Now is the time to start thinking about changes to be made in your garden, particularly in your flower beds. You don’t need to do anything at the moment except plan.
Go carefully round your garden with a notebook and decide whether any plants are too crowded and need dividing. This is a good way of getting more plants for free. When you decide that plants need dividing, label them. Herbaceous plants disappear in the winter and it is easy to forget exactly where ther are. If you can take photographs of them, so much the better.Often herbaceous plants start to die in the centre and only flower round the edges. This is a good sign that it needs lifting and dividing. Don’t do it now though, wait until early spring.
You may also decide that some plants should have been supported. Make a note of that also. It is a good idea to actually buy your supports for next year, so that they are ready when you do need them.
You should put supports in before they are needed so that they are covered by the foliage of the plants. Plants such as peony need multi-supports. You can do this by ringing the whole plant with supports and tying the stems in when needed. This stops the whole plant from ‘flopping over’ and becoming very untidy. Some plants, like Sunflowers just need a single stake. You can use bamboo sticks for that but there are now some really nice looking stakes available which are attractive in their own right and do not stick out like a sore thumb before they are clothed by the plant.
Often, you will decide that a plant is in the wrong place and that it would look better elsewhere. Make a note to do this at the right time of the year.
I said that there are very few jobs to now, however there are two things that it is a goodidea to do.
The first is to cut back Lavender. If you live in the south where the weather is warmer, this can be left until Spetember, but if you live further North, do it now. Cut the flower heads back to where they started growing this year. You should have a neat little ball when you have finished. If you do this, your lavender plant should last about ten years. If you don’t , it will rapidly become very woody and you will need to replace it in three or four years.
The second job is to cut back buddlea when they finish flowering. This will help to stop damage by winds and snow during the winter. You do the main pruning in March but just cut them back slightly when they finish floewering to lessen their profile to the winds.