Flower Gardening Month by Month

January

  • Bastard trench land intended for new flower borders.
  • Lightly fork over surface of existing herbaceous borders.
  • Plant shrubs of all kinds.
  • Plant herbaceous perennials.
  • Tread perennials in that were planted in November or December, after a thaw. Get catalogue from the seedsman and order your annuals. Protect hairy foliaged alpines with sheets of glass over, them, held in position, 150 mm (6 in) above, by clips. Prepare land for sweet peas. Prepare land for dahlias and chrysanthemums. Rake dead leaves and rubbish off rock gardens and shrubberies.

February

  • Build a new rock garden.
  • Make a garden pool.
  • Plant hardy perennials.
  • Plant roses.
  • Thin growths of climbing roses.
  • Firm plants of winter bedding, loose in soil.
  • Lift and divide perennials if necessary.
  • Protect early flowering irises.

March

  • Sow seeds of many hardy annuals in the south.
  • Sow sweet peas.
  • Complete the planting of hardy perennials.
  • Thin out autumn sown annuals.
  • Complete the planting of roses or hardy shrubs.
  • Start pruning rose trees towards the end of the month.
  • Plant out carnations that have been over-wintering in frames. Start giving support to perennials towards the end of the month. Give top dressing of compost if necessary in rock garden. Top dress azaleas and rhododendrons with sedge peat. Plant corms of gladioli. Plant hardy types of lilies. Protect young perennials from slugs by using Draza pellets.

April

  • Sow seeds of hardy annuals (in north).
  • Continue sowing hardy annuals in south.
  • Sow ‘baby’ hardy annuals in pockets in rock garden.
  • Hoe perennial flower border.
  • Hoe shrubberies.
  • Plant out sweet peas raised in greenhouse.
  • In south plant out penstemons and calceolarias towards end of month. Plant out violas which have been over-wintering in frames. Plant out pansies.
  • Thin out hardy annuals sown earlier. Complete the pruning of roses. Plant out alpines in rock garden. Plant early flowering chrysanthemums towards the end of the month in south. Prune back rampant growing rock plants. Feed polyanthuses and auriculas with Marinure. Plant out the hollyhocks. Take basal growths of perennials and strike as cuttings in sandy soil covered with cloches. Pinch dead flowers off pansies and violas regularly. Sow seeds of sweet scented annuals.

May

Plant out early flowering chrysanthemums in north. Plant out dahlias after the middle of the month. Sow hardy annuals for successional flowering. Sow seeds of polyanthus and auriculas for flowering next spring. Lift and divide polyanthus after flowering. Hoe through flower borders regularly. Pull up the winter bedding plants after the middle of the month. They should have by then finished flowering. Get the borders prepared for summer bedding plants. After the 15th of the month plant out half-hardy annuals. See that the bedding plants are well watered towards the end of the month if the weather is dry. Seeds of half-hardy annuals may be sown out of doors about the second week. Sow seeds of the biennials about the middle of the month, i.e. forget-me-nots, canterbury bells, wallflowers, etc. Tie in the rambler rose shoots as they start to grow, to prevent them being damaged. Keep cutting off dead flower heads in the rock garden. Remove all the seeding heads from rhododendrons and other similar bulbs. Cut down the early flowering plants in the herbaceous border. Continue lifting polyanthus and auriculas. Divide them and transplant to a nursery bed. Thin out all the annuals sown earlier to give them plenty of room to grow.

June

  • Cut roses and sweet peas regularly to keep them flowering.
  • Cut the anchusas, delphiniums and lupins to the ground – immediately they have finished flowering.
  • Sow seeds of biennials like wallflowers, forget-me-nots and alyssum about the middle of the month for winter bedding – if not already done. Propagate arabis, aubretia and alyssum by cuttings put in sandy soil in a shady border. If the weather is dry, water the annuals thoroughly. If droughty, water the newly-planted bedding stuff thoroughly. See that the rock garden is thoroughly watered in dry weather. Keep the rose beds soaked if dry and you will help to prevent mildew. Prune earlier flowering hardy shrubs about the end of the month. Sow seeds of some of the perennials. Cut the flowers regularly in the cut flower border and the plants will go on flowering. Thin out and transplant annuals sown in the spring. Transplant biennials 150 mm (6 in) square from earlier sowings. Protect catmint (Nepeta mussini) from cats. Cut back rampaging growing plants in rock garden. Propagate certain perennials like anchusas, phlox and dephiniums by means of root cuttings. Pinch out the main growths of clarkias, godetias and helichrysums to make them branch out. Propagate pinks by cuttings or pipings inserted in sandy soil. Propagate pansies and iberis by cuttings. Keep spraying with a good nicotine wash to keep down pests. Keep using Draza pellets and fine bone meal to control slugs if necessary. Keep training climbing roses as the new growths develop.

July

  • Continue propagating alyssum and arabis by cuttings. Many rock plants may be propagated by cuttings in sandy soil in a frame. Continue propagating pinks by pipings.
  • Feed the roses once every three weeks with Marinure if necessary. Feed the sweet peas in a similar manner. Sow more wallflowers if necessary. Keep cutting flowers regularly in cut flower border. Lift the sweet Williams and canterbury bells when over.
  • Plant the spaces with late bedding plants. Cut the pansies back hard and replant if necessary in a reserve garden. Remove seed heads from all flowers in herbaceous border. Stake and tie up all dahlias and thin out growths if necessary. Support border chrysanthemums, and disbud them for large blooms. Continue to hoe through flower borders and shrub borders.

August

  • If going on holiday this month, cut down all flowering plants before you go. Make notes of the herbaceous border with a view to re-planning in the winter. Feed sweet peas and roses with Marinure. Remove all suckers from around rose bushes. Plant out Brompton stocks. Plant bulbs in wild garden.
  • Plant out seedling pansies to make an edge for a border. Keep hoeing all flower and shrub borders. Prepare beds for planting narcissus, daffodils, tulips, etc. Propagate pansies from cuttings. Propagate violas from cuttings. Take cuttings from fuchsias. Thin out growths of Michaelmas daisies for better blooms. Take rose cuttings. Layer outdoor carnations.

September

Make a list of the climbers, perennials, or bulbs you will need and order them right away. Keep cutting the flowers regularly in the cut flower border. Keep thinning out the growth of Michaelmas daisies if necessary. See that all late flowering plants like chrysanthemums, dahlias and Michaelmas daisies are properly staked and supported. Plant the polyanthuses in their flowering positions. About the middle of the month sow hardy annuals that will over-winter. Sweep up all leaves and put on the compost heap to rot down. Cut the suckers from roses right to their base. Cut back rampant growths of climbers, wistaria, clematis or roses if necessary. Take cuttings of pentstemons, calceolarias or alyssum in a frame or under cloches. Sever carnation layers and replant. Plant out pink pipings or cuttings which should now be ‘struck’. Keep spraying with a good derris wash to keep down pests. Keep hoeing flower borders and flowering shrub borders.

October When frost ruins them, cut down dahlias, lift the roots and store. Take up summer bedding and replant with winter or spring bedding. It is now time to plant forget-me-nots, polyanthuses, wallflowers, canterbury bells, arabis, etc. This is the month for planting bulbs. This is a good month for planting alpines in the rock garden. Cut down perennial plants in the herbaceous border

directly they have finished flowering. Keep sweeping up fallen leaves and put on the compost heap to rot down. Plant new roses as soon as possible. Remove all ‘dead’ matter from rock garden. Lift tender plants and put into frame or cover with continuous cloches.

November

  • Protect Christmas roses with cloches.
  • Plant flowering trees and shrubs. I
  • Plant many kinds of evergreen shrubs.
  • Plant roses and climbers of all kinds.
  • Make new herbaceous borders.
  • Make new shrub borders.
  • Continue to plant bulbs during the first week.
  • Protect the tender herbaceous plants in the border by covering with cloches or surrounding them with old ashes. It is often damp around the crown that causes the trouble.

December

  • Start grubbing up the shrubs you do not require. Rake over the shrub border, remove leaves and put on compost heap.
  • Continue to plant the roses and climbers.
  • Dig up and replant an old herbaceous border if not already done. Cover autumn sown annuals with cloches or put pea sticks among them to break the cold winds. Remove heavy quantities of snow from bushes or climbers if likely to break the branches. Look through the flower seed catalogues as soon as they arrive and send in your order. Remake and replant any reserve flower border you may have. See that sheets of glass are protecting the fluffy-leaved plants in the rock garden. The sheets should be held 150 mm (6 in) above the plants with special clips that can be bought for the purpose.

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