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Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

Pinch out rhodo­den­dron and aza­lea buds dam­aged by frost to pre­vent the spread of dis­ease.

Wash and dis­in­fect seed trays and pots, ready for early spring sow­ing and plant­ing.

Pro­tect win­ter­flow­er­ing bul­bous irises in the gar­den from se­vere cold or damp.

Com­plete the prun­ing of green­house vines while they are still dor­mant.

On dry days, give your shed or fenc­ing a lift with tim­ber preser­va­tive, mak­ing sure you don’t splash plants in the process.

Have a quick clear-up, get­ting rid of debris which might shel­ter pests such as snails, and sort out your com­post heap or bin for the com­ing sea­son.

Keep a bag of gritty sand on standby to sprin­kle over icy paths.

Heel in new­ly­planted bare-root shrubs which may have been lifted by frost.

In the green­house, sow seeds of house­plants and green­house exotics such as bird of par­adise (Stre­litzia regi­nae) in a heated prop­a­ga­tor, as well as ten­der peren­ni­als such as gera­ni­ums.

If you have dug over an area to make a new bed, cover the ground with large sheets of poly­thene an­chored around the edges with bricks, to stop weeds emerg­ing and keep the worst of the win­ter weather out.

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