Action plan: Nigel Colborn’s essential jobs for your garden this week

  • Nigel Colborn says give your pond a check over for winter as autumn advances
  • Recommends to remove all dead and dying water lily foliage 
  • A UK-based gardening expert answers questions about a yew hedge. 


Give your pond a good cleaning as the autumn progresses. Check the water before you disturb any vegetation. You should have a clear, unodourless water.

The water may become cloudy or tinted if there are too many leaves from autumn. However, this will resolve over the course of winter.

Take out as many water lily dead and dying leaves as possible. A gentle tug is more effective than a firm tug. Be careful not to scratch the bottom of your pond.

Marginal plants also need to be taken care of. You can remove dead stems and blanket weed. Water mint, water mint and other creeping y l plants may be too invading. You can either pull or chop as much as possible. However, be careful to not poke the pond liner.

Nigel Colborn advises giving your pond a check over for winter as autumn advances

Nigel Colborn recommends that your pond be inspected for winter ahead of the arrival of autumn.

Be careful not to damage the marginals that are less resistant while reducing invasive species. It is better to leave the mud and decomposing vegetation in its deepest parts unattended. This area will be home to invertebrates as well as hibernating and other frogs. 

Your pond should be left undisturbed after the cleaning. By then, the water should be clear. Let the water refill from rain if your efforts have reduced its level. It will make the water more neutral.

For wildlife-friendly lakes, a shallow bottom is required with easy access for amphibians, birds and other animals who want to drink. 


If you  bought prepared hyacinth bulbs for a Christmas show, they should be kept somewhere cold and dark. You will need to check that the potting soil hasn’t dried. It is possible that the shoots will start to grow now. They are ready for the sun if they reach 4cm in height or higher. Leave them alone for at least two more weeks until you can provide more light.


The majority of leaves should be gone by now. The leaves are safe in the garden but they can block drainage or choke out vulnerable plants. If they are left on shelter lawns for too long, dense leaves can cause damage.

Composting leaves is climate friendly if they are to be collected. These leaves can be mixed with garden waste or made into leaf-mould.


A yew hedge is something we want to plant. We were advised to purchase large plants. They are over £50 each whereas small ones are £5. Would you prefer one?

Mrs B. Snell.

Small plants would be my choice. First, they’re cheaper. Second, young plants establish rapidly.

While yew grows slowly, privet and hawthorn grow faster. Make sure you prepare your soil. This is more important than buying expensive plants.