I am not sure if it was my own lack of gardening motivation that encouraged me to explain what we don’t need to cut back or prune in the winter! It was, however, pointed out to me, by my own Mum no less, that I would be better helping people decide what should be cut back at this time of year and furthermore, explain to readers how to do it!

That was me told!

So, the plants that you should cut back now in your garden include:

• Climbing plants like clematis and wisteria – in winter prune back all the side shoots just leaving two or three buds.

• Pruning trees and shrubs in the winter is good for young plants. One reason for this is that if the leaves have fallen off it is far easier to see what you are doing and secondly, the sap from the plant is less likely to bleed and cause the plant to shock. So, cutback near the bud (but not too close) diagonally away from the branch and this will protect it from water.

• Roses in Scotland are a bit of a quandary – most books will tell you to cut them back just now. That is fine in the sunnier south, but in Scotland I wouldn’t recommend it. I suggest you do it in March. If you really feel that you must do it, then be sure to only cut back a little as the cold, wet winters we have here could cause them die back!

Happy now Mum? Happy gardening everyone!


The ‘Pink Pagoda’ is a compact medium-sized deciduous tree which is great for small gardens. It looks especially brilliant at this time of year, giving a wonderful autumnal show of luscious clusters of pink berries and beautiful red and orange coloured leaves.

In the spring it has lovely blue green leaves and white flowers making it a really nice addition to the garden year round.