Colin Evans garden tips - 16.12.07
Colin's weekly gardening article focuses on how to impress your visitors this winter with a healthy-looking garden and a well-cut lawn. Also - what type of Christmas tree is the best to buy?
Because of the very wet weather I have neglected to cut the lawns and now the lower part of my garden is very wet under foot, although after a bit of a dry spell in the week I did manage to get out there and cut the grass.
It does make a difference and I am hoping that just before Christmas I can get out the lawn mower and give the grass a last cut to last over the holiday period.
I suppose I feel pressure to make sure my garden looks its best no matter what time of the year it is, and I want to ensure that my visitors are not shocked but impressed by my gardening skills when they visit over the Christmas period.
Mow your lawn
So impress your visitors this festive season with a well cut lawn.
Resowing your lawn?
There are sure to be some who will use the excuse that it is too wet to get the job done and you can be very smug when you show them just how good your garden looks in spite of the inclement weather.
Don't forget, also to clear away loose leaves and any other rubbish.
Make sure the pond has been given the once over too.
Cut back old water plants just below the water line and rake away algae and slime from the surface.
There are still a few jobs to get done in the garden before Christmas, however, I will give tips about them next week, in the meantime plan what you are going to achieve with all things horticultural next year.
If you're looking for a good flowering winter plant then you can do no better than to choose one of the winter flowering Hellebores.
These versatile all-rounders will flourish in shaded damp borders and will gives months of colour.
Helleborus Ivory Prince
They are easy to look after with little more than a trim after flowering needing to be done.
A handful of feed in the spring and another in the autumn is all that's required to keep them growing and blooming year after year.
There are so many varieties that you are spoilt for choice, however, if I can recommend one that I have planted this year then it is Hellebores Ivory Prince and it's a real corker.
The attractive marbled foliage combines beautifully with the long lasting ivory and light pink flowers and will grace any mixed border especially if inter planted with Evergreen Ferns.
Ivory Prince by the way, was The Garden Centre Association winner for 2007.
Choosing your Christmas tree can be interesting these days as there are many more varieties to choose from Norway Spruce right through to Scott's Pine.
If you want an all-round winner then my advise is to go for the Nordman Fir 'Abie's Nordmanniana'. This versatile conifer is from the Caucus mountains in mainland Europe and is the best needle-fast tree which will last well throughout the Christmas period.
Its glossy green needles with a silvery underside provides dense bushy foliage which will look just great when decorated.
Cut trees and simply treat them as you would cut flowers.
Protect tender plants with horticultural fleece and pack the gaps with straw.
Banana plants grown outside can be treated the same, however, a frame made of chicken wire held in place with canes and then stuffed with straw or hay will keep the frost at bay during the winter months.
Avoid using plastic as this will produce too much moisture which will freeze and rot the plant.
Place fleece around pots as well as this will prevent cracking and keep the roots frost free.
Alpines should be cleaned up by removing dead leaves and flowers and a covering of gravel over the top to keep out the frost.
Alpines hate water logging and the gravel will help to prevent this as well.
Alpines in pot can be cleaned up as well and gravel placed over the soil area.
If the plants have been growing in the same pots for a long time then scrape off and replace a few inches of fresh compost before carrying out the winter treatment.
last updated: 17/12/2007 at 13:20
[an error occurred while processing this directive]