PRUNE apple and pear trees - at least get rid of any branch that’s dead, damaged, diseased or rubbing on another one.
Then spray your trees with winter wash or homemade garlic spray, which will kill insect eggs.
* Mulch borders with leaf mould, compost, well rotted manure, or even old grobags, at least 2in thick.
* Plant lily bulbs in pots and in borders during mild spells.
* Cut off old leaves of hellebores that produce flowers from ground level so you can see them. Watch out for hellebore leaf spot.
* Start cutting back grasses that have been left for winter structure - the winds will have battered them by now.
* During dry, mild spells, you can still lift and divide herbaceous perennials.
* Inspect stored tubers of dahlias and cannas. Too damp and they will rot, too dry and they will die.
* Some pots outside under eaves or balconies may need watering. Keep them moist (not too wet), and don’t let them dry out.
* Plant bareroot deciduous hedging, trees and roses, staking before planting, so you don’t damage the rootball.
Move deciduous trees and shrubs, if the ground is not frozen or waterlogged.
* Indoor forced bulbs for Christmas displays, which have finished flowering, can be left outside in a sheltered spot, to die down.
* In a cold snap, place floats on the surface of ponds to keep them from freezing over - this can be fatal for fish and pond life.
To make a hole in frozen ponds, hold a saucepan of hot water on the surface until melted through. Do NOT crack the ice.