GARDEN TIPS - 02/11/18

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Hi Everyone,

If you’re planning on planting Tulip bulbs, you really need to get them in the ground now to minimise the risk of Tulip Fire infection (nerd fact alert: TFI is called that because the effect is plants appearing scorched by fire. It’s a fungal disease, causing brown spots and withered/distorted leaves. Nerd fact over). Leave them unplanted any longer and the risk of TFI increases dramatically.

There's also still time, of course, to plant Daffodil, Allium and other Spring flowering bulbs.

If you’re into Magnolia trees, now’s the perfect time to plant them. We’ve been really lucky with the weather so far this year (some of us consider it inevitable that we’re going to get bitten pretty hard by this winter - “for every action there is an equal and opposite reaction”, and all that). That means the soil is still reasonably warm, so get your Magnolia in the ground now. It’ll then have chance to establish over the coming months. Most Magnolias - with just a few exceptions (Sieboldii, for example (our Senior Designer’s favourite)) - flower quite early in the season, so for a beautiful Spring display plant now, using a mix of John Innes No.3 and multi-purpose compost to give them the perfect start.

If any of your Roses suffered from blackspot or rust this year, make sure to clear up any and all fallen leaves from around them and burn or otherwise destroy them immediately, to reduce the risk of them being infected again next year.

Once plants are dormant, it’s a good time to lift and move anything you want to move. “Dormant” means any time from around now through to early next year. Just check that any deciduous leaves have fallen and that the plant has finished flowering or fruiting before you get the spade out.

Before the birds eat them all, cut a few stems of Holly with berries for making Christmas garlands. Stand them in a bucket of water somewhere our feathered friends can't get at them.

We’re now moving into ‘bare-root’ season. This is the time of year when some trees, roses, hedging and other plants become available as ‘bare root’. They’ve been grown in the ground all year and are ready to be dug up and sold without a container, to be planted immediately. They’re usually a lot less expensive than their container-grown cousins, so if you have a lot of hedging to do, or would like a large tree, it absolutely makes sense to investigate the bare root possibilities that present themselves at garden centres between around now until early next year.

Plant Heathers, Cyclamen, Hellebores, Senecio and Trailing Ivy in pots and hanging baskets for a touch of winter colour.

Reuse spent compost from annual container displays as a mulch on the garden. It won’t win any nutrient-giving prizes now, but is perfectly good to be adding organic matter to your borders, so why not use it instead of just throwing it away?

Clean out your water butts now and let the autumn rains refill them. Now’s the ideal time to do this, judging by the downpour we got yesterday here in Walthamstow! If you don’t already have one, consider installing one, ready for next year.

…and finally….

Now is the time to reflect on your successes and, let’s say “less than successes”, in the garden this year and start planning for next. Make a few notes or sketches to record your thoughts. The camera in your mobile is actually an invaluable garden aide. -Take photo’s showing the locations of herbaceous plants before they die back, so you don't risk damaging them during a winter dig. Also, when you’re out an about, take snaps of borders and any other ideas you'd like to replicate at home. You might also want to consider keeping a photo diary of your garden, with pictures taken each week from now until this time next year? It’s a lovely way to reflect on your gardening year.

Have a lovely weekend.

The Lancasters Team.