Maintaining a beautiful garden all year round requires plenty of hard work. Whether you’re a Chelmsford gardener with years of experience, or a newbie to the gardening world, there a few key things you need to know to keep your garden looking lush throughout the seasons. As a gardener in Essex it is vital that you know what to do in your outdoor space and when, to help your garden reach its full potential. You should be able to enjoy your garden throughout the Summer and Spring, and that means focusing on garden maintenance and preparation when the weather turns colder. Your experienced Chelmsford gardener, Barry from BD Gardens, shares his ultimate gardening calendar for keeping your garden in top shape throughout the year.
The first month of the year is often the coldest, and it can be easy to dismiss your garden as you are unlikely to be spending much time outdoors. January is actually the best month for planning your garden for the coming year, as the days begin to lengthen, and your garden begins to grow. As a Chelmsford gardener, here are my top tips for gardening in January:
- Check your winter protection such as stakes, supports and ties after any severe weather conditions.
- If there is any snow fall, be sure to clear snow from shrubs and plants to avoid any damage.
- Prune bushes back and aim to create an open framework of about 5 main branches.
- Pot on anything sown in Autumn, such as sweet peas, and place in a sunny greenhouse or windowsill.
- Mulch your borders in preparation for the months ahead.
- Harvest any winter vegetables such as swede, parsnips, sprouts, leeks and turnips.
- Order any seeds you want to grow later in the year.
- Clean your plant pots and greenhouses ready for the Spring.
As the light levels and temperature slowly begins to increase, we see the first signs of Spring approaching in February. Bulbs will begin to appear towards the end of the month and gardeners in Essex begin to prepare for the season ahead. When gardening in February you should concentrate on these top jobs:
- Prune your shrubs, climbers and hedges.
- Prepare any vegetable seed beds and sow some seeds under cover.
- Prune any winter-flowering shrubs that have finished their flowering.
- Reshape your borders and remove any weeds that cropped up over Winter.
- Cutback deciduous grasses in late February.
- Sow seeds for lettuce, broad beans etc and place in a greenhouse for an earlier harvest.
- Clean any patio areas and driveways with a jet wash.
By mid-March it should begin to feel like Spring has arrived, and gardeners in Essex will begin to experience some regular sunny days. March is a great month for a Chelmsford gardener to really get stuck in with an increasing range of gardening tasks such as:
- Planting summer-flowering bulbs.
- Planting onions, shallots and early potatoes.
- Protecting new spring shoots from the slugs and snails.
- Cutting the grass, on dry days.
- Mulch and hoe any weeds, to get them under early control.
- Cutting back winter shrubs.
- Any general tidying up around the garden that was missed during the cold months.
Daffodils and other flowers begin to bloom in April, and Spring is in full swing by the fourth month of the year. April showers are to be expected, but there will also be plenty of sunny days to get on with your gardening. April is a busy month for a Chelmsford gardener, and your focus in the garden this month should be:
- Keeping on top of general garden maintenance regularly, such as grass cutting and weeding.
- Feeding shrubs and roses.
- Protecting any fruit blossoms from frost, which can still be a problem in April.
- Removing any faded flowers from the Spring bulbs but be sure to leave the foliage until it’s withered.
- Planting any new trees and shrubs and move any existing ones if necessary.
- Sowing vegetables including carrots, beetroot, lettuce, radish, turnips, spinach, parsnips and peas, if you haven’t done so already.
May often sees the first glimpses of Summer, and herbaceous borders will be growing well as bulbs begin to fade. Grass will be enjoying the warmer temperatures and it is vital to keep on top of regular mowing to keep your lawn in check. Other gardening tasks for May include:
- Clip back hedges and trees, checking for any nesting birds beforehand.
- Divide any overcrowded clumps of spring-flowering bulbs such as daffodils.
- Earth up potatoes and plant any that haven’t yet been planted.
- Weed all the beds regularly; May is a fast period of growth so it is vital to keep on top of weeding.
- Trim all the borders regularly to keep them neat and tidy.
- As the weather warms, direct sow sweetcorn and French beans.
- Cutback shrubs that are looking a bit leggy, including lavender, aster, nepeta, sedum, salvia and echinops.
As Summer finally arrives and we see the longest day of the year on 21stJune, the additional light and warmer weather will encourage your garden to really bloom. Although this is great for your plants, veg and shrubs, it means weeds will also be sprouting up regularly. June is one of the busiest months for a Chelmsford gardener, as many gardening jobs must be completed, such as:
- Regularly hoeing borders and keeping weeds at bay.
- Harvesting early potatoes, lettuces, radishes and other salads.
- Placing summer containers and hanging baskets.
- Regularly cutting lawns, at least once a week.
- Staking any tall or flopping plants.
- Trimming box hedging where necessary.
- Sowing carrots and other veg for an Autumn and Winter harvest.
July is usually one of the hottest months of the year and is a popular time to be outdoors enjoying your garden. With many enjoying Summer barbecues and garden parties, it is essential to keep outdoor spaces looking pristine. The essential gardening jobs in July include:
- Regularly dead-heading plants to keep them looking fresh and help them bloom for longer.
- Keeping all plants well-watered and fed.
- Keep on top of weeding and grass cutting at least weekly.
- Turn any compost heaps.
- Trim any evergreen hedges.
- Cut back half of flowering perennials including delphiniums and lupins.
- Plan and order any bulbs you need for Autumn planting.
Another lovely hot month for a Chelmsford gardener is August, and this time of the year it is essential to water your plants regularly. If you are setting off on your Summer holidays, get yourself a Gardener in Essex to come by and keep your garden in shape, or enlist the help of friends to water whilst you’re away. In August you should be:
- Pruning back summer-flowering shrubs such as wisteria and lavender once they have finished flowering.
- Watering everywhere, paying particular attention to potted plants, hanging baskets and new plants.
- Harvesting vegetables such as sweetcorn as they become ready.
- Feeding your soil and beds with plenty of manure.
- Continuing to deadhead all plants when necessary.
- Keeping on top of grass cutting and edges, if the weather is dry you may not need to cut the grass as regularly.
The days will begin to cool as September draws in and the daylight hours are noticeably shorter. This is the time to reap the rewards of any vegetable harvests you have planted throughout the year. As a Chelmsford gardener, my top gardening jobs for September are:
- Collecting and sowing seeds from hardy annuals and perennials.
- Digging up remaining vegetables and potatoes.
- Cleaning out greenhouses so they are fresh and ready for the Autumn season ahead.
- Planting any Spring flowering bulbs.
- Clearing leaves as they begin to fall towards the end of the month.
- Planting shallots and onions that are suitable for over wintering.
- Planning for any landscaping projects to be completed over the winter, including replacing old fences and building patios.
In October, we know that Autumn is well and truly upon us, and the warmer days of September have been replaced with colder and greyer days. As a Chelmsford gardener, I spend October clearing the ever-falling leaves and preparing for those early frosts. The gardening jobs for October are:
- Cut back any perennials that have died down.
- Move plants into greenhouses or conservatories where necessary.
- Harvest apples, grapes, pears and nuts.
- Prune back any climbing roses.
- Collect seeds from the garden for the next year.
- Continue to mow the grass at cut back hedges when required.
- Mulch any borders with compost.
Leaves will be falling rapidly in November, and gardens need full protection from rain, wind and frost. As the first signs of Winter begin to show, a Chelmsford gardener should be focused on:
- Clearing all the fallen leaves from lawns, beds, patios and ponds.
- Raising any containers to avoid waterlogging.
- Planting bulbs such as tulips for a Spring bloom.
- Cutting back the foliage and flowers of herbaceous perennials.
- Planting fruit trees for the following year.
December sees the shortest day of the year, and many of us keeping busy preparing for the festive season. However, there is still work to be done outdoors, and Gardeners in Essex should be focusing on:
- Checking all winter protection structures are secure.
- Checking that greenhouse heaters are working appropriately.
- Pruning any birches, acers and vines to avoid bleeding.
- Harvesting root crops such as parsnips, leeks and winter cabbages.
- Clearing remaining plant debris and compost.
If you need a hand looking after your garden throughout the year, get in touch with Barry at BD Gardens. An experienced Chelmsford gardener, covering all areas of Essex. The family run team can help with everything from general garden maintenance to larger landscaping projects or garden redesigns. Call or text on 07449 910771, or contact us online for a free, no obligation quote