This month’s jobs from Sherborne’s expert gardener Pete Harcom
Winter pruning can be done now on your climbing roses, apple and pear trees. Also magnolias, cotinus, berberis and flowering currants can all be pruned now.
Try not to cut too far away from – or too close to – a bud, and always make the cut slope away from the bud.
Sow your antirrhinum, sweet peas, lobelia, begonia semperflorens, geraniums (pelargoniums) now,
in gentle heat in the greenhouse or simply on an indoors windowsill – in a propagator if possible.
If the soil is not too wet or frozen, now’s the time to plant bare root roses, shrubs, hedging and ornamental trees. Bare rooted plants are far less expensive than container grown plants and can establish swiftly. Many deciduous and evergreen shrubs, trees and hedging plants can be planted bare rooted as they are dormant between November and March. After this time of dormancy, the roots will then establish themselves quickly as the soil warms up in the spring.
Check that small alpines in the garden don’t become smothered by fallen leaves and other wind-blown debris.
Check for rot on stored bulbs and tubers, and ensure dahlia and canna tubers haven’t totally dried out.
Clear away soggy and collapsed stems of perennials and compost them.
Remove and bin hellebore foliage marked with black blotches, to limit the spread of leaf spot disease – do not compost these leaves.
Deadhead winter pansies and other bedding regularly, and remove any foliage affected by downy mildew.
Take hardwood cuttings from deciduous shrubs, such as forsythia, willow and viburnum.
Take root cuttings of fleshy-rooted perennials such as oriental poppies, acanthus and verbascum. Order seeds and plug plants
An idea worth trying might be to press mistletoe berries into the bark of apple trees to establish your own mistletoe plants!
Now’s an excellent time to plan and replant herbaceous borders. You don’t need to be an experienced gardener; ideas can be drawn from the web such as www.rhs.org.uk. There are many websites that will help with your design ideas.
by Pete Harcom – Head Gardener at Sherton Abbas Gardening
Sponsored By Thorngrove Garden Centre