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13 November 2014

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Colin Evans

You are in: Berkshire > Local radio > Colin Evans > Colin Evans garden tips

A person digging in the soil

Colin Evans garden tips

BBC Berkshire's horticultural expert tells us that now is the time to act on those garden borders. Also, it's advisable not to be too accommodating towards your garden mice this coming winter.

Most of us are looking at our borders and thinking they look too good to take out. I know, because so many of you have been telling me how beautiful and colourful your borders look.

Quite rightly you want to get as much colour from your summer bedding as you can. However, be warned, it will only take a slight drop in night time temperatures to wipe the lot out.

When you see them the next morning the sight will be very depressing. My advise is to get cracking now and clear those borders.

Then head straight for the garden centre, where you'll find some great winter colour to replace all those sad looking summer bedding plants.

If you do it now, your borders will look a picture. Wait and they'll look a mess, trust me, you know I'm right.

Colin's plant of the week

Yucca filamentosa can be tricky to handle with its sharp leaf ends. It'll survive the worst of the winter frosts and will get even tougher as the years go by.

This plant is mainly grown for its sweet scented creamy white flowers. In winter it'll grace any border or large container.

Yucca filamentosa

Yucca filamentosa

I think they look fantastic, though be careful not to get spiked when you get up close.

I love them and if you've enough room, I suggest you get one too. It may look like the one indoors but their characters are very different.


1. Do clear up the leaves as soon as you can. The Thames Valley has a bad reputation for mossy lawns. Leaving debris on the lawn especially leaves, encourages moss growth.

Put the leaves in plastic bags or on the compost heap and you'll have a great leaf mould to use in the spring. Better still, put the leaves through a shredder, this will make a great mulch straight on the borders.

Remember to add a little slow release granular fertilizer to keep the nutrient levels in the soil at a suitable level.

2. Clear away all the old pots and seed trays from the greenhouse. This is because mice and other rodents will now be looking for winter shelter. They will build their nests wherever it's warm.

It's fine to provide a new home for our furry little friends, but they repay us by eating stored seeds and plant material.

3. Soon Dahlia's can be cut back to about four inches from the soil, especially if early frosts have killed off the foliage. If you want to lift and store them in a cool frost free place, then that's fine.

A mouse

A mouse - another of Colin's enemies

I prefer to leave them where they are. This preserves the root system and to cut down the task of lifting then finding a storage space.

What I do is cover them with a good mound of compost or leaf mould, then let them take their chance through the winter. 

The strong ones will survive and the weak ones won't. Horticultural natural selection I guess.

If you are into fruit trees, go along to The Cross Lanes Fruit Farm at Mapledurham on Sunday 12th October for their special Apple open day which starts at 10.00am.

Happy Gardening

last updated: 07/10/2008 at 10:35
created: 07/10/2008

You are in: Berkshire > Local radio > Colin Evans > Colin Evans garden tips

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