Sarah's Snippets

Welcome to our blog by Sarah Squire, of the Squire’s family and Squire’s Garden Centres.

December Gardening Tips

Ok, so it may not be a good idea to work on frosted soil or frosty or wet lawns. However, do not rule out December in the garden. After all, there are only so many festivities one can take (bah humbug) and a little fresh air, at any time of year, is a wonderful thing. So if you need a breather here are some ideas/excuses to get outside.

Dead head winter flowering Pansies.

Cut back Roses to prevent wind rock.

Put food out for the birds and make sure they have water.

Then with a clear conscience and a spring in your step you can get back into the festive mood by

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protecting Holly bushes that are carrying berries so that you can use the branches for Christmas decorations.

Buying a real Christmas tree. Don’t forget to cut off an inch or so at the base and place the tree stand that has a water holder – as if it was a bunch of flowers. Avoid standing it in front of a radiator.

Some cheerful houseplants such as Cyclamen, Poinsettias and Azaleas brighten up the house at this dark time of year. Cyclamen and Azaleas like it cool. Poinsettias like it warm and hate draughts.

Above all I wish you, most sincerely, a very Happy Christmas and a peaceful New Year!

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November Gardening Tips

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I am always a little sad when the clocks go back. I am not a fan of the dark evenings. However, looking on the bright side, I suppose they make us appreciate the crisp, short autumn days all the more.

On the upside, if you see mowing as a chore rather than a delight, it is time to make what is likely to be the final cut of the year. Ensure the mower blades are at their highest setting.

There is still time to plant tulips and to plant and divide perennials. You can plant deciduous hedges and all kinds of deciduous shrubs and trees.

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You can also move established plants if you have come to the conclusion they are in the wrong spot. Cut back longer shoots and dig out the plant with as large a root ball as you can manage for replanting in a prepared planting hole deeper and wider than the root ball.

For a really satisfying garden workout give the vegetable patch a good dig and add well- rotted organic matter such as homemade compost or composted stable manure. If you feel more in the mood for a little pruning then winter prune established bushes and fruit trees (other than stone fruits such as plums and cherries).

So perhaps I shouldn’t be too gloomy when there is still a great gardening month ahead!

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October Gardening Tips

Plant, prepare and pamper is the theme this month. Working with the seasons is, I believe, the best way to achieve great results in the garden. Do spare some time to enjoy the autumn colours too!

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October is perfect for planting. The soil is still warm but it is now wetter and ideal for plant roots to establish. Plant Roses and deciduous trees and shrubs. Continue to plant spring flowering bulbs. Plant fruit trees and bushes. Anything hardy can be planted now.

Prepare the vegetable patch for next year’s planting. Dig over the area to open up the soil so that air and water may penetrate and incorporate garden compost or well composted manure It is also a great month for having a bit of a tidy up and cracking on with some pre-winter jobs. Divide perennials that have outgrown their space and have finished flowering. Once the frost has blackened the foliage of Dahlias cut down the stems to about six inches and lift the tubers. Lift and store Gladioli. Divide clumps of Lilies that have become overgrown.

Pamper the lawn. Increase the height of the mower blades for the final few cuts of the year. Sweep up fallen leaves. Scarify by giving the lawn a good rake to remove dead material and encourage the grass to thicken by developing runners and side shoots. Aerate compacted areas using a garden fork or hollow tine fork. Apply an autumn lawn feed to promote root development and strengthen the grass to withstand the rigours of winter. This is the best month for laying turf, either as a repair or for a new lawn.

 

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September Gardening Tips

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You can smell the nip in the air morning and evening now, that unmistakable scent of autumn gently creeping up on us with its misty mornings and low setting sun. It is always sad to leave summer behind and warm autumn days are to be cherished. However, on the up-side, it really is the best time of year to get planting. The soil is warm but damp and hardy plants get off to a great start, sending out roots and putting themselves in the best possible position to really grow and thrive next spring. So now is the time to begin autumn planting of shrubs, trees and hardy plants. Spring flowering bulbs are now in stock. Buy early for the best choice, chose large bulbs for better flowers. New lawns can be sown or turf laid. Worn areas can be re-sown.

More about planting over the next couple of months. In the meantime there is a harvest to enjoy! Pick Apples and Pears. Harvest Onions and Shallots and allow them to dry naturally. Lift main crop Potatoes. Pick French Beans and Runner Beans.

It is a great time for a little therapeutic tidy up too. When the summer bedding and patio plants start to go over replace with some Garden Mums (Chrysanthemums in old money), delightful dainty cyclamen which will flower until the hard frosts set in or some sturdy winter flowering pansies. Dead head perennials. Cut down dead stems or leave over winter for an architectural look. Dead head roses and tie in new shoots on climbers. Divide and transplant rock plants or alpines if they are spreading too far. Water Dahlias when necessary and support. Plant out Carnations and Pinks and pinch out growing tips.

I wish you some golden autumn days a great planting

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August Gardening Tips

It is high summer and the garden is at a crossroads. On the one hand there is still an abundance of flower but harvest is also very much in evidence and I am truly thankful for the plentiful blackcurrants that have been staining my hands as I pick them and are now safely stowed in the freezer. Runner beans, tomatoes, salad leaves and courgettes are in abundance and the sheer bounty and generosity of nature is on full display.

 

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Here are just a few easy tasks for pottering in the garden this August

Continue to water and feed hanging baskets & containers regularly.

Don’t forget to dead head faded flowers of perennials and annuals to encourage the production of new flowers.

Trim Lavender bushes once they have finished flowering. Do not cut down into the wood.
Take cuttings of tender perennials such as Pelargoniums, Fuchsias and Salvias.

Stop feeding Roses so as to discourage soft growth. Prune rambling and shrub Roses cutting only the old stem that flowered this year.

Sow Lettuce, spring Cabbage and winter Spinach.

Pinch out the tips of Runner Beans.

Take cuttings of woody herbs, e.g. Lavender, Rosemary and Sage.

Cut down Raspberry canes that have fruited and support new canes.

Plant Strawberry runners which have rooted.

Continue to feed Tomato plants.

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