Jobs for the week

Check bulbs being forced for Christmas and new year flowering regularly, to ensure they don’t dry out and that they are given light and warmth at the right time.

Bring under cover herbs potted up for forcing.

Take winter hanging baskets under cover, either into the greenhouse or porch, as they are particularly vulnerable because the compost in them is exposed to cold from all sides and can freeze solid.

Make sure any newly planted bare-root or rootballed trees which are in containers have good drainage and are slightly raised off the ground to allow excess water to drain away.

Tidy plants in winter containers, cutting off the yellowing leaves of polyanthus and primroses, and removing dead flowers using a pair of scissors.

Plant hippeastrums for spring flowering in 15cm pots of John Innes No 2 compost, burying only the lower half of each bulb. Keep pots in a humid atmosphere at about 10-13C and water sparingly until flower buds appear.

Finish taking hardwood cuttings of gooseberries and currants.

Leave a pile or grit near the front drive and any steps for use if conditions become icy.

Open greenhouse ventilators a little on sunny days but close them again quite early in the afternoon, before the temperature begins to drop, to help retain the heat of the day.

Prune greenhouse vines once the leaves have fallen and the plants are dormant for the winter.

Clean and service lawnmowers and other tools.