Now is the traditional time for dividing up hellebores. The idea is that it is better to dig the plant and divide it into smaller pieces than to move the whole plant. Cut all the flowers off and divide in to individual pieces with a shoot.
Daphne odoras can be given a light prune now to keep them bushy.
Slugs and snails but particularly slugs are getting started. This is the time to nip the population explosion in the bud. Some of the slug baits do not seem to be as attractive but they can not resist bran as a lure. If you don’t want to use toxic slug bait, (which can kill household pets as well as hedgehogs), just bran alone will keep the slugs on site and docile until you get there in the morning to squish them. Cover the bran to keep it dry – we find paua shells are excellent for this purpose and unobtrusive in the garden.
It is the last chance to fill in holes and over sow patches in the lawn. Cover new sown areas with shade cloth or similar to keep the birds off and to retain moisture. Be careful using hormone sprays now to kill out flat weeds and clovers as deciduous material is starting to go in to growth. Never spray on a windy day and keep well away from deciduous plants – yours or your neighbour’s.
You should have fertilised your citrus trees by now, so don’t delay if you haven’t done it. Citrus benefits from two applications – the second one in Feburary. The summer rate for application is half the spring rate.
In the vegetable garden, you can sow all brassicas, peas and root crops now. Celery can be started in pots to be planted out in December. Likewise, pumpkin and courgettes can be sown in containers to be planted out in a few weeks.
Dwarf beans can be started in individual pots to be planted out at the end of the month.