July

In July, a lot of people spend more time outdoors than inside. It is the perfect time to fully enjoy that beautiful summer’s garden.

General

  • Water plants in the morning. In the evening they stay wet, which could attract mould.
  • Check plants for aphids (especially the succulent young shoots).
  • You can still plant hedging plants, container trees and container grown garden plants in your garden, even when they are in full bloom or showing lots of new green foliage. It is easier to see what you are buying now, when they are in full bloom than in winter.
  • Fertilise your roses and deadhead any faded flowers. Check for aphid infestations and treat preventively against mould.
  • Water potted plants daily.
  • Spray your lawn during dry spells.
  • Get rid of aphids if necessary.
  • Remove all weeds.
  • Deadhead faded flowers.
  • Biennial plants can be sown this month. Sow them in a separate bed and you can move the young plants to their final position in September.
  • Fertilise the garden now if you haven’t done so already.
  • If you like making flower arrangements, keep cut flowers short and use floral foam for a low, compact design. This restricts water loss and the arrangement will keep longer.

Pond

  • Remove leaves or debris from the pond regularly. Make sure to keep the air pump going constantly to aerate the water on hot days. A high oxygen content is important for your fish.
  • Make sure to keep the water lilies’ floating leaves out of the turbulence of your fountain spray. Water splashing on top of the leaves will discolour or destroy them.
  • Regularly remove excess filamentous algae and duckweed from the pond before they become invasive.

Annuals

  • Cut away faded flower stalks. A new flower will often develop and the plant will bloom longer and more beautifully. Annuals are an easy way to introduce some extra colour to your garden really quickly.
  • On hot summer days, water your hanging baskets in the morning and in the evening.
  • Give flowering plants some plant food every week.

Lawn

  • As far as the lawn is concerned, you can pick up where you left off in June. Mow your lawn regularly, as the grass really shoots up in July. Pay attention to the right height setting: 3 cm for an ornamental lawn and 4 cm for a heavily used family lawn.
  • Sprinkle the garden sufficiently during dry spells – preferably in the evenings – so the water evaporates more slowly and is better absorbed by the roots.
  • Mow the lawn once or twice a week, depending on its growth. Mow less frequently and set the cutting height higher during dry spells.
  • On hot sunny days, it is best to wait until evening to mow the lawn to stop it from getting too dry due to excessive evaporation. The moisture from fresh cuts will evaporate much faster.
  • If it is going to rain, scatter some fertiliser over the lawn. Repeat this every 5 to 6 weeks until the autumn to keep your lawn healthy. Applying fertiliser during dry hot spells may burn your lawn.

Perennials

  • Many perennials, such as hardy geraniums and lady’s mantles, can be cut back significantly after flowering. They will sprout again and bloom a second time.
  • Tie in the long shoots and tendrils of climbers well on time to offer support and guidance.
  • Put some plants with fragrant flowers in the garden if there is still room.
  • Check for aphid infestations and treat preventively against mould.
  • In July you should deadhead any spent flowers and give your roses some special rose fertiliser.
  • Remove spent flowers to improve flowering. If you want your roses continue to bloom into the autumn, you need to do more than just remove the old flowers. Trim to a lower bud located in the leaf axil.
  • Remember to fertilise your borders. Your plants could use some additional feed at this stage.

Pruning tips

  • Thin your fruit trees here and there to allow light into the canopy and on to the fruit.
  • Use sharp, quality tools to prune your trees.
  • Always disinfect your tools after working on diseased or sick looking plants. You can do this with a cloth soaked in some methylated spirit or naphtha.
  • Keep your twine tangle free by putting some twine in a flowerpot and guiding the end through the hole in the bottom.
  • When pruning a tree, take a step back every now and then to see how much you have cut back and whether the shape of the tree is balanced.
  • The best time for summer pruning is July. If there is strong regrowth but little fruit, you can have a second pruning session in mid-August. Make sure to cut back cherry, plum, apricot and peach trees before the end of August. After that, the trees will be at risk of silver leaf.
  • Discard branches affected by mould or disease immediately after pruning to prevent new infections. It is fine to leave any other branches.
  • There is no need to treat pruning wounds. In summer, the cuts tend to dry out in 20 minutes.
  • All hedges should be pruned.
  • Lavender can be pruned above the foliage after flowering.
  • You can give your roses some extra nutrition after pruning.
  • A privet hedge can also use some more pruning in July. Cut back the privet short and tight to maintain a beautiful shape. Pruning forces the hedge to branch out again. The more often you cut a hedge, the bushier it gets and the more private your garden becomes.

Vegetables and herbs

  • You can plant broccoli until early August. Broccoli does especially well in light soil.
  • Radish can be sown until September and can be harvested after four weeks. The less water the radish gets, the sharper it tastes.
  • Cutting (harvesting) your herbs regularly will cause them to develop fresh new shoots all the time. Young shoots tend to have the best taste.
  • Plants that have lost their base foliage over the years will benefit from some hard pruning. Most herbs will then reshoot quickly and vigorously.
  • Some woody herbs like rosemary, thyme and sage retain their flavour after drying. Cut the stems and hang them to dry in an airy place. Soft herbs like parsley and chives can be chopped finely with herb scissors (manufactured by Esschert, for example) and frozen in ice cubes. You can then simply add the ice cubes to any meal you are cooking. You can also take summer cuttings from various herbs in July. Lemon verbena, sage, thyme, etc. can all be grown from cuttings. Take cuttings of about 7 cm and place them in some soil mix for propagation. After a month, the cuttings will have developed roots and can be transplanted to containers.

August

Of course there is far more to do in the garden than just pick fruit and harvest vegetables. August is the month when the harvest comes in.

General

  • Remove all weeds regularly. Do not forget your paths and patios.
  • Pumpkins will continue to grow a while longer. Water them regularly and remove any leaves that shield the pumpkins from the sunlight.
  • If a plant has run its course and you want to keep things nice and tidy in the garden, you can cut or trim the stems. Remember to shake the seed out of your favourite varieties to give them plenty of opportunity to multiply.
  • If you want to tidy up your garden broad beans, peas and legumes, it is best to cut them rather than pull them out. The root nodules have stored nitrogen, which fertilises the soil.
  • Cut out faded flowers each week to promote flowering.
  • Get rid of aphids.
  • Regular watering or sprinkling is very important for exuberant growth and flowering during hot periods without much rainfall. Never allow the soil to get bone-dry.
  • Water droplets act as a magnifying glass and will burn your lawn and especially flowers and leaves. On a hot afternoon, most of the water will also evaporate right away, so there are plenty of reasons not to water your garden in the midday sun. Early morning or late afternoon are best.
  • Watering your garden in the morning limits the risk of fungal diseases such as powdery mildew and Clematis wilt.
  • It is better to sprinkle your garden for a long time about twice a week, than to sprinkle it for just a few minutes every day. Brief and therefore superficial sprinkling hardly penetrates the soil and often fails to reach the roots.
  • Always water your plants in the early morning or evening. The water will evaporate immediately during the day.
  • Hydrangeas are excellent flowers to dry. Dry the mature flowers upside down or put the stem in about a centimetre of water and wait until the flower has dried.

Creepers

  • Continue to water your creepers once or twice a day. Even when it rains, watering may still be necessary. Fertilise the plants again in early August. After that you can reduce your plant food in preparation of winter.
  • Bear in mind that some late flowering tender perennials such as Tibouchina do still require regular fertilisation.

Perennials

  • Remove faded lavender and rose flowers.
  • Remember to tie in dahlias and cannas that are skyrocketing rapidly. Adjustable plant cages are very convenient to keep the plants upright in the wind or after a rain shower.
  • Water the flowerbeds and lawn during dry spells.
  • Cut off any spent flowers from perennials as soon as possible to increase the chance of a second flowering.
  • Deadhead any spent roses. This tricks the rose bush into focusing on budding and flowering new roses, rather than spending energy on dying roses or producing seed in hips. Treat your rose bush to some rose fertiliser to allow it to regain its strength quickly. Only when the last flowers are spent, can you cut the rose back to the first mature 5-leaf cluster.
  • If certain flowering plants turn out to have a different colour than you had hoped for and you want to transplant them in the autumn, tie a piece of twine in the colour of the flowers to the stem. Once the plant has stopped flowering, you will no longer be able to see the colour of its flowers. The coloured twine is an easy way to create new compositions.
  • Apply a layer of mulch around the base of rhododendrons and azaleas. They have shallow roots and can dry out quickly.

Pond

  • Thin out any pond plants if necessary.
  • Flowing water in your garden can mask the sound of traffic. Build a pond with a fountain or create a running water feature.

Pruning

  • Prune conifers and pine trees.
  • All hedges can be cut back now.
  • Use sharp, quality tools to prune trees.
  • Lavender, thyme, hyssop and other shrubby herbs should be pruned lightly after flowering to make sure they retain their attractive, bushy shape.
  • Cut back any low-hanging branches of walnut trees.
  • Prune your lavender, because old lavender wood tends to stop producing new shoots. When the plants have become very messy, it is best to take cuttings or discard them and buy new ones. So snip back those old flower spikes with some pruning shears. You should cut them off at about 3 cm from the leaf growth at the tip of the shoot. This will encourage the flowering of side shoots and keep the plant bushy and compact.
  • After harvesting your berries and blackberries, you can cut back the bushes.
  • Boxwood is often affected by the boxwood mite. This mite makes the tip of new leaves curl up. Prune the new tips, collect the clippings and discard them in the garden waste bin.
  • For some shrubs and trees, it is a good idea to get (some of) your pruning done now already. In August the wounds still heal easily, which is favourable for the coming winter. The cuts are less likely to become infected with fungi now as well.
  • Conifer hedges also need some more pruning now. Neatly cut back the foliage without going all the way down to the old wood.

Lawn

  • Scarify the lawn and over seed if necessary.
  • Fertilise any dry patches on the lawn with synthetic fertiliser.
  • During dry spells, sprinkle your lawn for a few hours once a week, but not in the full glare of the sun.
  • Mow and edge your lawn.
  • Because regular mowing is important, it is a good idea to adjust the cutting height of your lawnmower. In dry and hot weather, a higher mowing height is advisable.
  • Yew hedges can now be pruned back again. Yew can be cut back to the old wood if necessary. It will always sprout again.

Scented garden

  • When laying out a scented garden, you should bear in mind that the wind may carry away the scents. Scents have the greatest impact in gardens that are sheltered by hedges or fences.
  • Remember that some plants are only fragrant at a specific time of day. Honeysuckle only produces its wonderful fragrance in the evening. Honeysuckle will spread a much stronger scent if it is planted along a wall, as the plant needs heat to release its fragrance. The wall will absorb the heat of the sun during the day and retain it during the evening.
  • You can keep annoying flies away from your home by putting some elder leaves here and there.
  • Not only flowers can have delicious scents. You can also enjoy the fragrance of plants with aromatic leaves such as geraniums and kitchen herbs. You can create a lovely scented garden path by planting creeping thyme between the paving stones.

September

September marks the transition from summer into autumn. It is a month when lovely sunny days alternate with rainy autumn days.

General

  • Weed the garden.
  • Tie in high plants to protect them against the autumn wind and rain.
  • Add some winter and spring bloomers to your border.
  • Some hardy annuals, such as marigold, cornflower, meadowfoam and Californian poppy, can be sown now already.
  • Continue to remove spent flowers from the bedding plants. Keep on feeding the plants to enjoy their flowers until the frost comes.
  • Move containers with frost-sensitive plants indoors. It is best to place fuchsias and pelargoniums in a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory.
  • It is best to remove frost-sensitive plants (Paris daisies, gazanias, lantanas, daisy bushes and arctotis) from the open ground and to transplant them into containers before the frost comes.

Lawn

  • September is the perfect month to look after your grass. It is the ideal time for laying or rejuvenating your lawn.
  • Do not leave any grass clippings on the lawn in September. The higher humidity may cause the wet grass clippings to rot and attract mould to your lawn. You can put the clippings between the shrubs as a mulch layer.
  • You can lay a new lawn or over seed bare patches until October.
  • You can now adjust your lawn mower to a higher setting.
  • If you still want to fertilise your lawn, use a special autumn fertiliser that is rich in potassium. This will strengthen your lawn before the coming winter.
  • The autumn fertiliser can be applied from mid-September.
  • Aerate your lawn with a pitchfork or a spike aerator.

Pruning

  • Hedges like yew can still be pruned a second time in September. It is important to keep the hedge slightly wider at the base than at the top. The hedge should not be cut too close to the wood now.
  • Boxwood can be pruned until early October. The later it is pruned, the less it will sprout.
  • Lavender should be pruned in September after flowering.
  • September is the last month to prune conifers.
  • Summer-blooming heather can be pruned back now.

Bulbs and tubers

  • Spring-flowering bulbs become available around this time (usually around 10 September). Of course you can plant them in the open ground in the garden, but you can also put them in pots and planters.
  • Plants that bloom in the spring, such as snowdrops and crocuses, should be planted as soon as they are bought. Otherwise the bulbs could dry out.
  • It is important to plant the bulbs at the correct depth. The planning depth is different for each bulb variety.
  • Do not plant any tulips just now. They are best kept until November.
  • Naturalise your bulbs by planting them in open grass to create a beautiful drift of flowers in the spring. All bulbs, except the small ones, can be planted in grass.
  • Spent summer bulbs and tubers should be lifted from the soil now.
  • It is best to dig up your gladiolus corms now before the frost comes.

Perennials

  • High flowering perennials must be well tied in to withstand the autumn wind and rain.
  • Evergreen plants such as boxwood, yew, osmanthus and privet are best planted or transplanted now. Conifers are best transplanted when they are dormant, which is from mid-September to late May. Always transplant your perennials in wet weather without any frost.
  • Now is the time to plant container-grown climbers. The soil is ideal for their further growth in early autumn.

Pond

  • Some trees and plants have already started to lose their leaves this month. It is best to remove the fallen leaves to stop them from sinking to the bottom and starting to rot there. You can also prevent this by setting up a cover net over the pond.
  • September is the perfect month for removing excess growth from your pond. Make it easy on yourself and use special aquatic plant trimmers to do this job. Low bulbous plants can also brighten up your pond.

October

The mornings and evenings are getting cooler and the leaves are slowly starting to change colour.

General

  • Cut back spent flowers and excess foliage and add them to the compost heap.
  • Fertilise winter bloomers.
  • Potted annuals are now well past their prime and can be cleared out and possibly filled with bulbs or winter garden plants such as heather, skimmia or fetterbushes.
  • You don’t really need to remove fallen leaves from under shrubs and places where they do no harm. They enrich and add nutrients to the soil and attract earthworms.
  • Balcony boxes, pots and containers can be filled with winter flowering plants such as skimmia, ivy, heather and viburnum.
  • Clean the pond and remove leaves from the pond regularly.
  • Remove any wilted summer plants and prune spent flowers.
  • Move tender perennials indoors and fertilise your winter bloomers.
  • Remove old nests from birdhouses and clean them out.

Perennials

  • If you still have some empty spaces in the border, you can fill them with flowering perennials and perennials that will still bloom this year, such as aster, Gaura, stonecrops (Sedum), Japanese anemone and monkshood (Aconitum).
  • High blooming perennials should be well tied in to withstand the autumn wind and rain.
  • As the soil is still warm in October, you can plant certain trees species, provided that they are container bought. Trees from the open ground should be planted in spring when they are bare.
  • Particularly conifers are best transplanted now already. They root best when the soil is still warm.
  • To make sure your garden stays green throughout the winter, you can fill some frost-proof containers with hardy plants now. The containers should always have holes in the bottom to allow excess water to drain away.
  • Shrubs, roses and trees should be planted or transplanted now.
  • Bare-root plants for hedges and so on should only be bought and transplanted when the leaves have fallen off.

Flower bulbs

  • Bulbs can still be planted. Put them together in groups for a beautiful effect.
  • Plant spring flowering bulbs such as tulips and daffodils now.
  • Lift any faded summer bulbs and tubers from the soil and store them in a cool, dry place.
  • Root tubers such as the dahlia are best stored in sawdust or dry peat moss and should be checked every now and then to avoid rotting.

Fruit and vegetables

  • Fruit: remove the fallen leaves and remaining fruit. Work the soil and fertilise with organic feed.
  • Walnut trees should only ever be pruned in October.
  • Some fruit trees can already be planted now. Even in a small garden, fruit trees espaliered along a garden wall or fence are stunning and take up little space.
  • You can still sow spinach, corn salad and winter purslane outside.
  • You can dig up chives, parsley and other frost-sensitive herbs and transfer them into pots in the kitchen to have delicious fresh herbs at your fingertips all winter.

Lawn

  • Do not leave any grass clippings on the lawn in October. The increased humidity may result in a wet, rotting mush that causes lawn fungus. It is much better to use your grass clippings as mulch between your shrubs.

Pruning

  • In October, you can prune hedges such as yew, hornbeam and Leyland cypress a second time. Pay attention to the shape: the hedge’s base should always be slightly wider than the top. Also avoid pruning too close to the old wood.
  • Carpinus betulus – commonly known as hornbeam – and privet can also be pruned again.
  • Boxwood can be pruned until early October. The later it is pruned, the less it will sprout.
  • Lavender also has to be pruned now.

November

What could be better than getting up early in the morning to experience the mist and romance of autumn?

General

  • Move tender perennials and frost-sensitive plants indoors or protect them with bubble wrap or frost cloth.
  • Prune, transplant and move fuchsias and geraniums to a frost-free place.
  • You can still cut off the hydrangea flowers to make a beautiful wreath with floral foam.
  • Store pots that are not frost-resistant in a frost-free place.
  • Clean your pots and tubs and store them upside down.
  • It is best to discard diseased plants rather than put them on the compost heap, as this may cause infection.
  • All potted plants can be planted until it freezes.
  • Shut down the water supply and put away the equipment: shut down the outside tap before the frost.
  • Drain the hose, roll it up without any kinks and put it away. Also drain the rain barrel (unless it is a wooden rain barrel, which will shrink if it dries out). Move watering cans and buckets inside.
  • Gardening tools maintenance: check and clean all your tools carefully, sharpen where necessary and lubricate moving parts.

Flower bulbs

  • Make sure that all summer-flowering bulbs and tubers have been moved inside. Dry and store them in a cool place.
  • If you have not yet planted your spring bulbs, you can still do so now if it is not freezing.
  • Plant your tulip bulbs in November.

Wildlife

  • Be kind to the hedgehogs. They will help you by eating snails in the autumn before they hibernate somewhere under a pile of wood or leaves.
  • Set up some bird feeders.
  • It is best to feed the birds in the morning. Never feed them margarine or butter, as they have a laxative effect.
  • Remove any dead leaves from your pond water. Stop feeding the fish when temperatures really start dropping.

Perennials

  • Cover all perennials with a layer of leaves, compost or a mixture of manure and peat.
  • Protect the base of rhododendrons, azaleas and hydrangeas from the cold.
  • Tie together high grasses such as pampas grass and protect the roots.
  • Tie in loose hanging branches of climbers. Be careful not to pull too hard, as this will damage the branches.
  • Shrubs, roses and perennials can still be planted in November as long as it does not freeze.
  • Deciduous and coniferous trees can be planted as long as the ground is not yet frozen.
  • Keep the soil as moist as possible for your evergreen varieties and evergreen hedges.
  • Water newly planted evergreen hedges, conifers and plants.
  • Wrap the branches and graft of standard roses in straw. A less attractive, but very effective option is to pull a bin liner over the rose’s crown and seal it under the grafting point. Special rose covers are also available.
  • Cover the newly planted shrubs, roses and other plants with a layer of leaves, well-rotted farmyard manure or other organic material.
  • Also cover perennials with compost or a mixture of manure and peat.
  • If you want to transplant hardy deciduous shrubs and climbers, you should do so after the first few frosty nights. Water these as well.

Pruning

  • You can now cut back your roses, but not by more than half.
  • As soon as the fruit bushes start losing their leaves, they can be given some rejuvenation pruning.
  • Perennials can still be cut back.
  • Willows can be pollarded.

Lawn

  • Rake up fallen leaves from the lawn to be used as winter protection for the border.
  • Grass continues to grow above 5°C. For your last mow of the season, set the mowing height slightly higher. You may wish to scatter some peat and manure over your lawn.
  • Longer grass can withstand frost better: in the first week of November, you can give the lawn its last mow of the season with a slightly longer height setting.
  • During dry spells, you can aerate the grass by perforating your lawn with a spike aerator.
  • You can take in your lawnmower, so we can give it a winter service after the last mow.

December

In December, winter starts, temperatures often fall well below zero and there isn’t that much to do in the garden. And yet there are a few jobs that still need doing …

General

  • Disconnect outdoor taps and sprinkler pumps before the frost. Do not forget to open the outdoor taps after disconnecting the pipes to allow them to drain.
  • Make sure no trays or pots break due to frost. Sometimes the drainage holes in the bottom get clogged and the frozen water inside breaks the container.
  • Keep part of the pond open.
  • Birds like holly berries. To stop the birds from eating all the berries before Christmas, you can cut some branches with berries in early December and keep them in some moist sand away from the birds. You can then use the holly branches to decorate your home during the holiday season.
  • In mild weather, it is a good idea to plant a hyacinth in a decorative container that can be hung outdoors to brighten up those dreary December days.
  • Sharpen pruning shears, knives and any other tools with a sharp blade. This ensures they get through the winter unscathed and are ready for use when you pick them up in the spring.

Lawn

  • Do not walk on the lawn as long as temperatures are below zero. Walking on the lawn may damage it and cause some brighter patches after a few days.
  • Remove the last leaves from the lawn to prevent further damage. Grass that is covered in leaves will not get any light and die. Lack of air circulation may also cause fungus diseases.
  • The grass of your lawn is barely growing at this stage, which allows different types of moss to multiply. Let the moss grow for now and treat your lawn in the spring.

Pruning

  • Some tree varieties simply must be pruned before their sap begins to flow again in early spring. These species are called bleeders. Birch, maple and walnut trees are bleeders. If these trees are pruned too late, the sap will bleed from the pruning cuts and the trees will suffer. That is why bleeders should always be pruned early, in December or January.
  • The best time to prune grapevines is late December, when the vines are completely dormant. Before or during a frosty spell, it is best to postpone the pruning for a while. The vine’s side shoots should be cut back to two buds from the main stems.

Christmas trees

  • More than 2 million Christmas trees are sold in Belgium every year. Some of these are live trees with a root ball that can be planted in the garden after Christmas. Bear in mind that spending several weeks in a warm, dry indoor environment weakens the tree severely. You can successfully plant your tree outside if you observe the following tips:
  1. Buy a tree with a good root ball and a large container size.
  2. Keep the tree in a cool shed for a week to make the transition indoors easier.
  3. Do not cut the top off the tree.
  4. Water the tree’s root ball regularly.
  5. Do not keep the tree indoors for too long.
  6. Allow the tree to acclimatise in a cool place again before moving it outdoors.
  7. When the tree has been planted outdoors during a frost-free period, water it regularly to prevent it from drying out.
  • Artificial trees are popular too now, but real trees easily come out on top thanks to their unique scent. The tree that is most fragrant is the traditional Picea abies or Norway spruce, but they do tend to lose their needles quite quickly. There is a huge difference in quality between the different types of trees. The classic, fragrant Picea abies tends to lose its needles quite quickly. It is a forest tree and less suitable for planting in the garden afterwards. The Picea omorika or Serbian spruce is also sold as a Christmas tree. The Abies nordmanniana or Nordmann fir boasts an attractive, wide, looser foliage and has shiny, dark green needles that are not sharp and do not drop readily in a dry environment. Nordmann firs give off no or very little scent, but they are luxurious and durable and therefore very much favoured as Christmas trees. Abies koreana or Korean fir is a very expensive species with shiny green needles.
  • If your tree does not have a root ball, keep it in a tree stand filled with water in a cool place until you are ready to decorate it. Replenish the water daily. It is best to put your tree in a cool area of your home. Lay out some foil or fabric under the tree to catch the needles so they do not end up all over the house.
  • Tip: always test the fairy lights before you put them in the tree.

Perennials

  • You can now lightly work the soil in your plant borders to aerate and improve drainage.
  • Mound up additional soil around the base of your shrub roses. You can also mound soil over the base of the stem to protect the graft union.
  • You can also work compost into the soil of your plant borders to achieve a good, humus-rich structure. This also protects the roots of the plant against ground frost.
  • Leave ornamental grasses alone until spring. The plants have a beautiful silhouette, especially when they are covered in snow or frost. You can cut back the grasses in the spring.
  • If there is a lot of snow fall, try to remove it from the branches of conifers and evergreen shrubs. The weight of the snow can break the branches.

January

The days are short and cold and there isn’t much happening in the garden, but true green fingers always keep busy!

General

  • If it isn’t freezing, you can turn over the empty parts of the garden so that the clods can freeze all the way through. You could also add soil improver. Compost or cow dung with straw contributes to the soil’s structure, particularly in case of sandy soils. It makes it easier for the soil to retain water and nutrients. Compost makes clay soil more airy.
  • Remove any dead or diseased wood from trees.
  • Make sure your stored container plants are not drying out and water them sparingly.
  • Cover frost-sensitive shrubs, roses and perennials.
  • Make a plan for the new gardening season.
  • If the temperatures are above zero, you can also create new paths in the garden.
  • Regularly get some fresh air into the space where you are storing your container plants for the winter.
  • If it isn’t freezing outside, you can paint wooden trellises and climbing structures in a new colour.
  • If you have a greenhouse, you can now sow the first vegetables and geraniums.
  • Make sure no excess water remains in the saucers.
  • Plants and pots kept in a very moist location are at risk of getting damaged during frosty spells.
  • Check outdoor potted plants. If the drainage holes get clogged and the soil and roots are too damp, the pots may crack due to frost. Excess moisture is also bad for the plant’s root system.

Pond

  • No work should be done on the pond in January.
  • Check for any frost damage and make sure the air supply is in order.
  • If you want to build a new pond, January is a good time for digging the hole, provided that it isn’t freezing.
  • In case of severe frost, regularly check that your pond still has an open area.
  • Never chop a hole into the ice with an axe. Fish often do not survive the shocks.
  • Remove any snow from the ice to allow light to enter the water.

Birds

  • Feed the birds in your garden. Especially when the garden is covered in snow, birds struggle to find food. At times like that, extra food is important for their survival. You can give them small pieces of stale bread, fat balls, apples and peanut garlands. The food should be in a high, easily accessible place free from snow, at least 1.5 m from the ground. An open or high spot is best: you don’t want to treat the cat to any unexpected meals.
  • Birds are now in need of some extra vitamins. You can help by occasionally offering some small pieces of fruit rather than nuts and bread.
  • The birds’ nest boxes should have been cleaned by now, because this is when bird couples start looking for a place to nest.
  • Make sure the water bowl is always covered with mesh or canvas to prevent the birds from bathing in it. This can be dangerous in frosty weather.

Perennials

  • If temperatures are above zero, you can plant or transplant a wide range of deciduous shrubs and trees.
  • Make sure your planted trees have a stake on the windward side. The stake needs to be put in place before planting the tree. Otherwise it could damage the roots.
  • In case of heavy snow, it is best to shake the snow off hanging of drooping branches to prevent them from snapping.
  • Leave the snow in the garden. It is good insulation for the plants.
  • The climbers do not have any leaves at this time of year, so they are easy to reach.
  • Water plants sparingly to prevent them from drying out.
  • When the weather is nice – not freezing and not too wet – you can plant the first fruit bushes.

Lawn

  • A layer of snow has an insulating effect, so it is best to leave this beautiful white blanket alone.
  • Stay off the lawn, particularly any snow-covered areas where perennials are protruding from the surface. Walking on them will cause serious damage.
  • It is wise not to walk on a frosty lawn.
  • It is also best not to walk on grass after a long rainy period.

Pruning

  • If there is no frost, you can carefully start pruning your ornamental shrubs.
  • Pruning cuts of 2 cm or more should be treated with pruning sealer.
  • You can now prune your fruit trees cautiously, provided that there is no frost.
  • You can cut back grapevines until mid-January. After that, their sap starts flowing and the vines could bleed and die.

February

February is a quiet, peaceful month for the garden, a time to enjoy the evergreens and shrubs with decorative berries or persistent flowers.

General

  • Do nothing to the plants when it freezes.
  • Mist your houseplants regularly with a fine spray of water in winter. Plants with large leaves can be wiped down with a damp cloth.
  • Place winter flowering houseplants in a light, cool place away from direct sunlight.
  • Turn the compost heap again to make sure everything is well-rotted by the spring.
  • Oleanders and bay trees are best left outside during winter, provided it does not freeze too much.
  • You can already sow annuals from small seed, such as begonias, heliotrope and so on. Annuals from larger seed must be sown later.
  • You can already plant your Dahlia tubers in pots indoors, so they can start growing before being planted outdoors in the second half of May.
  • If the weather is mild, you can start tidying the border. Shred any old stems – this is a lot easier now than in the autumn – and scatter around the perennials as mulch. Mind any young shoots.

Perennials

  • Mild, frost-free weather is ideal for planting fruit trees and other deciduous shrubs and trees.
  • Dead and diseased branches can now be removed from shrubs and trees.

Lawn

  • It is best not to walk on frozen grass. It causes damage that will only become visible in the growing season.

Vegetable garden

  • Test your stored vegetable seed for germination. Put some seed on a damp paper towel, cover with a plastic sheet to create a mini greenhouse and place on the windowsill. If half the seed germinates, the seed is still viable.
  • If you have a greenhouse, you can now sow the first vegetables and geraniums.

Tender perennials

  • It is still important to water your tender perennials sparingly and to give them some fresh air regularly.
  • February is a good time for repotting most tender perennials. Use clean (larger) pots and potting mix with clay, which retains more water.
  • Citrus trees and plants such as bougainvillea should only be repotted when they have outgrown their containers.

Plants

  • Almost all evergreen and deciduous plants can be planted now.
  • Make sure the root ball does not dry out, especially in case of some light frost.
  • If the soil in your garden is very wet, it is best to postpone any (trans)planting for a while.

Pruning

  • Trees, shrubs, ivy and late-flowering clematis can only be pruned in weather that is consistently frost-free.
  • Trees that ‘bleed’ easily, such as birch and maple, should only be pruned once they have sprouted.
  • Remove all dead foliage.
  • You can carefully prune your fruit trees already, provided that there is no frost.
  • You can prune most woody plants in nice weather, except shrubs that bloom early in the spring of course: you don’t want to cut off their flower buds. Early flowering shrubs should be pruned immediately after flowering.
  • Be careful with birch, maple, hornbeam and Juglans (walnut). If you prune them now, they will bleed and their health will deteriorate.

Birds

With a body temperature of more than 40°C, birds have a very high calorie consumption. The harsher the winter, the quicker the birds will burn through their fat reserves and need additional food.

Food

In cold spells, feeders are extremely popular. They often look very fashionable and will suit every garden.

What to feed the birds in your garden?

There are different types of bird food:

  • Grain mix
    Birds love all kinds of grains and seeds, so make sure to offer a wide range of different types. Sunflower seeds are particularly useful, since they give birds strong, thick, shiny feathers.

  • Fruit waste
    If you have any fruit scraps, simply feed them to the birds! Our feathered friends will devour them gladly. Apples are very rich in vitamins and a special favourite.
  • Fat balls
    This is perhaps the most common way of feeding tits, sparrows, robins and many other birds. The fats improve the birds’ resistance and energy.

We stock a wide range of bird food, either in bulk or pre-packaged in nets. We also have accessories, such as feeding stations, feeders, drinkers …

Drink
Place a shallow dish in a sheltered spot in your garden and pour in some clean water. Add nothing else. Some people use antifreeze, sugar or salt to prevent the water from freezing, but this is harmful to the birds. Do not use any iron or metal trays, as this may cause the birds’ feet to stick to the frozen tray.

Make sure the birds can drink from the tray, but they should not be able to bathe in it, as this could freeze their feathers and restrict their movements.

Sleeping
Our range goes from very simple, white birdhouses to playful birdhouse and feeder combos.
One of our birdhouses by Wildlife Garden was modelled after traditional Swedish and Finnish homes.

Pond

  • No work should be done on the pond in February. Simply make sure there is no frost damage and sufficient aeration.
  • If you want to build a new pond, February is a good time for setting out the pond’s shape and digging the hole, provided that it isn’t freezing.

March

In March, nature awakens and the garden comes to life again.

General

  • It is now high time to clean up the leaf waste and protective branches.
  • Patio plants can now be repotted.
  • To add extra colour, put some violets, primroses and wallflowers between the emerging perennials.
  • Never put new plants in waterlogged, muddy soil.
  • It is best to remove spent daffodil flowers as soon as possible, either with pruning shears or by hand. If the dead flowers are left, the plant will form seedpods that will use up a lot of energy needed by other plants.
  • Never sow your seed too deep or too close together and don’t use too much seed at once. To sow evenly, you can mix the seed with some fine silver sand. Usually a seeding depth of 1.5 cm is sufficient. The general rule is that the seed’s depth should be 2 to 3 times its own size. Seed should be sown slightly less deep in heavy soil.
  • Summer-flowering bulbs can be planted now.

Perennials

  • You can now remove all winter protection, but always keep it at hand, as you may still need it.
  • You can now cut back all perennials down to 5 cm from the ground. This will remove the old stems and any remains from last year. Do make sure you do not damage any young shoots or buds.
  • Now that your perennials take up very little space, it is easy to do some weeding.
  • Cut back ornamental grasses or comb out loose foliage with a rake.
  • March is an ideal month for planting or transplanting trees and shrubs. They will grow better once the leaves have sprouted.
  • You can now cut back the roses, provided that there is no lingering frost. Wear strong garden gloves and make sure your pruning shears are sharp and clean. Cut shrub roses down to 3 to 5 bud eyes. Leave the main canes of ever-blooming climbing roses alone, but cut back all side canes to about 5 cm. Give your roses some special rose fertiliser after pruning.
  • Evergreen shrubs, conifers and hedges can also be transplanted now.
  • Divide, transplant and fertilise your perennials.
  • Use stakes to support your perennials as they start to grow. The plants will grow through them in a natural way.
  • Plant roses in pots with special fertilised soil for roses. Graceful stem roses look gorgeous on a patio.

Lawn

  • The grass will slowly start growing as soon as temperatures rise above 6°C.
  • Fertilise and aerate (scarify) the lawn and over seed any bare patches with grass seed.
  • Give the grass some synthetic fertiliser in March. Use slow-release, long-acting fertiliser to prevent the grass from growing too fast.

Pruning

  • Prune the roses, lavender, summer flowering shrubs, ivy and clematis.
  • Now that the ivy has formed loose hanging branches, it can be cut back. Remove stems that have attached themselves to gutters and window frames.
  • This is the perfect time to prune roses. Do not be afraid to cut your roses back dramatically. It will make them blossom more abundantly and reduce the risk of pests and diseases. Apply a layer of mulch around the roses after pruning.

Birds

  • Clean and hang up your birdhouses. There are different types of birdhouses for different species of birds. The entrance hole is important in this respect. Preferably hang them with the entrance hole facing east or southeast.

Pond

  • You can start giving your fish small quantities of food again when the water has reached 10°C. Mind they don’t get too much food, because any discarded food will promote the growth of algae.

April

April is a busy month in the garden. Everything turns green again. It is a time for planting, fertilising and sowing.

General

  • Keep an eye out for snails. As temperatures increase and the spring rain comes, their numbers can increase rapidly.
  • After a sunny, clear day, there is still a significant chance of night frost in April. Bear this in mind and cover frost-sensitive plants with some fleece to prevent the flower buds from freezing.
  • Weed your borders.
  • Work the border with compost, manure and moist peat.
  • Summer bulbs can be planted in the open ground and in pots. There is a wide range of summer bulbs: exuberantly flowering dahlias, graceful gladioli, cheerful anemones …
  • Annuals can be sown outdoors from late April.
  • Mix the seed with some sand, so you know where the seed has been scattered.
  • Also check the garden for weeds. You can remove invasive couch grass and perennial weeds when turning over the soil.

Pruning

  • April is a good time to prune your Common heather (Calluna vulgaris) or bell heather (Erica cinerea). This is best done every year. Otherwise the bushes will get very big and develop bare patches at the base. You can cut off the faded flowers, but do not cut back to the old wood or the heather may not sprout again. Irregular pruning will keep the natural bush shape beautifully intact.
  • Frost-sensitive shrubs such as the butterfly bush (Buddleja) and some types of lilacs can be pruned now.
  • Spring-flowering shrubs are best pruned immediately after flowering to keep the shrubs nice and compact. Some species are Forsythia, Ribes and Clematis.

Perennials

  • Now is the time to get planting! Because all perennials are sold in containers (pots), you could also choose to plant different plants throughout the summer.
  • Remove the suckers from the rose bushes immediately.
  • Cut back old foliage from ornamental grass and ferns.
  • Cover your hydrangeas with some fleece to stop the buds from freezing at night.

Pond

  • The pond is now ready for some spring cleaning.
  • Clean the pond and check the plants.
  • If you have water lilies in baskets, it is a good idea to put some good clay soil in the bottom of the baskets.
  • If the water is getting warmer, the fish will start to look for food more often. Only feed them easily digestible food at this stage.
  • If you have a biological filter, you may want to turn it on again slowly, possibly with some added starter bacteria.
  • This is also a good time to create a new pond. Do make sure not to transplant old shrubs or perennials too late in the spring to make the pond’s edge more attractive.

Transplanting gardening tip

  • At the end of April, you can transplant conifers, bamboo and evergreen shrubs. The soil is a little warmer then, so transplants shouldn’t cause too many problems. September is also a good time for transplanting. Spading is a good preparation method: it involves making a circular cut all the way around the plant with a sharp spade several times over one year to create a nice root ball. Without spading, it is best to prune the bush immediately after transplanting it. This stops the plant’s moisture from evaporating and encourages abundant regrowth. In case of a dense clay soil, it is important to loosen the soil really well around the new hole and to mix in some soil improver for good development of the roots.
  • Planting and transplanting can be done until early April. Container plants can be planted all year round.
  • Make sure you put your plants in the right type of soil. For example, rhododendron is an acid-loving plant and will not thrive if the soil is not acidic enough.
  • Evergreen shrubs, conifers and hedges can now be transplanted.

Tender perennials

  • Strong tender perennials can be moved outdoors in late April. You could move them outside even earlier, as long as there is no frost. Place all tender perennials in the shade for at least a week first to prevent sunburn.
  • Tender perennials such as oleanders and fuchsia like the fresh air, but they can’t withstand frost, so keep an eye on the weather forecast.

Lawns

  • Spring has really started now and once daytime temperatures go above 10°C, you can sow grass.
  • If you have a shade garden, use special shady lawn grass seed.
  • The grass can now be mowed weekly.
  • The grass will start growing again. Start by tidying the lawn with a leaf rake. If the lawn has any bare patches, you can turn the area, add some compost, over seed and roll over the seed with a lawn roller. You can also scarify the lawn if necessary. Only mow the lawn if the grass is visibly doing well and use the mower’s highest setting. Also fertilise the lawn again. A lawn fertiliser with moss killer is very useful.
  • Give your lawn some razor-sharp edges.

Herbs, fruit and vegetables

  • If you want to start a herb garden, now is the time.
  • Herbs like anise, fennel, parsley and savoury can now be sown in the open ground.
  • If you want to plant grapevines this year, make sure to do it this month. Grapevines are best planted against a south facing wall or fence, which offers support and promotes growth.
  • It is also time to get your strawberries patch ready, so you can look forward to some lovely fresh strawberries in the summer. First, tidy up the strawberry bed. If necessary, remove plants that have expanded too much and plant their youngest parts.
  • Vegetables are happiest in a bright and sunny spot. However, many species will also do well in less favourable conditions. Some examples are potatoes, peas, spinach, beans, rhubarb, endive, Brussels sprouts and cress.

Fertilising and working the soil

  • In rainy weather, scatter some fertiliser along the hedges, near the trees and roses, on the lawn and in the flowerbeds. Make sure not to forget the plants in pots and containers.
  • Spring is an excellent time for fertilising, because the nutrients are absorbed extremely well by the plants.
  • If you want to turn over the garden and mix in some compost or cow manure at the same time, be careful around the shrubs. Do not turn the soil there or restrict yourself to some shallow tilling, as the roots damage easily.
  • Sandy soil must be turned right before planting. Also work in some humus, such as compost or manure.
  • On a beautiful day, you can till the soil with a cultivator to aerate it. An additional advantage is that it instantly kills all new weeds.

May

May is a busy month in the garden.

General

  • If you are planting annuals in the garden in early May, you must be careful. Keep your eye on the weather forecast and protect the plants from night frost until mid-May.
  • You can move tender perennials and frost-sensitive plants outdoors after 15 May.
  • Water newly planted perennials regularly and apply a layer of mulch that will retain the moisture in the soil.
  • After flowering, indoor azaleas can be pruned to half their size and then be moved to a sunny spot in the garden.
  • May is also a very good time for sowing biennials – forget-me-nots, snapdragons, Sweet William and some bellflowers – and perennials – yarrow, lily of the Incas and geranium.
  • Apply fertiliser to the plant borders.
  • Scatter peat or bark to combat weeds.
  • Anchor young trees, half-standard shrubs and standard roses with a strong stake and check the straps regularly. Also provide plant support to tall growing perennials, which are still easy to get to now. Give your border plants the support they need.
  • Tie in fast-growing climbers regularly.
  • Lay or redo patios and paths and remove any weeds on them.
  • Weed the garden.
  • Take cuttings or pull apart spring flowering perennials for multiplication.

When there is no longer a chance of frost:

  • You can plant all herbs outdoors.
  • You can prune the hedges (on a cloudy day).
  • You can still sow biennials.
  • You should check your plants regularly for pests and diseases now that temperatures are rising. Pests must be controlled immediately.
  • Check your roses for aphids. Rinse them from the plant or use a spray.
  • Water newly planted plants, trees and shrubs regularly in dry weather. Protect them with a layer of mulch to retain moisture.
  • Wisteria and laburnum now boast spectacular clusters of colourful flowers.

Lawn

  • Mow the lawn once or twice a week for good results and growth.
  • You may want to seed a new lawn.
  • Scatter some lawn fertiliser over your lawn in rainy weather.

Flower bulbs

  • Lift faded tulips and hyacinths from the ground.
  • Remove spent flowers from the spring bulbs. Leave the foliage for six weeks after the last flowers have withered.
  • Fertilise the spring bulbs to encourage the development of a new flower bud next spring.
  • Plant dahlias outdoors at the end of the month.

Pruning and cutting back

  • The hedges can be pruned from now on.
  • You can prune boxwood, but not in direct sunlight as this may burn the leaves.
  • Prune all spring flowering shrubs immediately after flowering: Spirea, Prunus triloba, Ribes …
  • Prune perennials after flowering to encourage a second flowering and to prevent a bare centre.
  • Prune clematis after flowering if the plant has grown too large.
  • Some perennials, such as garden geraniums, can be cut back significantly after flowering to encourage them to bloom a second time in August. Pruning prevents a bare centre.
  • Remove any dead stems from the hydrangeas.

Pond

  • Clean the pond filter.
  • Now add some oxygenating plants to the pond.

June

Everything is in full bloom and summer will be here soon.

General

  • Water plants in the morning. In the evening they stay wet and could attract mould.
  • Make your plants flower for longer by removing spent flowers from tender and other perennials.
  • Treat harmful pests.
  • Feed your plants regularly.

Creepers

The annual garden plants – most of which you bought and planted in May – will now be in full bloom.

  • To extend the flowering period of your plants, you need to remove any old flowers as soon as possible. This allows the plant to use its energy to form new flowers. Remove the spent flowers with a twisting motion.
  • You will have to water your plants once, sometimes twice a day. Even when it rains, watering may still be useful because the plant’s crown may act as an umbrella.
  • You can feed tender perennials and annuals in pots with liquid fertiliser dissolved in water.

Hedges

  • Hedges should be fertilised regularly as well. Organic fertiliser is best for hedges.
  • Yew, beech, hornbeam, privet and fast-growing Leyland conifers require pruning.
  • Prune your hedges on a dry day. Conifers such as Chamaecyparis and Thuja should never be cut back to the old wood, as they will not reshoot well from there. Prune the hedges a little wider at the base than at the top, as this allows the hedge to capture more light.
  • Prune evergreen hedges at the end of the month.

Perennials

  • Plant your anemones now to see them bloom in autumn.
  • Remove branches with green leaves from all variegated or coloured shrubs.
  • Some perennials, such as hardy geraniums, can be cut back significantly after flowering. They will then bloom for a second time in August.
  • Tie in climbers to offer support and guidance well on time.

Compost

  • Make sure your compost heap does not dry out. Water the compost heap if necessary. You may also wish to cover it with a tarp or lid.
  • A lot of biodegradable waste is suitable for the compost heap, but cooked food scraps, potato and orange peel and diseased plant cuttings should be thrown into the bin.

Vegetables

  • Almost all vegetables can now be planted or sown.
  • Fertilise your tomato plants with special tomato fertiliser to strengthen them against blight of tomatoes.
  • Never plant your cabbage in the same place as last year to avoid clubroot.
  • More vegetable advice regarding recipes, care and diseases is available on the Royal Horticultural Society website

Roses

  • You can always trim faded roses back to the first mature leaf cluster that has 5 leaflets on it. Ever-blooming species will then form more buds.
  • Withered flowers should be cut from ever-blooming roses. This ensures that they will bloom all summer, perhaps even into autumn. For larger roses, also remove the smaller buds and leave the middle, large bud.
  • Fertilise your roses.
  • Check for aphid infestations and mildew and treat preventively against mould.
  • Sucker growth from all grafted plants such as standard roses must be removed.

Lawn

  • Mow the grass regularly, preferably twice a week. The less you need to cut each time, the better. Edge your lawn. On hot days, it is better to wait until the evening to cut the grass. Otherwise the grass will dry out and turn brown.
  • Fertilise your lawn when it looks a little lifeless. Scatter fertiliser over the lawn, preferably on a rainy day.
  • You can throw your clippings on to the compost heap or you can scatter them over the perennial border. They will keep the soil moist and discourage weeds from growing.
  • Cut the grass to 3-5 cm in the summer to prevent moss to take hold.

Pond

  • Your pond plants grow a lot in June. If the water seems to be overrun by plants, it is wise to thin out any excessive growth now.