The garden is full of odd jobs that need attention

The garden is full of odd jobs that need attention
Green Fingers


At this time of year when your garden shows the bare bones of its skeleton, you can see things that you normally don’t and it’s much easier to reach the bits that need attention.

Fix or replace broken fence posts or panels, if left to blow over and back in the wind you may end up replacing more than the original broken one. To help prolong the lifespan of outdoor timber, it needs to be treated every year with a timber preservative.

There is a wide range available, some are a combination of wood stain and preservative. Water-based timber preservatives are more eco-friendly than oil-based ones, but tend not to be as good or last as long.

If you treat the wood every year you may get away with one coat but for best results apply two coats. It’s a job best left for when a dry spell is forecast. Make sure to keep all paint and preservative products off plants, even when they are dormant.

Garden tools should be cleaned and put away each time you use them, but this is not always done. They are usually just shoved back wet and covered in muck.

Regular cleaning and oiling will prolong the working life of your tools. Now when you are not using them as much, give them a wash and scrub, and scrape off any hard-set muck. Wipe all wooden handles with a clean rag dipped in boiled linseed oil.

Spray the metal parts with lubricating oil. While you have the spray can of oil in your hands, go around and oil the locks, latches and hinges you have around the garden and anything else you think may benefit from some oil.

The flower stems of hellebores are starting to push up. If you cut back the old leaves to ground level the flowers can be seen much better. During a long cold spell, winter flowering pansies may shut down temporarily, so afterwards dead head them and cut away any dead stems and leaves. They will soon recover.


After you pruned your wisteria in July, it has spent the rest of the year growing. There are long tendrils growing all over the place. Go over the whole plant and cut back all the side shoots to 8-10cm/3-4in leaving two or three buds. Tie in any long stems that you need to expand the plant’s area of growth.

Remember when working up a ladder, make sure it is level at the bottom and the top is tied to something secure.

Prune overgrown shrubs again, cut back overgrown deciduous hedges and prune out-of-control climbers such as ivies, Virginia creeper, Boston ivy and climbing hydrangea. These climbers don’t need regular pruning, but when they spread too far and start to hang down, it’s time to thin them out and cut them back.