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Gardening Tips and Advice

In the garden this month…

Need more help and advice? Visit our gardening experts at the garden centre in Berkshire.

Gardening tips for April

Blossom trees in springWith the evenings getting lighter earlier it’s time to spend longer outside and get the garden in shape ready for summer. Below are our top tips for gardeners for April.

1) FEED, FEED, FEED – Now the soil is warming up, trees, shrubs and perennials are starting to grow, so you need to boost them with granular fertiliser around the roots. It can be Organic or Inorganic but needs to have a good level of nitrogen to aid leaf production. Just a handful around the base lightly packed in and watered, should be fine. Remember to use Ericaceous food for Rhododendron’s, Camellia’s etc.
2) After your daffodils have flowered water or foliage feed every week as this is when they take food down to the bulb for next year’s flowers. This means at the end of the month you can cut, mow or strim down the foliage, which is a lot neater than letting it die down.
3) April is a great time to select and plant fruit trees and berry plants.
4) Apply spring type of lawn fertilizer to help perk up the lawn and improve its over-all color and appearance. If there is moss growing in the lawn, use spring lawn fertilizer that has the moss-killer included, so you can do both jobs in one easy application.
5) As mowing becomes necessary, be certain that the blade is sharp to prevent tearing the grass tips. Set the blade on your lawnmower to cut the grass at 2 1/2 inches to avoid scalping.
6) Sow runner beans indoors in rootrainers or hollow tubed pots to allow tap root developments. Sowing indoors avoids mouse damage and bad germination due to cold soil.
7) Plant annual seeds of asters, cosmos, marigolds, zinnias in the garden.
8) Check over your water system to see if there is any frost damage from the winter. Also flush through hose pipes to check for leaks and flush out insects and dirt that hide in the pipes and then block up your sprayers.
9) Clean patio and paths of algae and moss from the winter. Either use a pressure washer or a path and patio cleaner, most of which now just needs to be watered on. Examples are Brintons Patio Magic or Vitax Easy Clean – no scrubbing required!
10) If you have a pond or pool you should set aquatic plants any time after the middle of the month.

Need more help and advice? Visit our gardening experts at the garden centre in Berkshire.

Gardening tips for May

MaySummer is on its way. The herbaceous border is growing rapidly and the sowing and planting out of bedding can begin. Below are our top tips for gardeners for May, when the conditions can vary.

1) Rotate vegetable crops to help control pests, disease and keep the soil in good condition.
2) Now that bloom is past, prune all of your Spring-flowering trees and shrubs – this will force growth and ensure a good bloom next Spring.
3) To get the prefect lawn start mowing weekly.
4) Plant summer bedding unless you are in very cold areas.
5) There is still a chance of frost so keep tender plants warm.
6) Get hedges into shape with a trim.
7) Keep one step ahead of weeds and hoe weekly. The ground is still soft enough to make weed-pulling easy – keep it up and you will have fewer going to seed.
8) Spread compost over the borders, this adds valuable nutrients to the soil and acts as a mulch, to retain moisture and reduce weed growth. Ensure that the soil is moist before adding mulch.
9) Spray roses to kill aphids and protect from blackspot.

Need more help and advice? Our team at the garden centre are always happy to help with any questions.

Gardening tips for June

Strawberry plantsThis is the month when you should actually start to see the English summer! Below are our top tips for gardeners for June:

1) Continue to spray roses against pests and diseases where necessary.
2) You can now start mowing the lawn with the blades set low, unless the weather is very dry – in such conditions a medium setting will be better for the grass.
3) Care for your lawn with a special lawn fertiliser to encourage healthy green growth and apply specific lawn weed killer to tackle weed problems. (read our blog on lawn care).
4) Plant up containers and hanging baskets and move them outside to their final position.
5) Stake tall or floppy plants which are now growing vigorously to prevent damage from the wind
6) Now is the perfect time to plant strawberries, raspberries, blueberries and blackberries.
7) Continue to remove weeds from your garden to help conserve moisture, nutrients in the soil and help prevent the spread of disease and insects.
8) Remove old flower heads from annual bedding plants to keep them blooming.
9) Tend to your vegetable plants: pinch out sideshoots on tomatoes, harvest lettuce, radish, other salads and early potatoes.
10) Slugs are rampant at this time of year. Prevent slugs attacking your young plants by using slug control products. Read our blog on how to deal with slugs and snails.

Need more help and advice? Visit our gardening experts at the garden centre in Berkshire.

Gardening tips for July

JulyIt is full-on English summer time! (However conditions may still vary!) Below are our top tips for gardeners for July

1. Keep your containers and hanging baskets looking beautiful Cut back growth to encourage new flowers and foliage. Make sure you feed your baskets well after doing this and give them a good soak at least once a day in sunny weather.
2. Fertilize fruits and vegetables as needed with a good quality, slow-release vegetable food.
3. Stake tomato plants.
4. If needed, apply a weed control to the lawn to kill actively growing weeds.
5. Check all plants, especially newly planted ones, for water on a regular basis. Water deeply and thoroughly as needed.
6. Deadhead bedding plants, repeat-flowering perennials and roses, to ensure continuous flowering and to keep them looking tidy.
7. Feed all vegetable plants with a general purpose fertiliser. 8. Greenhouses can get incredibly hot on sunny days. Open doors and windows to allow cooler air to circulate.
9. Keep an eye out for signs of lily beetle, vine weevil, Solomon’s seal sawfly and other problem pests.
10. Spend some ‘me time’! After all your hard work, sit back, enjoy the sunshine and laze in your garden.

Need more help and advice? Visit our gardening experts at the garden centre in Berkshire

Gardening tips for August

We are now in the full swing of the British Summer and borders may be past looking their best. Continued effort is needed! Below are our top tips for gardeners for August.

1. Continue to remove any deadheads from plants regularly so they don’t waste energy setting seed, and to keep plants looking tidy.
2. Remove any weeds from your flowerbeds and lawns.
3. Regularly water your containers and new plants. Use recycled water or stored rainwater when possible. (Need a rain butt? Visit our store for a great range of water butts).
4. Summer prune wisteria, shortening all long wispy sideshoots back to about 20cm.
5. Collect seeds from any of your favourite plants and take cuttings of your favourite perennials to propagate them for next year.
6. Remove any rose leaves with blackspot.
7. Prepare any soil on which you plan to sow grass seed or lay turf.
8. Pop into Henry Street and pick up your autumn bulbs.
9. Harvest vegetables and fruit (freeze them if you have too many).
10. STOP feeding your lawn with high-nitrogen fertilisers now as this will encourage lots of lush new growth which is easily damaged by autumn weather and early frosts.

Need more help and advice? Visit our gardening experts at the garden centre in Berkshire.

Gardening tips for September

SeptemberThe nights are drawing in and while the soil will now be nicely warmed, your garden needs to prepare for winter. Below are our top tips for gardeners for September.

1) Now is the time to clear annual bedding plants and refresh your soil with compost. You are then ready to plant Primula’s, Polyanthus, Winter Pansies and Wallflowers (bare root and potted.)

2) Work on your lawn after the wear and tear of the summer.

a) Scarify out dead grass and aerate.
b) Fill in holes and level out by brushing in Lawn Dressing/Soil into the grass sward.
c) Put down a fertiliser (either an Autumn Food or Growmore).
d) Put down fresh seed into the existing sward.

Every year a percentage of grass dies off, so the new feed will help to fill in over winter and then give you a good sward to feed in the spring. Water seed well until it germinates.
3) Create a new lawn from turf or seed – autumn weather is favourable for good lawn establishment.
4) Plant spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils, crocus and hyacinths.
5) Plant indoor hyacinths that you want to come into flower for Christmas. The hyacinths must be prepared, which is done by the grower, to trick the bulb into thinking that winter has been. The later you plant them, the more the preparing wears off, so they should be planted by the end of September. Plant in bowls or pots in bulb fibre and place the bowl in a cold dark place. If it is not cold enough they will not produce flowers properly. Take out 3 – 4 weeks before you want them to flower.
6) Start making up your Winter Hanging Baskets. This will enable your plants to make the use of the remaining daylight hours and get well established. We recommend using separate Hanging Baskets for Summer and Winter as this will enable you to start your Winter Hanging Baskets while the Summer Hanging Baskets are still looking glorious and then during March and April next year you can start your Summer Hanging Baskets so that they will be well established by May when they will need to replace the Winter Hanging Baskets.
7) Prepare soil to plant evergreen shrubs and conifers by digging it over and incorporating lots of organic matter.
8) Rake autumn leaves from lawns and pick them out of borders.
9) Create compost bins in preparation for all the fallen leaves and dead plant material which you’ll be collecting over the next few months as your plants die off for the winter.
10) Start the autumn cleanup in the vegetable plot by removing any old crops that have finished and clear away weeds to leave your plot clean and tidy for the winter.

Need more help and advice? Visit our gardening experts at the garden centre in Berkshire.

Gardening tips for October

Pumpkins in the gardenOctober is here and the temperature will start dropping as the month goes on. Below are some tips for gardeners for October on how to help your garden through the autumn and winter.

1) Use your autumn leaves in your compost.
2) Cut, rake, aerate and fertilize your lawn ready for next year.
3) Protect sensitive plants from frost at night.
4) Plant out any perennials or biennials you’ve grown from seed this year.
5) Start to plant tulips in pots and borders.
6) Move trees and shrubs that need relocating and plant hedges.
7) Tidy up borders for winter and then mulch with bark chips, well rotted manure or leaf mould to insulate plant roots for the winter.
8) Clean out your bird boxes.
9) Order your fruit trees from Henry Street Garden Centre for planting in early spring. Call on 0118 976 1223.

Need more help and advice? Visit our gardening experts at the garden centre in Berkshire.

Gardening tips for November

Autumn lawn careAs the rain, wind (and sometimes snow) take a hold it’s time to take care of the garden in advance of next year’s growing season. Below are our top tips for gardeners for November.

1) There’s still time to plant daffodil bulbs and other spring flowering bulbs.
2) Plant winter bedding.
3) Start to plant bare-root roses – any time between now and March.
4) Cut the lawn for the final time this year and rake away any moss.
5) Move tender plants into the greenhouse, or into a sheltered spot. If they can’t be moved wrap them with protective materials.
6) Raise potted plants off the ground to prevent them becoming waterlogged.
7) Make sure the shed roof is not leaking water.
8) Turn off outside water taps at the mains and run them dry so they don’t freeze over the winter.
9) Start filling up the bird feeders with seeds and suet pellets.
10) Check stakes and ties are secure on vulnerable trees and climbers.

Need more help and advice? Visit our gardening experts at the garden centre in Berkshire.

Gardening tips for December

Robin in the garden in winterThankfully, there’s not a lot to be done in the garden now. Most of it is just about keeping a watchful eye. Below are our top tips for gardeners for December.

1) Prune fruit trees.
2) Keep the bird feeders full with seeds and suet pellets.
3) Supply birds and wildlife with water if there’s a big freeze.
4) Protect plants from frost.
5) Make sure you have planted all your spring bulbs.
6) Dig over flower beds with organic matter.
7) Service your lawn mower and garden tools ready for next year.
8) Make a list of tools and equipment that you need for next year and add them to your Christmas list!

Need more help and advice? Visit our gardening experts at the garden centre in Berkshire.

Gardening tips for January

January gardenBelow are our top tips for gardeners for January when outdoor weather conditions are likely to be at their coldest.

1) Prune apple trees and thin out the fruiting spurs
2) Plan where next year’s vegetable crop rotation is going to be
3) Order any seeds from a reputable supplier
4) Clean staging and fumigate the greenhouse
5) Tie up raspberry canes and check for loose ties on trees and wall trained fruit
6) Check stakes, ties, fleeces and other supports for damage
7) Spread a thick mulch of bark over the crown of tender plants
8) Continue to collect fallen leaves and to add them to the compost heap
9) Avoid walking on your lawn when it is waterlogged or covered by heavy frost or snow, as this will damage the grass beneath
10) Don’t forget to keep feeding the birds

Need more help and advice? Visit our gardening experts at the garden centre in Berkshire.

Gardening tips for February

SnowdropsThe garden starts to stir and bulbs begin to appear. Spring is on its way. Below are our top tips for gardeners for February.

1) Rhubarb, horseradish, asparagus and artichokes can be planted this month.
2) The vegetable garden should get its first tilling (if weather permits) to allow the weather to aid you in breaking up the dirt clods. Exposed weeds and seeds hopefully will perish.
3) Cover sections with cloches to warm the soil for early sowing.
4) Plant daylilies, bleeding hearts, and plantain lilies this month.
5) Trim back any branches that were damaged by the ravages of winter.
6) Turn the compost pile.
7) Prune shrubs before their growth begins.
8) Transplant shrubs growing in the wrong place while they’re still dormant.
9) Start sowing vegetable seeds such as leeks, onions and celeriac under cover.

Need more help and advice? Visit our gardening experts at the garden centre in Berkshire.

Gardening tips for March

Daffodils in the gardenSpring arrives and it’s time to get busy tidying and preparing the garden. Below are our top tips for gardeners for March.

1) Prepare the vegetable garden soil for planting. The addition of well-rotted manure, processed manure,peat moss or compost are good additives for building compost humus in the soil.
2) Plant summer flowering bulbs.
3) Plant herbaceous perennials or lift and divide existing established perennial plants to create new plants.
4) Prune roses to encourage strong new growth and feed with fertiliser as they start to grow.
5) Finish pruning fruit trees this month – before the buds swell.
6) Remove all dead blooms from bulbs.
7) Plant Strawberries, Blueberries, Currants, Loganberries, Boysenberries, Grapes, and fruit trees.
8) Weeds will start to return – deal with them before they get out of control.
9) Mow the lawn for the first time if required.
10) Clean out all of your birdhouses now, so that they will be ready when the birds return.

Need more help and advice? Visit our gardening experts at the garden centre in Berkshire.