Prepare the garden for the coming season by sowing seeds, tidying and pruning – but watch you don’t cut off emerging flower buds on perennials or shrubs that will flower in spring and early summer.
1 Deadhead daffodils. Snap or cut off the faded flower and seedpod to keep the display from looking jaded. Don’t cut back the foliage – let it die back naturally so the leaves can keep photosynthesising. This way they can convert solar energy into complex sugars that will nourish the bulb for next year.
2 Prune roses. This will encourage strong new growth. Use sharp secateurs to cut out any dead, diseased, crossing or damaged stems and cut just above an outward facing bud, so new growth will grow away from the centre of the plant. Cut back shrub roses to about 30cm (12in) to rejuvenate them.
3 Move deciduous trees or shrubs. Now the soil is warming up it’s safe to move dormant plants to a new home if need be. Make generous planting holes and add plenty of nutritious organic matter before filling in. Tread down the soil well to ensure good contact and water well. Don’t move plants if the ground is waterlogged or frozen.
4 Start chitting potatoes if you haven’t already. Place seed potatoes on a bright and airy, frost free windowsill so they start to produce shoots. Position them in an empty eggbox if possible, rose end uppermost (the end with most eyes). In 6-8 weeks the potatoes will have started sprouting and it’ll safe to sow them outside.
5 Tidy lawn edges by re-cutting them with a half-moon edger. Mow if your grass is looking shaggy but choose a dry day and keep the blades on a high setting.
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