In Bloom is about getting the most from your garden and creating
something that you can enjoy and take pride in. In order to have
your garden in peak condition, it is important that you make sure
you care for it properly. This involves sticking to a plan and
preparing your garden to achieve the results you require.
Here is a mini guide to help you through the ‘Bloom’ months.
What should I be planting in:
With Christmas and New Year out of the way, there now is the
time to give more thought to the garden. January is usually the
coldest month of the year, so not much outdoor planting can be
done, however, general garden care and preparations for when the
weather warms up can still take place.
Seeds should be ordered now, if you haven’t done so already;
study various catalogues to plan your spring planting program.
Also, in preparation for the spring, you should make sure that all
your tools are in good order, checking to see if they need to be
repaired and carry out any maintenance as necessary.
Out in the garden, you should make sure that all your borders
are kept tidy and fork between perennials. If there are any severe
frosts, you should check on newly planted perennials and biennials
and firm them back in.
All ties and stakes on shrubs should be checked and replaced if
necessary, and dead branches should be removed.
If you have a greenhouse, clean it down thoroughly; if the roof
has become dirty, then make sure you clean it to ensure that light
can be let in. Leeks, onions, lettuce and cabbage can be sown in
Towards the end on January, you may see the first snowdrops
beginning to appear, letting you know that spring will soon be on
As St Valentines day draws upon us and the snow begins to fall,
are our gardens ready for the weather that February will bring?
By now, a few more snow-drops should be appearing along with
some daffodils, towards the end of the month. Primroses should also
be appearing as the weather becomes milder.
Make sure that any vulnerable plants are protected from frost
and knock off any snow from plants and shrubs to prevent any
Hedges can be cut back this month along with overgrown
You can lift and divide perennials as the weather improves,
towards the end of the month, also start preparing borders for the
planting of hardy annuals. Roses along with deciduous shrubs can be
planted now providing there is no frost or snow on the ground.
In the greenhouse, develop seedlings up to the light. Fuchsia
cuttings can be potted along with cuttings of Chrysanthemums.
As with last month, continue with the repair of any tools and
machinery that you will need later on in the spring; you do not
want to wait until it is too late.
Summer flowering bulbs should be bought or ordered now in
preparation for planting later on.
By now you should be seeing several spring bulbs flowering in
your garden as spring begins to take hold. Daffodils should be
blooming in abundance, brightening up their surroundings.
As the days begin to lengthen slightly, you are now able to
spend a little more time out in the garden. With the sun shining
stronger, its warmth can be felt and the plants respond according;
sadly so too do the weeds so you need to make sure that you remove
them before they take hold.
Deciduous trees and shrubs can be planted until the end of the
month. Newly planted trees and shrubs should be top dressed with
compost or manure. If you are able to use your own home made
compost then do so.
For tips on how to make your own compost, visit the Home
Composting web page. See Home
Composting. Beds and borders can also be mulched now
in order to retain moisture and ward off weeds. Remember to prune
any shrubs damaged by frost and to prune all roses ideally before
any new growth appears.
Some seeds of summer bedding plants can be sown now. Some will
benefit from first being started off in pots or trays in a
greenhouse, whereas, others can be sown directly into the open
In the greenhouse, also pot up young bedding plants. You can
start to grow French and Runner beans in pots. Dahlia tubers can
also be started in pots, remember to take cuttings as they begin to
Planting of fruit trees should also be completed during
You can plant gladioli and acidantheras now. If you have any
herbaceous perennials then you should thin their roots. Sow hardy
annuals in situ and prick off those sown earlier. Remove any dead
flowers from narcissus and other spring flowers.
As the weather begins to get a little milder sow new lawn areas,
but make sure you protect them from birds. Mow your lawn at medium
Plant evergreen coniferous trees and shrubs now. You should
apply mulch to roses and trim over lavender. Trim all
winter-flowering heathers and remove dead flowers from
rhododendrons. Prune early flowering shrubs such as ribes and
forsythias and cut down hardy fuchsias to soil as new growth
Prune newly planted bush fruits. Use nets to protect flowers on
fruit trees from frost. If the weather is dry then water the newly
planted fruits and spray against pests and diseases (do not spray
if the trees are in full flower).
If you have a greenhouse then sow seeds of outdoor tomatoes,
melon and courgettes. You should space out growing plants and watch
for pests and diseases. Bedding plants should be moved into cold
If you have a vegetable patch then you should start successional
sowing of radish, lettuce, peas and beans. You should also sow your
main crop of carrots.
Cauliflower and calabrese should be planted out raised in cold
frames. You can plant late potatoes earth up the early ones.
As the threat of frost should now have passed you can plant your
half-hardy annuals. Dahlias raised from cuttings should also be
planted now. Tall growing herbaceous plants should be stalked and
bedding plants should be moved to frames.
You can sow the following plants:
- canterbury bells
- sweet williams
The sowings of hardy annuals should be thinned.
Mow your lawn regularly and in different directions. If it is
dry make sure you water newly turfed and seeded areas.
Wall-trained fruit trees should be given plenty of water, as
should bush and cane fruit. When you can see that the fruit is
swelling give the trees a light feed. You should be on the look out
for goosebury sawfly and spray if it appears. You should place
straw or other material around strawberries.
If you have a greenhouse keep a close watch on ventilation and
humidity. You should remove side-shoots from tomatoes and train
cucumbers and melons, removing surplus growth and stopping where
necessary. The greenhouse should be fumigated at regular intervals
to control pests and you may need to provide shading for some
If you have a vegetable patch continue to make sowings of peas,
beans, carrots and lettuce. You can also plant out Brussels sprouts
towards the end of the month.
Make sure you protect early potatoes from late frosts and stake
peas and beans as required. Pinch out the growing points of early
sown broad beans after flowering and plant out tomatoes, marrows
With summer upon us most gardens will be bursting into life. If
you’re lucky enough to have a garden make the most of it, if you
haven’t, remember just how much colour, pleasure and food you can
get from pots, containers and growbags.
It’s now time to complete the planting out of all bedding and
half-hardy plants. Gaps in flower borders can be filled up with
quick-growing annuals such as such as sweet peas and morning glory.
In hanging baskets use pansies, petunias and black-eyed Susan for
an instant splash of colour.
If you get tiny pests such as aphids on your plants, it’s best
to avoid spraying, as pesticides will also kill ladybirds and other
helpful insects. Many birds will eat insect pests and if you are
fortunate you will see them out in the evening gathering food for
their fledglings. Greenfly or aphids can be washed off with a
dilute solution of washing-up liquid.
Flowering shrubs such as lilac and forsythia should be pruned as
soon as they finish flowering to encourage late flush of flower and
you should also be removing seedpods from rhododendrons and azalea.
While you are at it, spread compost or shredded bark around trees,
shrubs and roses when the soil is moist to help contain valuable
moisture during the hot weather. Clip your hedges and topiary and
feed them well.
Vegetable gardners should hopefully be harvesting early summer
cabbages and cauliflower this month. Now’s the time to sow
vegetable crops, such as a lettuce mix, or courgettes directly into
the soil and don’t forget you can grow a range of tasty vegetables
in large pots and growbags. Most lettuces can be planted from until
the end of September or October. Spinach, beans, rocket, and
courgettes all take minimal effort to grow and are great beginners'
By now your garden should be full of colour and your summer
bedding should be at its best, so while looking after your garden
also take some time to sit back and enjoy your garden!
In the hot weather your plants will be needing plenty of water
so make sure that you are saving all your ‘grey’ water (old wash
water etc.) and water either early in the morning or evening to
ensure that the plants receive as much of the water as possible
without it evaporating.
You should cut back half of all perennials that have flowered,
such as lupins and delphinums. If you are lucky this should
persuade more flowers to grow later on in the season. You should
also weed and deadhead regularly making sure that you check for any
pests. All faded heads on the annuals should also be removed
and cuttings can be taken of non-flowering shoots of shrubs and
Ideally you should be mowing your lawn at least once a week,
however with the dry weather it is advisable to leave your lawn a
little longer than usual to enable it to retain moisture from the
All fruit trees should be pruned and fruit should be protected
from birds using netting, however, check regularly to make sure no
birds get trapped.
If you are lucky enough to have a greenhouse make sure you keep
an eye out for pests and diseases such as whitefly, fumigate or
spray the greenhouse. Continue to feed flowering pot plants. You
should take cuttings of fuchias, abutilions and heliotropes. In
preparation for spring you should sow cinerarias and
For those with vegetable patches you should lift shallots and
autumn-sown onions and complete the planting of broccoli and autumn
and winter cabbage. Spring cabbage, spinach beet, lettuce and
Chinese cabbage should be sown now.
Don’t forget to order your bulbs for Autumn planting!
Now August is here you should be able to take some time to relax
in your garden, as there is less to do than in previous months. You
should still be weeding and deadheading regularly and make sure
your plants receive plenty of water while remembering to be water
wise. If you have planted any new trees and shrubs this year it is
particularly important that they get sufficient water because if
their roots fail to take hold they will die. If you break up some
of the earth around the base of the tree this will allow water to
break through the soil where it may have become hard.
Plant colchicums this month that will then flower in autumn.
Spring flowering bulbs can also be planted along with lilies and
it’s also time to start sowing biennial seeds. If you have rambler
roses make sure you prune them back this month. More vegetables can
also be sown now including spinach, beetroot, carrots, lettuces,
turnips, late cauliflowers, Japanese onions, winter cabbages and
You can start preparing plants indoors ready for spring. Spring
flowering plants such as cyclamen should be potted into final pots.
The greenhouses in Holland Park have plenty potted up ready to be
distributed later in the year around the parks and open spaces in
Cuttings can be taken of herbs such as sage and rosemary, remove
their lower leaves and root them in a half peat/half sand mixture
and put in a cold frame (mini greenhouse) over winter. By the
following spring they should have taken hold and produced a strong
60 centimetres plant.
With the relaxing summer period drawing to a close and the kids
all back at school there’s a lot to be done in the garden. Having
enjoyed wonderful summer blooms for the past few months your summer
bedding will no doubt be looking past its best. It’s time to
complete the pruning of summer shrubs and remember to continue to
deadhead roses. As with last month, give more thought to spring
Winter and spring flowering bulbs such as snowdrops, bluebells,
daffodils, tulips, crocuses and anemones should be planted.
Biennials and perennials sown earlier can also be transplanted and
sweet peas and hardy annuals can be sown in pots. Make sure that
the beds are thoroughly dug and fertilised before you plant.
Your lawns should be thoroughly raked with a springbok (wire)
rake to remove any thatch. They should also be spiked, fertilised
and re-seeded if necessary. If you have any damaged areas you
should cut out the offending area and loosen off the soil beneath
it. Fill the hole with sieved soil, pressing gently to firm it as
you go, and sow 30 to 40 grams of seed per square meter. Then sift
a mixture of soil and peat over the seeded area and make sure you
protect the area from birds by criss-crossing black cotton between
Harvest any fruit and vegetables as and when they become ripe.
Prune existing fruit trees and begin to prepare sections for the
planting of new trees. New trees, however, may have to be planted
slightly later this year due to the reduced rainfall.
Don’t forget about houseplants that you may have had outside
during the summer months. Make sure you bring them inside when the
evenings get cool to avoid the first frost, which, depending on the
weather could be later on this month.
Here we are again, not knowing whether to wear our sunglasses or
our rain macs. Yes, you have got it, it’s October. As the weather
changes, your gardens will change too.
As the rain situation is improving now is the best time to start
planting new trees. It is important that there is sufficient water
in the ground for the trees to take hold. Herbaceous perennials
such as delphiniums, hostas, lupins and primroses should be lifted,
divided and replanted.
Summer bedding should now be removed, in order to plant winter
and spring bedding before severe weather begins. Winter hanging
baskets and window boxes should also be planted now using plants
such as pansies, heathers, primroses, dwarf conifers and dwarf
For those of you that have ponds in your gardens, it is
recommended that you place a net over the pond to catch any falling
leaves. Clear the leaves from rock plants and lawns and place them
in a compost bin if you have one. For offers on compost bins and
tips on home composting please see the Royal Borough's Rubbish
Recycling Litter - Home composting web page. See Home composting
As we have been experiencing mild weather winter protection
around vulnerable boarders has not yet been needed, however, you
should make sure you are prepared for when the colder weather
November is often one of the wettest months of the year, but
like the previous month, it often relents slightly for a few days
to give us the last glance of the summer sunshine. The general
weather in November is similar to that in October, but the shorter
days and weaker sun result in lower temperatures.
Good gardening days are rare this month, so full advantage
should be taken of the few dry days we have. This is the best time
to tidy up your gardens. Any fallen leaves should be removed and
diseased leaves should be burned, to prevent an outbreak in the
Geraniums, Fuchsias and Begonias should be lifted and taken
inside, and the empty spaces should be left rough for the frost to
break down. Any areas where the soil is heavy should be covered in
lime (1/2 lb of lime per square yard), this will help the breaking
down process. Plants and trees arriving from nurseries should be
planted, however if the weather is not fit for planting, heel them
in. Herbaceous plants should be cut down to18 inches above soil
Dwarf shrubs, especially conifers, can be used with good effect.
However, they should be carefully chosen as they could grow to be
too large. The smaller the bed or garden, the more care is
Here are a few things to remember:
- Plan ahead; make a list of materials required.
- Continue making compost heaps (detailed in October's
- Carry on with winter digging.
With Christmas celebrations just around the corner, and New Year
shortly after, the garden can sometimes be forgotten about. The
shorter days also make it more difficult for gardening as the
daylight hours are limited.
The weekends are usually the only time when it is possible to
truly get some gardening done, and even these may be hindered by
the onset of severe winter weather.
Now is the time to prune back rose bushes by about half. You
should remove any cross cutting branches to create a vase shape
bush and cut back all stems to approximately 15cm from the base,
cut at a 45 degree angle. You may need a saw to cut off thicker
branches. Finally cut out any diseased wood and remember to
disinfect the blade after use.
Ideally you should have already planted your spring flowering
bulbs, such as tulips and daffodils, however, if you still have
some left to plant they should go in now before the first
Hardwood cuttings should be taken from a wide range of shrubs,
including deutzia, wisteria, dogwood and Virginia creeper.
Take winter hanging baskets undercover before they get exposed
to severe winter frosts. Either put them under the porch or in the
greenhouse if you have one.
Plants kept in a greenhouse should be watered sparingly, as with
the temperature drop less water is needed. You should also make
sure that the inside of your greenhouse is insulated to conserve
heat and save energy.
Don’t forget to order or buy seeds of plants that should be sown
mid to late winter.