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In Your Garden This Winter

1st of December 2011

This is a good time for gardeners to make their plans for the year to come as days are now much shorter and colder. There are, however, many jobs to do when the weather permits. Outside water pipes and taps must be lagged to prevent freezing; water should be drained from pond pumps and fountains, and ponds must be prevented from freezing solid. Sweep up all the leaves, especially from the lawn and add to the compost heap. Clean off the slippery algae from stone paths and patios using a suitable cleaner. Keep off lawns when very wet or frozen and arrange for the lawn mower to get its annual service. With the festive season approaching, a visit to the garden centre would help to solve gift problems for gardeners. H.T.A. garden gift tokens have been in existence for fifty years and these are always appreciated by anyone who loves gardening.

Fruit and vegetables
Start to prune apples and pear trees (not plums) and spray with a winter wash. Spray peach trees with a fungicide before mid-February to prevent peach leaf curl. Cover soft fruit bushes with netting to prevent birds from removing the new buds. Carry on planting fruit trees and soft fruit bushes. Harvest brussels sprouts and savoys and look after rootcrops and apples that are being stored. Get on with the winter digging when weather permits and keep the weeds down. Seed potatoes will be on sale from mid-January and they should be purchased as soon as possible so that they can be sprouted, or chitted, in a light frost free place ready for planting out in the garden next spring. The new season’s flower and vegetable seeds will be on sale in he new year, too.

Shrubs and perennials
Lift and divide herbaceous plants, cutting down where necessary but leaving those with attractive shapes which will look good in frosty weather. Penstemmons are always left untouched and are cut down when growth starts in the spring. Make sure that trees and tall shrubs are staked to prevent rocking by the wind. Tender plants need to be protected using garden fleece or by using windbreaks. When weather permits, planting of trees, shrubs and roses can continue. Bay trees should be taken into the shed or garage in extreme weather, but where this is not possible cover leaves with fleece and well wrap up the pot with straw or bubble plastic. Tie up the leaves of cordylines to protect the crowns from frost damage.

The greenhouse
If not already done, line the house with bubble plastic. Take tender perennials inside to overwinter. Sow exhibition onions just after Christmas and early in the new year start to sow begonias, antirrhinum, lobelia and pelargoniums. If not already done, there is still time to sow sweet peas.
Terry Simmonds

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This page is edited by Tony

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