Repair or replace broken fences
Now is the perfect time before new growth starts and quickly covers the fence, putting the structure under even more pressure.
Find out what to do about a neighbour's tatty fence
Keep paths clear
It hardly needs saying but do watch that paths don’t become lethal in the cold and wet. There are plenty of gadgets for such jobs – pressure hoses and what not – but a stiff metal brush on a long handle works well and warms the muscles.
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Berries and currants
Cut down to the ground autumn fruiting raspberry canes.
Blackcurrants should be pruned. On established bushes aim to remove a third of old wood (two years and more) cutting down to the base of the stems.
Red and white currants and gooseberries should be winter pruned if not yet done.
Apples and pears
Apple and pear trees need pruning now if not already done.
Find out how to prune an overgrown apple tree
Plant onions and garlic sets
One of the most satisfying and easy of garden jobs. Plant the sets leaving the tips just showing. Do watch out that the birds don’t tug some of your freshly sprouting babies out again.
Usually, this annoyance is quickly remedied by snipping off any longer tips before planting and by planting before the shoots sprout (which I failed to do last year). But if you find any lifted sets lying on top of the soil simply firm them back into the earth. After the first couple of weeks the roots usually put themselves down and such troubles should be over.
Tip If you garden on heavy clay soil it’s worth waiting a little longer until the earth warms up.
Find out how to grow garlic and onions
In the borders
Depending on where you live, what the weather has been like and how much longer you can keep looking at frost scorched skeletons in the border you might want to start giving flower borders a bit of a tidy, cutting down perennials and weeding as you go. If, though, hard frosts and further sharp cold is forecast, you may be better holding off for a while yet.
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Prune winter flowering shrubs once they have finished blooming. If you don’t have any already do consider buying some winter scent. Daphne, viburnum, sarcococca are all wonderful at giving you a bit of a fillip as you walk past and catch a drift of their sweet smell on low, dark days.
Now is also the time to winter prune wisteria.
Find out how to prune wisteria
Now’s the time to buy snowdrops in the green, that is when they are in season. Most will be happy planted anywhere that’s damp and partly shaded.
If you have established clumps that are getting congested it’s a good idea to dig these up and break apart the bulbs, replanting with space between. This way you can help to avoid disease.
After flowering snowdrops can be given a slight boost after their exertions with couple of weekly liquid feeds using a tomato fertiliser.
Find out how to grow snowdrops
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