Prune winter flowering shrubs that have finished flowering such as Viburnum x bodnantense as the next crop of flowers are borne on stems grown throughout the year; leave it too late and you will end up cutting off next season’s flowering buds
Now is a good time to prune conservatory climbers inside and outside to prune wisteria and roses as well as hardy evergreen hedges
Deciduous grasses can be cut back hard
Make something new for free
Some deciduous shrubs such as dogwood and willow are grown especially for their brightly coloured winter stems. To keep the stems brightly coloured they need to be cut back to almost ground level just before growth starts in early to mid spring. If you’ve got willow growing in your garden now is the time to cut back those stems. Instead of getting rid of the cut stems turn them into something useful like a willow hedge as they will easily form new roots simply by pushing the cut stems into the soil.
Trim all stems to roughly the same length cutting off the soft tip at the top of each stem. Plant stems in a row at an angle pushing each one 20-30cm (9-12”) into the soil and the same distance apart. Weave and tie the tops together as in the picture below and in a few weeks’ time they will start to sprout new leaves creating an almost instant hedge
Useful bit of kitIf you want to start vegetable crops early, seeds will germinate quicker if the soil has been warmed beforehand. An easy way to do this is to cover the area with horticultural fleece, a fine, floaty semi permeable material available from most Garden Centres
Horticultural Fleece can also be used to protect young seedlings from birds and, because of the way it has been made, it will still allow sufficient sunlight through for the seeds to grow and is light enough not to damage the plants