digging the garden  with spadeWhen you are able to able, get working on clearing away dead leaves, frost rotten foliage and cutting back all dead materials.

Shrubs, roses and hedging should be trimmed back to look tidy: roses which usually, in this part of France, carry on flowering until late December, early January have long since finished blooming, so now is the time to cut them back. Do not be frightened to cut back hard – French gardeners prune their roses to within a foot from the ground, and each spring they have a wonderful display.

Fruit trees need planting now – it always amazes me to see fruit trees being sold in quantities by French garden centres in the spring, yet in their garden almanac they always say, plant before St Catherine’s day on 25th November.

I recommend planting all trees, fruit or ornamental during the autumn as this allows the tree time to settle its roots down before the hot weather in the summer.

Yes, you can plant in the spring but the tree is under stress if the hot weather comes in early; it is the same principle with shrubs and roses.

By Mike Curtis, An English Nursery in France; 00 33 (0)5 46 33 66 17

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