Tips of the Month


Sow seeds of biennials such as foxgloves, wallflowers and Sweet Williams in a seed bed or in containers.

Sow brassicas for Autumn/Winter harvest.

Stake flowers that are likely to flop such as delphiniums and sunflowers.

Chop perennials such as Oriental poppies and lupins back to the base for potentially a second flush of flowers.

Take softwood cuttings from shrubs such as mock orange & hydrangeas using non-flowering shoots up to 10cm long.

Feed tomatoes when the fruit starts to set.

Pick off plums so that fruit are 4 inches apart to avoid too many fruits which will rot.

Water in dry weather and feed flowers and fruits weekly with tomato feed or liquid seaweed solution.


Still just enough time to plant late potatoes.

Prune early Spring shrubs such as Forsythia, Ribes and Kerria after flowering to give them maximum time to regrow and flower next year.

Don’t mow your lawn in May – ‘No Mow May’ – allow grass to grow long to provide habitats for bees, butterflies and other wildlife.

Sow winter veg such as cauliflower and purple sprouting broccoli.

Sow French and runner beans under cover.

Prune wall trained Pyracanthas.

Water newly planted trees and shrubs.

Cut out frost damage to evergreen shrubs.

Weed paths and patios.


Deadhead Spring bedding – remove faded blooms from primroses, pansies and other bedding.

Sow hardy annual seeds outside.

Prune penstemons, cut just above fresh new shoots

Deadhead faded daffodil and tulip flowers but only take off the flowers – don’t cut back the stems.

If frost is forecast protect fruit blossom on trees such as plums, apricots, peaches and pears.

Sow seeds of marrow, courgette, pumpkins and squash under cover.

Sow root crops such as beetroot & carrot outside when the soil has warmed –

February & March.

These are the months when we can get back into our gardens – with more daylight hours and some days of sunny Spring weather.


Prune shrub roses & climbing roses – rambler roses should be pruned after flowering.

Prune soft fruit bushes – Autumn fruiting Raspberries (Summer fruiting Raspberries should be pruned in September): Currants, Gooseberries & Blueberries.

Clear garden borders of dead growth which you have kept during the winter months to provide shelter to insects.

Weed borders – clear perennial weeds and annual weeds but don’t hoe emerging bulbs or perennials.

Mulch borders with garden compost or well-rotted manure.

Start seed sowing under cover indoors on windowsills or in a greenhouse/conservatory/porch – Aubergine, Chillis, Peppers & Tomatoes need a long growing period.

Chit seed potatoes before planting them out at the end of March/beginning of April.

Some vegetable seeds can be sown outdoors towards the end of March – carrots, broad beans and parsnips.

Repair bare patches in lawns – seed over bare patches.

Beware though- Weather Forecasters are predicting another ‘Beast from the East’ at the beginning of March – so don’t sow seeds outside until after that!!

Starting a garden from scratch

At the February meeting of Aldersbrook Horticultural Society, Myanah Saunders, a gardener friend from Forest Gate spoke about how she had created a new garden from scratch after moving into a smaller property with a smaller garden. It was fascinating to listen to how she planned her garden, anticipating what her garden needed to be like as she got older. She had raised beds put in to make planting and weeding easier and several arches to add height and interest to her garden. She also introduced artificial grass to reduce the need for mowing. As well as talking about her new garden Myanah gave us many interesting facts about who gardens and why and how they garden. She also gave us a potted history of gardening from gardening during Egyptian times to the present day accompanied by some colourful slides. Myanah is heavily involved in the Forest Gate Community Garden and she was able to update us on events happening in that garden, which we recommend that people visit.