GARDEN TIPS - 16/11/18

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 The weather forecast tells us that a cold snap is on its way. We’ve been so lucky with the weather this year, we really can’t complain!

That said, if frost and cold is coming, then now’s the time to do a few things around the garden to give your plants the best chance off coming out the other side fighting fit and raring to grow:

Start to winter-prune your wisteria, cutting back summer side-shoots to 2 or 3 buds.

Prune climbing roses now; cutting away diseased or damaged growth and tying in any new shoots to their support. Prune older flowered side shoots back by two thirds of their length.

Prune Japanese Maples (Acers) and vines now if needed, as they will bleed sap if pruning is done any later.

Leave the faded flower heads on your hydrangeas until the spring, as they will provide frost protection to the swelling buds further down the stems.

Move containers of shrubs or bedding plants to a sheltered spot; clustering them together helps protect the root systems from suffering frost damage.

Lift and store dahlia tubers once their leaves are blackened by frost.

Check climbers are securely attached with plant ties to their supports - and check that the supports (trellis, for example) is still solid. If we get heavy frost or snow, then the weight of it may bring unstable climbers and their supports down  - inconvenient at the very least.

Plant up winter containers with hardy cyclamen, ivy, skimmia and evergreen grasses such as Carex to add colour to your garden. Put them in prominent places beside entrances and well used paths, and enjoy their winter display.

Harvest holly with berries for making Christmas garlands and Christmas wreaths; stand them in a bucket of water until you're ready to use them (if you’re heading out to Epping Forest in the coming weeks, you may be lucky enough to see mistletoe, as well as holly and ivy).

If you still haven't planted your tulip bulbs there is still time, provided the ground isn't frozen, that is!

Spread some fresh gravel or horticultural grit around alpine plants, to give them a little extra protection.

Lift the last of any leeks and parsnips you may have before the soil becomes frozen. Heel them in to a shallow. They’ll keep well for several months like this. Some say that frosted parsnips actually taste better.

Lift and divide established clumps of rhubarb. This gives the plant a renewed vigour for the season to come.

Dig over any empty borders or patches you want to develop for fruit and veggies next year - and pile manure on top. Let the frosts (and worms) break down the lumps of soil for you.

If you’re planning on growing beans next year, now’s the time to dig a trench where you’ll be planting them, fill it with compostable kitchen waste (not cooked food) and cover it all with soil. It’ll rot down over the winter underground and make a fantastic growing environment for your beans in the new year.

Protect the tips of fig tree branches. The tips carry the fruit for next year and can be susceptible to frost. Cover them with a little fleece bound on with string (never use polythene or plastic).

Try to avoid walking on your lawn when it’s blanketed by heavy frost or snow, as this will damage the grass underneath.

Check the security of your shed. This is particularly important in winter when you visit it less often.

If you have any questions or if there’s anything we may be able to help you with, please do get in touch.

Have a lovely weekend.

 

The Lancasters Team.

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