Five-minute filler jobs

Got a spare mo­ment? Here’s what you can do, says Ruth

Amateur Gardening - - Your Gardening Week -

IT isn’t al­ways the big gar­den jobs that give the most sat­is­fac­tion. Some­times – of­ten – it’s the ac­cu­mu­la­tion of lots of lit­tle jobs, done well, that keep the gar­den look­ing good and be­ing pro­duc­tive.

Last week I spent a catch-up day do­ing sev­eral tasks that need do­ing now. I started by giv­ing a fi­nal trim to our large win­ter-flow­er­ing heather.

This is one if my favourite plants as it pro­vides a burst of colour when there’s not much else around, gives sanc­tu­ary to hiber­nat­ing in­ver­te­brates and pro­vides es­sen­tial nec­tar for early fly­ing bum­ble­bees and but­ter­flies.

A gen­tle trim is all it needs as heathers don’t like be­ing cut back hard be­cause the older, brown wood is un­likely to re­gen­er­ate.

Us­ing shears (or se­ca­teurs on smaller plants) sim­ply trim away the dead flow­ers and top inch or so of green­ery. This keeps the plant look­ing neat and en­cour­ages ro­bust new growth for next year’s blooms.

I also tied back an en­thu­si­as­ti­cally grow­ing hon­ey­suckle and a ram­bling rose that were out­grow­ing their al­lot­ted space. Train grow­ing shoots in the di­rec­tion you want them to grow and don’t tie them back too tightly as the twine can bite into the stems, cre­at­ing an en­try point for pests and dis­ease.

Trim the dead flow­ers off win­ter-flow­er­ing heather Tie in un­ruly climbers Check long, unkempt grass be­fore cut­ting it back – hedge­hogs and am­phib­ians like to shel­ter in it and sus­tain horrible in­juries (as well as fa­tal­i­ties) from strim­mers. Just nip the tops off heather plants

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