Jonquils and daffodils are starting to show their pretty yellow faces and ericas are out in all their glory, which gives us the impression that spring is upon us but do not be deceived... it is still winter and there are still frosts to come!

This is your last chance to plant bare-root stock. This is anything deciduous including roses, grapes, stone and pome fruit, many types of nuts and all those large deciduous trees like acer (maples), liquidambar, fraxinus (ashes), prunus (ornamental plums, peaches, etc) and pyrus (ornamental pears). It is best to get these plants into the ground and settled before the sap starts to flow and buds appear.

August is also a time for pruning deciduous plants and it doesn't hurt to hit them all with some lime sulphur to control a range of fungal diseases and pests.

Other good species to plant at this time of year are hellebores to brighten up your shady areas, escallonia and raphiolepis for some lush dark green and summer flowering bulbs like gladioli and calla lilies.

This is a good time to prepare garden beds for spring planting. A top up of manure and compost and a turn or two of the soil will help to get you inspired for the coming warmer weather.

Towards the end of August it is probably safe to start pruning frost damage from your evergreen plants so that when the warm weather hits they can get straight down to the business of producing new growth.

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