Period Living

Garden calendar

Creating the garden of your dreams takes a good deal of planning and organisation, but gardening is also a therapeutic activity for both body and soul, and rewards greatly from the effort put in.

Start the new gardening year prepared. Ensure you have everything clean and ready: sharpen your tools, service the lawn mower, repair fences, tidy the greenhouse, and check your compost bin is working well.

Then it’s time to seek inspiration. Look through catalogues, magazines and books to compile a list of plants and ideas you’d like to incorporate into your garden. Look carefully at the needs of the flowers you like, mature heights of trees and the maintenance required. If necessary, call in a garden designer who could help with creating structure or planting plans.

Review your garden while it is bare and be realistic about what you can achieve. To guarantee success, choose the right plants for the environment and conditions. Think also of the wider landscape: create wildlife corridors and select plants that will attract beneficial insects and natural predators.


This is a month for planning. Spend some time looking at your garden to assess its structure and infill, deciding how to develop it. Start raising seeds, keep paths clear of fallen leaves, and begin preparing garden beds.

• Recycle your Christmas tree by shredding it for use as mulch or compost.

• Prune deciduous trees and shrubs to shape and remove damaged branches.

• Deadhead pansies to keep them flowering.

• Lift and divide snowdrops after flowering.

• If you have shallow soil, try building some raised beds.

• Brush snow from conifers and evergreens to stop the branches from bowing, breaking or splaying.

• Plant bare-root trees, shrubs and roses if the ground and soil aren’t frozen solid or waterlogged.

• After plenty of rain, mulch beds and borders with leaf mould, manure, compost or shredded bark. A layer of about 5–10cm is ideal.

• Repair and stain or paint fences, pergolas and wooden furniture, if the weather conditions permit.

• Check protective fleece and straw is covering still-tender plants.

• If

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