Johnsons Gardening Reminders

Not sure what to do in the garden this month? Here are our garden reminders for the year put together by our chairman and horticulturalist John Richardson.



1) Clean rainwater gutters from all buildings to prevent spring overflows.

2) In freezing conditions ensure the ice on the pond is broken to allow the escape of toxic gases and oxygen exchange. Do not hammer the ice as it may stun the fish.

3) Service the lawnmower, the grass will be growing again very soon!

4) If there is heavy snowfall, brush snow off conifers and heathers to prevent damage.

5) Turn compost heaps top to bottom and sides to the middle for even degrading.


1) Repair broken spouts, fences, trellises, steps, and walls. Clean out & sterilise bird boxes.

2) Divide and replant snowdrops as the flowers go over.

3) Prune climbing roses, keep 5-7 strong shoots and cut others back to within 3 buds of the base.

4) Prune shrub roses late Feb. to encourage growth from the base. Remove some old shoots.

5) Complete formative pruning of trees and shrubs, remove leader if a bush form is required.


1) Dig potato trenches incorporating well-rotted manure into the trench base.

2) Prune decorative Cornus and Salix to within 5cm of old shoots. Prune ‘Midwinter Fire’ lightly.

3) Finish pruning soft fruit bushes by mid-March and give a high nitrogen feed.

4) New shrubs and herbaceous plants can be planted when the conditions are good.

5) Feed roses with a general fertiliser and do it again in the summer.


1) Prune early flowering shrubs such as Forsythia and Hamamelis as soon as flowering is over.

2) Continue to divide herbaceous plants if necessary.

3) Rake lawns to remove worm casts, twigs and old grass.

4) Trim lavenders to shape, but don’t cut into the previous seasons wood.

5) Be sure to ventilate greenhouses and cold frames on warmer days.


1) Water any newly planted trees & shrubs and give a general feed and a mulch to preserve water.

2) Clip established privet, ivy, lonicera varieties etc. also clip topiary to maintain a tidy appearance.

3) Keep weeds down by frequent hoeing, a 10cm much, or chemical sprays against perennial weeds.

4) Watch out for the vivid red lily beetles from mid-May onwards, catch them and squash them!

5) Set lawn mower blades to their final height for summer. Apply a high nitrogen fertiliser to the lawn.


1) Continue to stake and tie those tall plants which are still growing.

2) Deadhead roses after they have gone over, cut back to a leaf axil to promote new flower growth.

3) Keep cutting sweet peas to ensure repeat flowering. Kill greenfly as you do it!

4) Water containers whenever compost feels dry, add a liquid feed if no long release feed was added.

5) Trim back the growth of Erica carnea varieties and top-dress with peat.


1) When weather is very dry, give newly planted trees a good soaking, better than little & often.

2) Clip large-leafed evergreen hedges this month using secateurs. Ensure there are no nesting birds.

3) Check the moisture level of hanging baskets every morning. Water thoroughly if dry & feed weekly.

4) Keep hydrangeas well-watered, they are quick to show the wilting signs of water shortage.

5) Prune pyracanthas by cutting side-shoots to 2-3 leaves from their base for a good show of berries.


1) Complete lifting of last season’s bulbs and dry them off in woven sacks for maximum ventilation.

2) Clean up and dispose of early fallen fruit such as apples, to prevent disease spread.

3) Cut back long whippy growths of Wisteria to within three buds of the old wood for maximum flowers.

4) Towards the end of the month cut back fruited canes of Raspberries etc., and tie in young shoots.

5) Keep hardy & half hardy annuals well- watered and weed-free. Try not to walk on the growing beds.


1) Dig over the borders as bedding plants are removed later this month if you have heavy soil.

2) On a beautiful evening walk around the garden and make notes of all the things to improve for next year.

3) As lawn mowing diminishes, remove the old ‘thatch’ with a spring tine rake. Aerate with the prongs
of a garden fork or hire a suitable machine.

4) A good time to sort out and place your order for bulbs, plant tulip in November to reduce disease.

5) Crocosmias form large mounds of corms, divide them with two forks or a hosepipe, clean and replant.


1) Lift Dahlias and other tender perennials when temperatures fall sharply. Store in a frost-free place.

2) Collect seed of plants you wish to increase. Store dry seed in paper envelopes in the fridge bottom.

3) Collect leaves as they fall around the garden and store in a wire mesh bin for next years’ compost.

4) Lift, divide, and replant rhubarb crowns which have been in the ground for at least five years.

5) An excellent month to lay turf on prepared, firm, weed-free and raked ground.


1) Be sure to check for hibernating animals (particularly hedgehogs) before lighting the bonfire.

2) Collect all stakes used for support around the garden, clean off, and store indoors over winter.

3) Plant winter bedding such as wallflowers, pansies, primroses etc. when conditions are good.

4) Start Amaryllis (Hippeastrum) bulbs urgently if required to flower by Christmas.

5) Place grease-bands on the trunks of fruit trees to catch female winter moths as they climb the tree.


1) To prevent flooding, ensure that rainwater drains on the property are not choked with leaves.

2) Make sure that all outside water taps and pipes are turned off and lagged against winter cold spells.

3) Prune Acers and Betula sp. before mid-December to prevent wounds from bleeding.

4) Do not prune Hamamelis, Chimonanthus and Forsythia until after flowering.

5) Thoroughly clean and oil all garden tools, mowers, hedge trimmers, etc., & sharpen all cutting blades.