Colin Evans garden tips
Winter's not so bad if you've got a mini wood incinerator says our gardening guru Colin Evans. Find out what his plant of the week is and how you can best protect your garden from the winter frost.
Of late I've had a good time in my garden with clearing away all the leaves and debris of the autumn and cutting out all the damaged wood on the trees and shrubs in the borders.
Generally I hate the winters more and more but find if I make the effort to get into the garden all my disdain of the grey days of winter fade away.
Yes, I have decided that I like the short days of winter when I can get into the garden.
If the lawn is dry I get the grass cut which saves a good deal of effort when it comes to collecting up the fallen leaves, and the chopped leaves, combined with the grass cuttings makes wonderful compost so I have been piling up the compost heap for the last few weeks.
The old pieces of wood are cut up in little pieces and go on the small incinerator which I would not be without.
Because I live in the country I don't have the constraint of tetchy neighbours moaning about smoke going into their open windows or affecting the freshness of their washing.
Apart from those who constantly whine on about global warming, I prefer to call it climate change which has been with us for millions of years. Was it not only recently we were being told of an impending ice age? Providing my garden incinerator is lit after dark I see no problem at all.
On a cold damp evening in the garden there is nothing more comforting than standing by a garden fire with a hot cup of tea.
Winter's not so bad after all.
Clematis 'Fond Memories'
Plant of the week
At this year's Chelsea Flower Show some new Clematis varieties were launched and I am pleased to report that many of them are now available in the garden centres. One of my favourites is Clematis 'Fond Memories' which is part of this new collection.
This hardy perennial will quickly climb and entwine any support and produce enormous blooms from May to September preferring sun or part shade with feet in full shade.
The pale pink flowers with lavender margins will cover this superb climber which has a height and spread of 200 cms ( 6'5") and will grace any wall or fence.
With wet and cold days it's important to make sure plants are protected.
All too often we forget that it is not only the foliage and tops of plants that need protection it is the roots as well.
Placing a good deep mulch of leaf mould or bark around the roots' areas will keep the moisture in and the frost out.
So many plants fail to make it through the winter for the lack of root cover during the worst of the winter days and nights.
Santa likes his Conifers. So does Colin Evans.
Conifers provide cover for over-wintering beneficial insects as well as birds and other animals.
November to December is an ideal time to propagate new cuttings of Conifers.
The trick is to keep them frost free and damp and just forget about them until spring. Most Conifers can be propagated from stem cuttings using the wood grown this year, so you should use the soft parts of the stems, those in fact that are at the end.
Snip them off about a hands length and simply dip them into rooting hormone and push a number into some pots of multipurpose potting compost. By spring you will have a few rooted cuttings to pot on.
This is your very last chance to plant tulips. They will tolerate going into the ground much later than the traditional spring bulbs.
Plant them twice their own depth and cover with compost mixed with a few good handfuls of bone meal or sulphate of potash.
There are so many varieties, however, if your garden is exposed then select the smaller or miniature varieties as these will tolerate cold winter winds without being destroyed.
last updated: 30/11/07
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