Gardening for the seasons


Trees, Shrubs and Climbers for Winter Interest. 

Attractive Flowers or Buds: 

  • Hamamelis ”Witch Hazels”
  • Viburnum x bodnantense ‘Dawn’
  • Skimmia japonica ‘Rubella’
  • Viburnum tinus ‘Eve Price’
  • Mahonia varieties
  • Garrya elliptica
  • ‘Jasminum nudiflorum
  • Lonicea ‘Winter Beauty’
  • Sarcococca
  • Rhododenron, e.g. ‘Christmas Cheer’
  • Daphne mezereum

Colourful Stems: Cornus alba varieties e.g. ‘Sibirica’ 

  • Cornus stolonifea ‘Flaviramea’
  • Acer palmatum ‘Senkaki’ (sango-kaku)
  • Betula pendula
  • Betula utilis var. jacquemonii

Interesting Stems: Corylus avellana ‘Contorta’ 

  • Salix erythroflexuosa
  • Eucalyptus gunnii
  • Myrtus apiculata
  • Euonymus alatus
  • “Snakebark” Acers e.g. Acer davidii

Attractive Evergreen Foliage: Ilex (“Hollies”) 

  • Hedera (“Ivy”)
  • Senecio greyii
  • Euonymus varieties
  • Conifers (Green, gold and silver forms)
  • Heathers (Green, gold and silver forms)
  • Ferns, evergreen varieties such as ‘Polystichum munitum’
  • Phormium
  • Grasses such as Carex Evergold or Festuca glauca
  • Aucuba japonica Variegata
  • Rhododendron ‘Goldflimmer’
  • ‘Elaeagnus pungens ‘Maculata’
  • Leucothoe fontanesiana ‘Rainbow’
  • Fatsia japonica

Jobs for Winter: 

January: During mild spells, prune out dead or diseased branches from deciduous trees whilst they are bare. Treat the cuts with a pruning compound to seal them up

February: Spray your fruit trees, bushes, roses and any other bare branched plant with “Winter wash” to kill over-wintering insect eggs. (Particularly effective on roses as the last generation of aphids leave eggs as a parting “gift”). The “wash” consists of an enzyme that dissolves the eggs.

March: Start to hoe through annual weeds to prevent their flowering and seed production and be on the lookout for early herbaceous perennial shoots – the slugs will be waiting!


Trees and Shrubs for Spring Interest. 


  • Leucothoe ’Scarletta’
  • Pieris Varieties
  • Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’
  • Calluna “Heather” varieties
  • Picea abies varieties
  • Picea pungens varietie
  • Spiraea japonica, ‘Goldflame’ or ‘Firelight’
  • Flowers: Rhododendrons and Azaleas
  • Magnolia varieties
  • Prunus varieties
  • Chaenomeles varieties
  • Forsythia varieties
  • Ribes varieties
  • Berberis darwinii
  • Spiraea x arguta
  • Viburnum tinus
  • Amelanchier varieties
  • Cytisus varieties
  • Kerria varieties
  • Malus varieties
  • Pieris varieties
  • Laburnum

Jobs for Spring: 

April: The 14th is the farmer’s day, traditionally, for planting main crop potatoes.

May: Basil plants will form a woody-stemmed, small shrub if grown under cover. Six to eight plants in a grow bag will give a lot of “Come and cut again” foliage.

June: Spray roses for disease as prevention is better than cure.  Now is the time to kill the moss on paths and patios.


Trees, Shrubs and Climbers for Summer Interest 


  • Berberis thunbergii ‘Harlequin’
  • Continus cogyggria ‘Royal Purple’ or ‘Golden Spirit’
  • Parthenocissus henryana
  • Acer palmatum ‘Bloodgood’ or ‘Garnet’
  • Acer platanoides ‘Drummondii’


  • Philadelphus varieties
  • Lavandula varieties
  • Weigela varieties
  • Potentilla varieties
  • Fuchsia varieties
  • Hypericum varieties
  • Spiraea varieties, e.g. Anthony Waterer
  • Rose varieties
  • Abelia varieties
  • Buddleia varieties
  • Cistus varieties
  • X Halimiocistus varieties
  • Hebe varieties
  • Hydrangea varieties
  • Kalmia varieties
  • Lonicera varieties
  • Olearia varieties
  • Syringa varieties
  • Clematis varieties
  • Wisteria varieties
  • Jasminum varieties

Jobs for Summer: 

July: Deadhead annuals and perennials to encourage repeat flowering.

August: This is the last month for feeding the lawn with nitrogen rich fertilisers.

September: An ideal month for de-thatching and/or spiking the lawn prior to top-dressing. Take the backbreaking work out of this task by sharing the cost of hired machinery with a neighbour. You won’t believe how fast and easy it makes this daunting task.


Trees and Shrubs for Autumn Interest 


  • Acer palmatum varieties
  • Amelanchier varieties
  • Betula pendula
  • Cotinus varieties
  • Berberis x ottawensis Superba
  • Berberis thunbergii varieties
  • Cornus alba varieties
  • Cotoneaster horizantalis
  • Enkianthus campanulatus
  • Eounymus alatus
  • Hamamelis
  • Hydrangea preziosa
  • Hydrangea petiolaris
  • Prunus varieties
  • Parthenocissus
  • Vitis
  • Forsythia
  • Rhus typhina
  • Vaccineum e.g. ‘Blueberries’
  • Gingko biloba
  • Larix

Ornamental Berries and Fruits: 

  • Callicarpa
  • Cotoneaster varieties
  • Pyracantha varieties
  • Malus varieties
  • Ilex aquifolium
  • Gaultheria procumbens
  • Gaultheria mucronata
  • Skimmia reevesiana
  • Sambucus
  • Roses e.g. the rugosa varieties


  • Abelia x grandiflora
  • Calluna vulgaris varieties
  • ‘Erica’ varieties
  • Fuschia e.g. ‘Mrs Popple’
  • Hibiscus varieties

Jobs for Autumn: 

October: Now is the time to think about purchasing new plants.  It is also the time to plan your fruit garden, as now you will find the best selection of fruit trees and bushes.  Treat your lawn to an Autumn feed.

November: As an interim pruning measure, trim your bush rose with garden shears to remove the top weight.  This just protects them from winter gales. Complete the “fine pruning” in the Spring, once the last frosts have gone. Remember that floribunda roses should not be cut back as hard as the single-stemmed varieties.

December: To discourage over-wintering pests (both insect and fungal), clear away the remaining fallen leaves. These are best stored in a wire cage (e.g. chicken wire) to rot down into leaf mould.