Climate change and globalisation are having an impact on our gardens and the planet as a whole. We can reduce this impact by buying UK grown plants produced where possible from local nurseries. This reduces your gardens carbon footprint and removes the risk of importing harmful insects and disease that can piggy back into the UK on imported plants. Plant labels are useful. If the label says plant in shade with moist soil, don't buy it and plant it in sun on sandy soil. It will probably die.
When choosing any materials for your garden; from paving to compost, consider the impact of the product on the environment and the people who produced it. Composts with peat in are very bad for the environment and cheap paving slabs from abroad have often been quarried at great risk to the workers who are often children. Make sure the products you select have been responsibly and ethically sourced by the supplier.
Hedges are best planted from bare root between November to March. Hedge clipping starts in April/May and again in August/ September. Fast growing hedges may need clipping every 6 weeks between April and September depending on weather. Pruning needs to be carried out at the correct time of year to encourage healthy growth and improve flower or fruit production. Many deciduous shrubs are best rejuvenated or pruned over the winter months or early spring. If evergreens are to be pruned its best left until May.
Wherever possible choose plants that are suited to their position and they will grow well without the need for additional watering. But if watering is needed on occasions, then irrigation systems are claimed to use 10 per cent less water than a garden hose, so are worth considering in these circumstances.
Gardeners prune trees and shrubs to remove weak, diseases or damaged stems and branches. This encourages healthy growth with more flowers and fruit. It can also be used to the natural habit and size of a plant or create more stylised shapes or patterns in the form of topiary or hedging.
Embrace them! The UK's seasons, with careful planting choices, create gardens which change appearance and colour dramatically from month to month. Be selective when you tidy perrenials that have finished flowering as many have seed heads that provide shelter and food for wildlife and interesting silhouettes throughout the winter months.