A hand wrapped in ivy
Colin Evans garden tips
We've just hit October and Colin has declared war on his garden rabbits, he's taking no prisoners. Our resident gardening expert also explains how to make the most out of hanging baskets over the winter period.
October usually brings grey skies and rain. This year, the forecasters are warning us about strong winds and heavy rain. However, the sound of mowers and mechanical garden tools can still be heard in the background.
The fallen fruits in my garden from the apple and pear trees have encouraged the rabbits onto my lawn. Last year I had a problem with them. The garden was under construction at the time, so it didn't matter about the damage they were doing.
I've spent a lot of money on getting the lawn to look good, so my feelings towards these little furry things have changed. My visitors love the rabbits, so I suppose I'll have to put up with them. The joys of country living.
Chimonanthus praecox otherwise known as 'Winter sweet' is a lovely garden shrub which originates from the hills of China. The plant supports light green stems, which are covered in waxy yellow and purple flowers from December to January.
Plant it against a south or west facing wall, where the sun will ripen the growth while the shrub will add winter colour and a heady fragrance to the garden.
Cut some of the stems off before flowering and bring them into the house for decoration. General pruning should be carried out on the shrub once the flowers have died.
1. Harvest the last of the tomatoes and lay them on a bench in the greenhouse or on a windowsill inside to ripen.
Place ripe tomatoes or a banana along side them. This will help ripen the tomatoes quicker. Runner beans and tomatoes can now be left on the vines to ripen and you can collect the seeds for sowing next year.
Let them dry on the vines and then break out the seeds. Store them in paper bags in a dry dark place.
2. Buy some cheap shrub roses from the garden centre and fill the empty borders in the greenhouse with them.
A rabbit - Colin's enemy
This will not only crop up the greenhouse for the winter but it will also add early colour. If your greenhouse is without borders then plant the roses in flower pots and place inside.
3. Buy plants for winter hanging baskets. The garden centres will have plenty now. The best buys are miniature conifers or Skimmias for placing in the centre of the basket with ivies, heathers, cyclamens, chrysanthemums and Pansies, densely planted around the outer ring.
If you want a complete green or variegated ball, then plant ivies around the outside and wire them in as they grow. In no time the hanging basket will be a complete ball of ivy. Remember to regularly water the basket so it looks good throughout the winter months.
last updated: 02/10/2008 at 12:29
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