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It's time to: January


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Dunk ant-infested pot plants into seaweed solution until bubbles stop. This will refresh plant roots, improve potting mix and deal with the ants.

Take a deep breath and prune the lavender even though it still looks lovely. Arrange trimmings in vases, or hang bunches upside down somewhere cool and dark to dry. Trim other Mediterranean favourites too, such as catmint, sage, thyme and rosemary.

Prune wisteria into shape by reducing long tendrils, making cuts above the short buds that will be next year’s flowers.

Too hot? Find a shady spot and a book. We’re enjoying Holly Kerr Forsyth’s Country gardens, Country Hospitality. Read an extract on page 48.



Add a splash of colour with agastache, a small shrub which flowers between October and April, has a tangy fragrance and comes in a variety of hot colours.

Tip prune basil to thicken up the bush. Harvest by removing a whole stem to ground level, which encourages new shoots and fresh tasty leaves.

Raise the mower blades slightly as longer grass stays greener.

Keep weeding, feeding, deadheading and watering.


When you have 30 minutes

Adjust the compost. Do a simple ph test with one of the kits available at nurseries. Most compost will be overly acidic, so that adding it to the garden can spoil rather than improve the soil. We adjust the acidity of the compost as we go, by adding in some dolomite lime from time to time. You can use horticultural lime to raise the pH reading, but we prefer dolomite lime, which is essentially just rock crushed almost a powder. It has a slower and gentler action than lime and is also a good source of magnesium and calcium, which prevent blossom end rot in tomatoes and zucchini.

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Author: Linda Ross