Gardening the Willowfield Way !

Gardening the Willowfield Way !

Happy New Year everyone ! Another year over, another begun !….Hope you all had a good mid-winter break and are now raring to get out into the garden again and try and tidy the place up. Good exercise for the body and therapy for the mind !
There are leaves, twigs and branches on the ground, on the lawn, on flower beds and on paths and driveways that all need raking, sweeping and picking up. Damaged and leaning trees and bushes need to be pruned into shape and staked up again to prevent them from rocking in the ground.
Don’t do too much walking across the lawn at the moment as it is fairly soggy ! you will do a lot of damage and create a muddy mess by going to and fro too much. Best to leave until it dries out a bit more. No rush !

1. Tidy up the garden whenever you can as mentioned above and take a check on the gutters around the house. …a spring blitz !
2. The small branches and twigs from your xmas tree can be used as a mulch on ericaceous shrubs like Rhododendron and Camellias. Cut the side branches of the tree into small sections and toss underneath the bushes where they will slowly breakdown and feed the shrubs. The remaining trunk of the xmas tree can be cut up for firewood.
3. Prune back summer flowering shrubs so that new growth in the spring can start from strong sturdy branches. Spring flowering bushes have to be pruned immediately after flowering. Don’t cut them now or you will be cutting off their flowers !
4. If you are interested in planting a hedge anywhere in the garden, the next 6 weeks is the best time of the year to do this work. A lot of the planting material is field grown rather than container grown which makes them cheaper. Planting up at this time of year is also ideal for quick establishment.
5. Patio containers can be planted up now with a mixture of winter heathers and spring flowering bulbs. Both are strong enough to put up with all the bad winter weather. Primroses and Violas can be added soon when the worst of the winter weather has gone.
6. During February you can start repotting House plants as they will all start making a surge of growth as the light levels and temperature start increasing. Do not repot into too big a pot; just choose a new pot with a diameter just a couple of cm bigger than the existing one…let it grow into this area first and repot again during the summer.
7. The vege garden is practically off limits at the moment and is just a soggy mess ! if you can get to it over the next couple of weeks, throw on some seaweed or rotten manure so it has a chance to breakdown over what’s left of the winter and early spring.
8. If you are lucky enough to have a polythene tunnel or some area that is protected from the winter weather you can start preparing the ground for the spring. Fertilize the ground and dig it in leaving it fairly rough for the next couple of weeks so that air can get into the soil. It is possible to start off a few seed trays of vegetables by the end of the month and seed potatoes will be ready to start ‘chitting’ ready for planting in early March. Don’t be in too much of a rush to get things started, still very early and a lot of bad weather is still to come ! The early bird doesn’t always get the worm….could often get his feet scorched by frost !
9. While it is quiet in the garden it is a good time to get your garden equipment serviced…spark plugs, filters, oil change etc should all be seen to so when they are needed in a few weeks’ time they will be all tuned up and ready to go.
10.Garden furniture should be kept inside and dried out as much as possible and treated with paint or coloured stain before it ventures out again in March or April.

From the beginning of February out at Willowfield our stocks of trees, shrubs, fruit and flowering plants will be increasing ready for another busy planting season so drop in to us and see what we are getting in each week.

See you there ! Happy Gardening !

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