As Winter approaches work in the garden slows down. With shorter and colder days it is better to choose the days that are fine and sunny to do the work as much that needs to be done is not as urgent as in the Spring and Summer.

So far the weather has been quite mild and we have had some rain so there has still been some growth, especially in the lawns and weeds. Many of the perennials and Summer annuals have not yet been cut back by frosts so one needs to keep weeding and mowing the lawns (although not too low).

As plants like dahlias and chrysanthemums finish flowering cut them back by about two thirds, ready to lift them once the frosts have cut them back and made them dormant. Bulbs can still be planted and ground should be prepared for planting Spring annuals, which should be completed by the middle of the month

In the fruit and vegetable garden it is clean up time, keep the ground weed free around the vege plants to allow plenty of air around them to encourage plants to grow and mature. Fruit trees can have their first Winter spray once the leaves have fallen. Ground can be made ready for planting of garlic at the end of the month and broad beans can be sown directly into the soil.

Fallen leaves make good compost but can take a long time to break down so I like to mix some grass clippings with them which speeds up the process. As there is little growth in the Winter most vege plants will hold well in the ground and can be harvested as needed but wet ground will get compacted so a good idea is to put boards on the ground to walk on so that it does not get compacted

Treat paths for moss and keep wet leaves off so that the paths are not slippery to walk on. Clean and sharpen all the pruning tools ready for pruning season next month. Now is a good time to look through your seed packets and remove those past their date and make a list of what seeds are needed for the coming season.

Diary date our Pruning Workshop on 4 and 11 July