Close Icon

We recently caught up with Pete Tasker, Head Gardener at Hill Top, Beatrix Potter’s home at Near Sawrey. Although we haven’t got the weather on our side in this most recent lockdown we can begin to get our gardens ready for spring.

Hill Top

Hill Top. Photo credit: National Trust

1. Remember to dig up dahlia tubers and store them in the shed or garage.  Cut back the stems to about 5cm and lift out, place in a tray of moist compost, and store. When the weather warms, new shoots will appear, pot them up and off you go.  

2.  Store your potted geraniums – dig out and shake off the soil.  Cut back any mouldy stems.  Wrap in newspaper and store somewhere out of the frost in a shed or garage. Unwrap and soak roots in warm water once a month.  Prune and repot in new compost about 6 weeks before you start to bring them out and acclimatise them.

3.  Clear away soggy, collapsed stems of perennials and compost them.

4.  Clear leaves or debris which may be smothering small plants or alpines. 

5.  Get on top of your tool maintenance! Give everything a good clean, sharpen secateurs and shears, and give wooden handles a coat of linseed oil. Bring your mower out of the shed, clean the dry grass and give it a good spring clean and oil. 

6.  Clear old weeds from the veg plot, dig over the soil and mix in compost.

7.  Winter prune any apple and pear trees, to remove any dead or damaged branches, and clear congested areas to allow the blossom to get enough light.

8.  Trim herbs to a dome shape and if in pots, move them out of the rain, even just to the side of the house will reduce the amount of water they take in. 

9. Clear your pots, empty the old compost and clean away mould and dirt. Stack ready for new compost in the spring.

Plan your visit to Hill Top in 2021 and discover Near Sawrey and the neighbouring village of Far Sawrey. Famous for being the home of Beatrix Potter, Near Sawrey attracts visitors from all over the world keen to see Hill Top, the 17th-century farmhouse where the author lived and completed many of her famous Peter Rabbit tales. Hill Top is now a National Trust museum and is one of the most visited attractions in the Lake District.