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Gardening calendar

Our gardening calendar will help you plan your outdoor activities so your garden stays in great shape for you to enjoy all year round. Each month, you’ll find information about what’s happening in your garden as well as a handy list of maintenance tasks to follow. If you’re growing your own fruit and vegetables, we also offer helpful advice on plant care.

For a monthly overview of when to sow, plant and harvest, download our printable calendar.


December

Calendar in December

Winter rain and storms mean that there’s often tidying up to do somewhere. Check climbers haven't blown away from the wall and use wall ties so the wind won't damage them. Don't get carried away with removing the faded flowers on a hydrangea as they provide frost protection. Deciduous trees (trees which shed their leaves annually) and shrubs can still be planted and transplanted. There is also still time to plant tulip bulbs if the ground hasn’t frozen.

Growing your own

Pile earth around any winter cabbages, cauliflowers and other brassicae to help protect them from wind. Use canes to support any really tall Brussels sprouts. Remove any yellow leaves as they may act as a source of infection. Harvest leeks, parsnips, winter cabbage, sprouts and any remaining root crops.


What to do in December
  • Carry on digging over beds and borders, incorporating as much organic matter as you can
  • Clear patios, driveways and paths of slippery algae, moss, weeds and lichen, especially after a windy day. Keep clearing up any leaves so that slugs and snails can’t shelter underneath them. Add them to your leaf mould pile if you have one
  • Clean and insulate your greenhouse if you haven’t already. Cover glass on the inside with bubble wrap which keeps out the lower temperature but lets in the light
  • Clean and repair your garden tools and get your lawnmower serviced. Repair fences, trellises and pergolas and treat timber with preservative or wood colouring when climbers have died away or lost their leaves

If you’re having a bonfire, a pile of debris is an attractive shelter for a hedgehog so always check thoroughly before burning.


January

Calendar in January

The weather can be harsh this month so check stakes, ties and other garden supports for any damage. You might also want to move some plants to sunnier positions if possible. Heavy snowfall? Brush snow off conifers and hedges so the weight doesn’t cause damage.

Growing your own

Sow early crops (radishes, beetroot, spinach and lettuces) and tend undercover in a greenhouse, tunnel or on a windowsill inside.


What to do in January
  • Ventilate your greenhouse on sunny days. Even wedging open the door will allow circulation of air and will reduce humidity as plants need a fresh supply of CO2
  • Repair and reshape lawn edges. They will keep their shape as the grass isn’t growing this time of year
  • Carry on clearing paths of moss and leaves
  • When soil conditions allow, continue to dig over beds and borders. Once the soil is workable, get the hoe out again
  • Cover the roots of tender herbaceous perennials with a generous amount of dry mulch to protect these until the risk of frost has passed

Don't forget to keep feeding the birds.


February

Calendar in February

It's time to prune shrubs, climbers and evergreen hedges. There’s still a risk of frost and even snow, so continue to protect vulnerable plants, pots and taps by wrapping insulation around them, such as bubble wrap and hessian. Protect the roots of tender trees and shrubs with a generous amount of dry mulch.

Growing your own

Cover strawberry plants with garden fleece to encourage early fruiting. You can also plant summer fruiting raspberries. Harvest leeks, Brussels sprouts and sprouting broccoli and plant Jerusalem artichokes.


What to do in February
  • Continue to dig over beds and borders to help prepare the soil for spring and reduce pests
  • Prepare vegetable seed beds by using a rake to level the surface to create a crumb-like texture on the top. Make new beds and borders when the ground thaws and the soil begins to warm
  • Protect blossom on apricots, nectarines and peaches from frost by covering trees in horticultural fleece. Use netting to cover fruit and vegetable crops to keep the birds off
  • It’s a good time to prune winter flowering shrubs that have finished flowering. Prune wisteria, conservatory climbers, and hardy evergreen hedges

March

Calendar in March

Numerous bulbs are flowering now and many trees and shrubs are in bloom. There may be old, dried-up foliage that died off in the autumn from your perennials (plants that come back year-on-year) covering your beds. March is a good month to get rid of this so new growth can happen unhindered. This is the perfect time to feed and mulch the beds with compost which will feed the roots and keep the moisture in. Weed seedlings are starting to grow and unless dealt with now, they will cause problems later.

Growing your own

March is a key time for sowing vegetables and flower seeds, planting shallots, onion sets, early potatoes, soft fruit and fruit trees.


What to do in March
  • Plant new plants, shrubs and trees
  • If not done in February, prune your roses. Always prune no more than 5mm above a bud and do a diagonal cut so water won’t collect on the bud
  • Trim back silvery and evergreen shrubs such as lavender and hebe to keep them bushy
  • Cut dogwoods (cornus alba) down to 30cm from the ground. This encourages new shoots that will be much brighter in autumn and winter
  • Lightly fork over borders to aerate and weed then cover with approximately 3-5cm of organic compost/mulch
  • Aerate your lawn by pushing a fork in 10cm deep and 20cm to help air, water and nutrients penetrate the lawn more easily

You can mow for the first time this year but not too short initially. If your first cut is too short, you risk traumatising the grass and it may not grow back as strong. If you’ve been thinking about making some bigger changes like a new patio, some decking or a pond, now is the time to start your planning to ensure it’ll be ready for summer. See our guides to planning a patio and planning decking for somes ideas.


April

Calendar in April

Birds will be nesting now so be careful when trimming hedges and bushes – try leaving it until May or June if so. Start feeding the lawn this month and apply lawn sand if moss is a problem. Weeds are also making the best of the extra daylight and warmth so keep hoeing or hand weeding the borders to keep them in check.

Growing your own

April is a key month for planting vegetables ready for the summer.


What to do in April
  • Sow grass seed to repair lawns
  • If not done already, feed borders with fertiliser
  • Check and repair any fencing or garden structures such as pergolas or arbours
  • Clean decking and jet wash or scrub patios and paths to remove algae
  • Deadhead faded flowers from shrubs. You can simply pinch the dead flowers heads off with your fingers or if you use secateurs, cut back to the next leaf or bud down the stalk. Cut at a diagonal so moisture can run off

If not done in March, you can give the lawn a first mow but not too short initially. If your first cut is too short, you risk traumatising the grass and it may not grow back as strong. It’s also time to get started on any bigger garden projects ( patio, decking, raised beds, ponds). Not only is the weather hopefully a little better but the ground will be softer if your project involves digging. See our guides to planning a patio and planning decking for somes ideas.


May

Calendar in May

Grass will be growing quickly so regular mowing is essential to keep the lawn looking its best. Hedge trimming can start now but check for bird nests first and watch out for fledgling birds. May is also a good time to plant hanging baskets with bedding plants. For a step-by-step guide, see how to plant pots and hanging baskets.

Growing your own

Plant vegetable plants outside towards the end of the month unless still cold. Earth up potatoes and sow runner and French beans outside.


What to do in May
  • Plant summer bedding plants
  • Tie in climbers to keep in order
  • Protect tender plants from late frost
  • Lift and divide daffodils if too congested
  • Prune spring flowering shrubs when finished blooming such as forsythia and ribes

Hopefully, you will be well on the way or finished with any larger garden projects such as ponds, patios or decking. For help and advice, see our guides to planning a patio and planning decking. If you haven’t already, start feeding the lawn and apply lawn sand if moss is a problem.


June

Calendar in June

It’s a great time for getting out in the garden, thanks to warmer weather and plenty of plant growth. Unfortunately, that means weeds will be flourishing too so keep on top of them by hoeing or hand weeding regularly. Start preparing the ground for bedding plants and thin out plants you’ve already sown so they all have plenty of space to grow.

Growing your own

It’s harvest time for early fruits, lettuce, radish, other salads and early potatoes. Many vegetables can still be sown as seed.


What to do in June
  • Keep deadheading all your flowering plants – everything from containers, pots and hanging baskets to beds and borders. Feed them all occasionally with liquid feed
  • Repot any plants that are becoming root bound
  • Hoe borders and tackle bindweed as soon as you spot it (look for white, trumpet-shaped flowers) as it will quickly choke other plants
  • Surround strawberry plants with straw to keep the fruit off the soil and prevent botrytis (grey mould). If you spot it, remove all infected fruits. Remember not to put them on the compost as this will spread the problem
  • Protect fruit trees, currant bushes and gooseberries with netting or birds may eat your crop before you do
  • Greenhouses can get too hot so protect plants from scorching by painting relevant panes of glass with white emulsion to create shade. You can also damp down the floor of the greenhouse on hot days to increase humidity
  • Water hanging baskets and containers every day – twice if it’s hot and windy. Water other plants thoroughly once or twice a week. This is better than watering little and often as it encourages them to put down roots

If there’s an extended dry spell, take steps to save and reuse water. Use collected rainwater or recycled grey water whenever you can. If you haven’t got one already, a water butt is an ideal way to effectively collect and easily use rainwater.

Mow your lawn regularly

Mow your lawn regularly. When it’s especially dry and sunny, mow less frequently and let the grass grow longer as long grass copes better with drought than shorter grass. You can also minimise dehydration by mowing in the evening during hot weather.


July

Calendar in July

July can be one of the hottest months of the year so keep watering. Use collected rainwater from a water butt whenever you can and keep up your daily watering and regular feeding of greenhouse and other potted plants. You can put conservatory plants outside now too.

Growing your own

Keep all fruit well-watered. Mulch with organic matter (chopped leaves, compost or wood chippings) to reduce water loss and suppress weeds. Don’t forget to pick your soft fruit and protect it from birds with netting while it’s ripening. Now is also the time to pick courgettes before they become marrows.


What to do in July
  • Check clematis for signs of clematis wilt (rapid wilting of stems and black discolouration of leaves and stalks) and cut back affected stems
  • Keep an eye out for signs of whitefly (yellowing and disfigured leaves) and red spider mites (mottled, yellowing leaves with brown speckles) and use a biological control if necessary
  • Deadhead flowering plants (including aquatic ones) to ensure continuous flowering
  • Give your lawn a boost with a quick-acting summer feed, especially if it didn’t have a spring feed
  • Prune apple and pear trees
  • Put straw under strawberry plants to keep the fruit off the soil and to prevent botrytis (grey mould). If you spot it, remove all infected fruits. Remember not to put them on the compost as this will spread the problem
  • If you have a pond, keep it topped up with fresh water to avoid a build-up of algae that can be toxic for wildlife. Clean pumps and filters to remove any weeds and other debris
  • Take advantage of dry weather to give fences, sheds and other woodwork a coat of colour or preserver

Pests love warm weather so keep an eye out for caterpillars and aphids which can be dealt with by hand if you spot them early enough. Try to attract beneficial insects by growing a wide variety of plants.


August

Calendar in August

Keep watering but remember to be water wise too. If you’re planning on going away, consider investing in an automatic watering system. Keep on top of weeds in borders, the vegetable garden and all of your pots and containers.

Growing your own

Keep watering, weeding and picking. It’s your last chance to sow salads outside so don’t delay. Plant quick-maturing crops including lettuces, sorrel and rocket.


What to do in August
  • Feed soil with green manures
  • Prune wisteria and summer flowering shrubs
  • Keep deadheading
  • Collect seed from your favourite plants and take cuttings from houseplants Plant new strawberry plants. Cut the leaves of existing plants to within 3” of the crown and peg healthy-looking runners
  • Greenhouses can get too hot so protect plants from scorching by painting relevant panes of glass with white emulsion to create shade. You can also damp down the floor of the greenhouse on hot days to increase humidity
  • Clean out any empty water butts

Don’t forget to keep wildlife happy with a pond that’s topped up with fresh water and algae-free.


September

Calendar in September

It’s time to plan ahead. You can start planting spring flowering bulbs for next year and as your plants die back, you can collect their seeds and use them next summer. Cut the seed head from healthy plants when they are about to split and dry out in labelled paper bags.

Growing your own

Keep picking and digging. Make sure you get to your potatoes before the slugs do. Some plants can get through the winter outside so plant overwintering crops such as garlic and winter lettuces and quick crops like baby spinach. You can also plant new fruit trees once any really dry weather is over. Trees have less chance of survival if planted in the heat of the summer so the gap between dry weather and ground freezing is ideal.


What to do in September
  • Tidy borders and containers so they’re ready for spring flowering plants
  • You’re bound to have a lot of garden waste this month so get your compost going by buying a bin or creating an enclosed area for a heap. It’s important to replace the goodness in the soil and all the trimming and tidying will add organic richness to your soil next spring
  • Keep weeding. It’s possible to control weeds without resorting to chemical weed killers. If pulling up weeds becomes too much of a chore, install weed barriers, smother them with newspaper or douse deep rooted dandelions with vinegar
  • Clear garden debris and dispose of any diseased material. Burning is an option or you can bag small amounts and place in your rubbish
  • Plant container-grown shrubs, trees, fruit bushes, perennials and bulbs. Remember to water them well once planted to give them the best possible start

Don't forget to disinfect your gardening tools with a 10% bleach solution in water before rinsing and drying them.


October

Calendar in October

It’s a beautiful time of year, so enjoy the crisp autumn colours in the garden. Now’s the time to start preparing for early frosts and of course, keep raking those leaves.

Growing your own

Continue harvesting the rest of your summer crops. Sweetcorn, spring onions and all tomatoes can be picked now but may only last until the first frost. Don’t forget to order your seeds for next year. You can also pot mint, parsley and chives for the winter. Move these nearer the kitchen door if you can so you can easily take pinches during the cold months.


What to do in October
  • Cut back perennials that have died down. If the plant is healthy, the trimmings can be added to your compost. Move tender plants, including pond ones, into a greenhouse if you have one
  • Prune climbing roses as this will take out any dead or old wood and will encourage new flowering shoots to grow
  • Check chrysanthemums regularly for signs of white rust (pale yellow spots on the upper leaf). Remove affected leaves or use a fungicide if necessary. Remove the blooms as they die back
  • Dig your soil with compost, manure and plenty of organic matter. This exposes pest larvae and eggs to birds and frosts, gets rid of weeds and improves soil structure
  • Start your compost if you haven’t already. You can continue to add to it with kitchen scraps over the winter
  • Clean out your greenhouse so pests don’t hibernate there. Tidy up and wash pots and trays with mild soap. Clean the glass to make use of any sunshine during the winter months
  • Now’s the last chance to mow lawns and trim hedges in mild areas. Inspect for patches as you go as it’s a good time to lay turf. If you are planning an additional area of grass, you can turf this too

Keep weeding and tidying up borders but don’t be too thorough. Leave some seed heads for the birds and keep some areas of winter shelter for wildlife. A pile of leaves or debris is an attractive shelter for a hedgehog, so always check thoroughly if you intend to burn these.


November

Calendar in November

Ensure your garden birds are happy and well fed by keeping food and water supplies topped up as the temperatures drop. This is a good time to drain and disconnect any irrigation lines and any hoses you have stored so that any water in them doesn't expand and crack if it freezes.

Growing your own

Plant soft fruits and currants, garlic, shallots and early broad beans. Sow early peas and protect with netting from mice and birds. It’s also wise to protect your winter cabbages and Brussels sprouts with netting as birds will be looking for any available sources of food. Set up a bird feeding station to distract them. If you’ve grown parsnips, they’re best harvested after a frost.


What to do in November
  • Keep clearing fallen leaves, especially from lawns, ponds and beds. Gather the leaves in a small area contained by chicken wire. After the leaves break down, they provide a nutritious mulch to improve the quality of your soil
  • Plant out winter bedding to brighten up the wintry days with colourful pots and beds of violas, pansies, cyclamen and primroses. Create containers with spring bulbs under colourful winter flowers. Daffodils and tulips will push up through them in the spring
  • Protect any outdoor containers from frost by wrapping them in hessian or bubble wrap. Vulnerable plants like tree ferns and palms can be covered in horticultural fleece
  • Carry on digging any bare beds until the soil is too hard. This helps to restrain weed growth and expose soil pests. Use a small spade and work over one plot at a time – your back will thank you
  • Prune established apple and pear trees. Cut out any crossing or rubbing branches as open wounds encourage disease. Prune gooseberries so they will produce bigger and better juicy fruit next year

If you’re having a bonfire, a pile of debris is an attractive shelter for a hedgehog so always check thoroughly before burning.