Happy New Year and Welcome Back to Your Garden

Winter Garden Scene

Happy new year to all our readers and we hope that you all managed some quality downtime during the festive season.

Now that we are into 2021 we can start to plan our activities in the garden. Hopefully you will get some weather that is suitable for outside jobs, but there are also jobs for the greenhouse if you have one.

Some of the January jobs for the various elements of your garden include the following.


  • If the ground is not frozen, now is the time to plant bare-root roses, shrubs and hedging
  • If you buy snowdrops and hellebores in flower you can choose your favourite blooms and establish new colonies
  • In preparation for next Christmas – I know it has only just gone !! – press mistletoe berries in the bark of apple trees to establish new mistletoe plants
  • Deadhead winter pansies and other bedding plants regularly
  • Climbing roses will also benefit from pruning while they are dormant

Fruit and Vegetables

  • Winter pruning of apple and pear trees to remove and dead, damaged or diseased branches
  • Ensure all your seeds are in date, and if any are out of date, make a note which you need to replace
  • Prune fruit bushes such as gooseberries and redcurrents cutting back to three buds from base
  • Ordering of new plants may be even more important to do in a timely manner this year, given the situation. Plan and order for spring planting of seed potatoes, onions, shallots and garlic bulbs

In the Greenhouse

  • Sow winter salads for early harvesting. If you don’t have a greenhouse you can sow these in a conservatory or on a windowsill that gets full sun
  • Potted strawberries should be moved under cover to benefit from early fruiting
  • Check plants for bugs and take remedial action where necessary
  • Start planting seeds for hardy annuals [ i.e. cornflowers, cerinthe, ammi ] in trays ready for early flowering
window sill with early plants

Garden Maintenance

  • Bird baths need daily fresh water, and water may need melting on colder days. Birds will also appreciate bird boxes in sheltered spots before their nesting season starts and don’t forget high energy food helps birds through the sparse winter months
  • Repair any fencing that has been damaged by winter gales
  • Ensure that the lawnmower is in good working order and carry out any maintenance sooner rather than later when everybody else needs the local deal to service their equipment
  • Check all garden irrigation systems to ensure they are in good working order and have not suffered from the poorer weather

For more information on January jobs, visit Gardeners World


In autumn, after a summer of leaf and flower growth, shrubs and perennials are busy growing their roots. If the temperature is warm or if it’s dry and windy in autumn, plants can quickly start to dehydrate and may need some watering every week or two to help the roots along.

Begonia Perennial

Wind is drying and may prevent the moisture in a plant from travelling down into its roots. It’s important to make sure they have adequate water to deal with high winds and cold temperatures. South facing plants and newly planted plants especially need water.

Watering in winter is not necessarily top of everyone’s list with the darker evenings and cold weather.

Autumn Leaves

One way to avoid worrying about a watering regime is to install an automatic garden watering system. If you would like more information on watering systems for your garden, check out our page on Irrigation

If you don’t have an irrigation system, make sure your hose and sprinkler are kept away from frost. Freezing will not only cause damage but will also make it more difficult to water as necessary.

For more information regarding Perennials, check out the RHS Website

More Autumnal Jobs

In autumn you should clear away spent plants on the vegetable plot before they start to rot and become a host to pests and diseases. Remove any plants in borders which show signs of disease such as rust and fungus. Removing diseased plants helps to keep other plants healthy through the winter.

Plant Disease

For more information on how to reduce the spread of diseases and to deal with the disposal of diseased plants, check out the RHS Website

Checklist for October

October Pumpkins

October is a busy month for gardeners. We hope your pumpkins are spectacular this year!

From planting bulbs for spring flowers to wrapping up to prevent frost damage, the weather in the UK garden may not be bright and sunny, but jobs done now will sow the seeds for a fantastic garden next year!

If you have a garden irrigation system, be sure to change settings so that you are not over-watering plants over the wet autumn / winter months.

Your greenhouse can benefit from a spruce up at this time of the year – sunshine is at a premium so make sure the glass is as clean as it can be to let in as much light as possible.  Also, ensure you have adjusted any automatic watering systems to the correct level for the cooler months.

General garden maintenance should include raking up leaves, look after the lawn by feeding and spiking – brushing in some gravel to the spike holes to aid drainage and irrigation next year.

October Leaves

Some specific flowers to plant now include crocuses & daffodils, while vegetables to be planted at this time of the year include hardy broad beans, peas and garlic.

Finally, make sure the shed is watertight for the winter storage of furniture, pots etc.

You can find much more information on October Jobs here on Gardeners World.

Happy “Octobering”.

Month By Month in the Garden

Do you have monthly checklists for jobs in your garden?  It can be easy to overlook tasks at some times of the year.

The BBC’s Gardeners World gives us some great lists of jobs for each month of the year.

Did you miss anything from the August checklist?

Did you remember to deadhead your perennials; Do you have a wonderful wildflower meadow area? If so, late August is a good time to strim or mow those areas as the plants will already have scattered their seeds.

If you did manage to get away in August, did you have any watering systems set up for hanging baskets, or other areas of the garden that need consistent watering in late summer?  Plan ahead for next year and look at the irrigation watering systems that are available.

Your September list includes the collection of ripe seeds to store safely over the winter for planting next year; take your cuttings now from plants such as fuchsias and of course leave the sunflower seeds for the birds to feast on!

For more information on useful hints, tips, and monthly task lists visit Gardeners’ World website.

Growing Tomatoes !

Tomato plant

It’s always fun and easy to grow tomato plants, watching and waiting for the first fruits to ripen ready for eating. 

However, with a little extra care and attention you can help and encourage your plants to produce more for longer.

Feeding your plants weekly and regular watering will prevent the fruits from splitting or developing hard black patches.

The longer you leave the fruits on the plant, so they ripen naturally the better the flavour. As we head towards the end of the tomato season, remove the older leaves as this will allow extra light and prevent disease such as grey mould fungus setting in.

Don’t Forget the Birds

Don’t forget the birds need watering too 😃

During the summer months while we take the time to water our plants and gardens to keep them looking their best at all times, we shouldn’t forget the birds.

Keeping bird baths topped up is as important as filling your bird feeders.
Ensuring your bird bath is kept clean and full of fresh water helps to keep the birds hydrated, clean and disease free throughout the year.


Did you know, that most birds drink by dipping their beak in the water and throwing their head back to swallow, however, pigeons and doves are able to immerse their beaks and can drink continuously.

Will there be a hosepipe ban in 2020?

Thankfully it doesn’t look like it but you can check any updates in your area by going to hosepipeban.org.uk.

South East Water did report a “huge demand” on their network due to
more people being at home during lockdown and the hot and dry weather in May.

“We’ve been treating and pumping an additional 78 million litres of
water a day through our network,” the company said.

The Met Office said this past Spring was one of the driest on
record with some regions seeing about a third of their normal rainfall

The Environment Agency said: “Most companies across the country have
appropriate water reserves for this time of year” and that reservoir levels are
not unusually low.

Underground stocks are above average and overall, the prospects of a
hosepipe ban in 2020 are quite low, though a continued dry spell and an
extended lockdown period may change this.

First choice for leading house builders

As one of the country’s best known house builders, David Wilson Homes has a reputation for creating high quality property developments with instant kerb appeal.

A long-term, trusted supplier to the company, Instant Rain was recently appointed to provide on-site irrigation to David Wilson’s prestigious developments at Castle View, Speen and Newbury Racecourse.

Working in conjunction with David Wilson’s own team of architects and garden designers, Instant Rain ensured that entrance ways, show homes and surrounding green spaces have been efficiently and sympathetically irrigated with a system of sprinklers, drip feeders and dedicated water sources.

Demand for the new homes has been high. Little wonder, given their superb design and build quality – not to mention their lush and colourful gardens, planters and hanging baskets!

Here to help

Thinking about an irrigation or need service and advice regarding your existing system? The Instant Rain team is always happy to help. Call or email us today – we look forward to working with you.