Crocus ready for lots of colour next year. I would always recommend waiting until the end of October to plant bulbs such as Tulips as they don’t like to sit in wet ground for too long. Also if you are thinking of planting up autumn / winter pots or baskets then don’t forget to add some spring flowering bulbs to them to add an extra splash of colour. 2. Plant new shrubs, tree’s and perennials – September is a great month to plant new plants in the garden, often people think the spring is the best month but actual now is the perfect time. The soil is still warm, which is perfect to encourage the roots of new plants to establish ready for the next year. It’s also a great month to add new plants as often Garden Centre’s are reducing their plants to clear before winter, so you can pick up a bargain and plant it ready for an extra big plant next year. It’s win win. 3. Tidy your vegetable garden – This area of the garden has been working hard for you over the past few months and is probably looking a little tired right now. Remove any weeds, cut back some over growing crops such as Beans and Tomatoes so they put all their growing effort in to ripening. Dig over any spare ground to help turn the soil ready for next year and if you want to you can add a layer of manure to the top to feed the soil ready for next years new crops. 4. Harvest your fruit trees and bushes – It’s time for your hard work to pay off so pick all your Blackberries, Pears, Plums and Apples, but don’t let them go to waste; make crumbles and pies, homemade jams and chutneys and don’t...

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