Clear paths of moss and lichen so that they are not a slip hazard (elf ‘n’ safety!). Check that there isn’t any fuel left in your garden machinery before storing over winter, as stale fuel is often the reason why a mower will not start at the beginning of the following season.
Keep raking up those leaves from the lawn and borders.
From now until the end of March is the time to plant any bare rooted trees, shrubs and roses. Check stored fruit, throw out any that are rotten. Reduce watering on houseplants. To keep your indoor hyacinths blooming longer, make sure they are kept in a cool, bright place. If they are kept too warm the leaves will elongate and the flowers will fade quickly.
Put bark chips around your hellebores to protect emerging blooms from rain splashes. Cut off any leaves with black spots on them to try and prevent the fungal disease spreading. Cut back tall rose bushes to prevent damage from the winds. If your roses suffer from black spot, spray the roses and ground around the bushes this month with a fungicide to kill the black spot spores overwintering in the soil.
Earth up tall Brussel sprout stems to support them against winter winds. Cut back your asparagus ferns when they have turned yellow, and put a layer of well rotted compost on top of the crowns. Lift and divide established clumps of rhubarb to renew the plant’s vigour. Sections taken from the outside of the plant are better than those from the centre. Now is the perfect time to prune fruit trees to maintain an open, balanced structure and encourage quality fruit production. However plums, cherries and other stone fruits should not be pruned until the summer as winter pruning will make them susceptible to silver leaf fungus.