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Our guide to gardening through the seasons with handy tips and ideas for each calendar month to help you stay on top of all the key jobs.

Garden-JAN

JANUARY

Prepare a veggie plot in an open, sunny spot. Dig in plenty of organic matter and, if soil is heavy, add some grit or consider building raised beds.

Cut back overgrown, summer-flowering clematis by shortening old stems to the first pair of plump buds.

Slugs and snails can do serious damage to garden plants, but you can keep them at bay with beer traps – half sunken cups of beer.

Garden-FEB
FEBRUARY

Buy tender seedlings and young plants. Raise them indoors until temperatures improve for planting outside.

Cover bare soil on the veggie plot with plastic sheets for a week to help it warm up, ready for sowing hardy spinach, cabbage, broad beans and carrots.

Pot up strawberry plants and put them in a greenhouse or cool porch to have fruit for picking at the end of May.

MARCHGarden-March

Prune rose bushes. Cut out old and decaying stems, spindly shoots and reduce the height of the remaining bush by a third.

Sow sweet peas in pots on a cool windowsill. By April they will be ready for planting out – train them up wigwams in borders or trellises fixed to bare walls.

Sow beetroot, salad onions, radish and lettuce every two weeks for a ready supply of fresh salads throughout the summer.

Garden-APRILAPRIL

Sow rows of hardy annuals, such as calendulas, and plant bulbs like lilies, dahlias and gladioli for a supply of cut flowers from midsummer onwards.

Prune spring-flowering shrubs and cut off up to one-third of growth on those, such as buddlejas, that flower in mid to late summer, such as buddlejas.

Install supports for tall or floppy border plants. Put cane tops on to protect your eyes when weeding.

MAYGarden-MAY

Plant herbs like thyme, parsley, basil, chives and sweet marjoram in a sunny border and grow shrubby types like bay and rosemary in patio pots.

Put down a 3.5cm layer of chipped bark mulch on borders to conserve moisture and prevent weed seeds from germinating.

Mow the lawn at least once a week and compost the clippings with other garden waste to create rich soil conditioner and mulch.

Garden-JUNEJUNE

Remove spent blooms on roses, snipping them off to an outward facing bud to maintain the optimum size and shape of the plant.

Now that the risk of frost is past, plant out tender summer bedding in patio pots, hanging baskets and borders for colourful summer displays.

Sow spring-flowering wallflowers in a seedbed to have a ready supply of young plants to replace spent summer bedding in autumn.

JULYGarden-JULY

Protect ripening fruit from birds, earwigs and wasps by draping plants with Enviromesh or old net curtains.

Prune wisteria. Trim back the long tendrils by half, or to five buds, to slow down the rate of growth and encourage plenty of flower buds next year.

Use a dinner fork to remove individual weeds and their roots from the lawn. Use a knife to slice out weeds growing in-between paving slabs.

Garden-AUGAUGUST

Save your own seeds. Pick off seed heads on a dry day and put them in labeled paper bags indoors to dry before cleaning and storing them in an airtight box.

Clip beech hedges now and the leaves will remain on the plant during the winter. Chop or shred the trimmings and add them to your compost.

For the best flavour, harvest vegetables promptly whilst young and tender.

SEPTEMBERGarden-Sept

Plant spring-flowering bulbs. Daffodils will flower from February onwards and tulips planted as late as November will bloom in May.

Divide congested clumps of perennials such as phlox and ornamental grasses. Discard the woody core of the crown and re-plant the younger outer pieces.

Replace spent plants in patio containers with new season pansies, asters and ornamental cabbages that look stunning through autumn.

Garden-OCTOCTOBER

Tidy flowerbeds. Dig out weeds, remove dead flower stalks and leaves and cover the crowns of vulnerable plants, such as penstemons, with mulch.

Aerate lawns using a garden fork to improve drainage and relieve compaction. Use a wire rake to scratch out dead grass before applying an autumn feed.

Encourage wildlife to set up home in your garden. Plants with berries will draw in birds and Michaelmas daisies are a butterfly magnet.

NOVEMBERGarden-NOV

Rake up leaves, especially from the lawn, and put them in perforated black bin bags so they rot down and make a useful soil conditioner.

Plant bare rooted hedging plants to create screens and boundaries. For a thick hedge, plant in double rows and stagger the plants for best results.

Prune climbing and rambling roses. Remove the old flowering stems, cutting them back to within 5cm of the main stem, then tie new growth to a support.

Garden-DECDECEMBER

Maintain patio container displays. Remove faded blooms and diseased leaves from winter-flowering pansies and replace dead plants.

Cover mature rhubarb plants with terracotta forcing pots or upturned dustbins lined with dry straw. Stems should be ready for picking in six weeks.

Prune damaged trees after bad weather. Secure wayward climbers and tie in conifers to prevent snow lying heavy and ripping branches off the main trunk.