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Macclesfield Express - - LEISURE -

Or­der plug plants now from spe­cial­ist young plant cat­a­logues, or buy them from gar­den cen­tres. Pro­vided you have some­where un­der cover and frost-free to keep them go­ing, it should prove cheaper than buy­ing more ma­ture plants later on in the sea­son

Plan­ning a new bor­der from scratch? Mark out the shape of the bor­der with a hosepipe which al­lows you to try out sev­eral shapes be­fore de­cid­ing, then skim the ground clear of what­ever is grow­ing on it and dig over the soil, adding or­ganic mat­ter as you go

Prune clema­tis that flower af­ter July, such as Viti­cella and Tex­en­sis, hard now. New shoots will grow vig­or­ously from the base

Keep an eye on con­tain­ers planted for year-round ef­fect. Pots of shrubs or ev­er­greens can eas­ily dry out, es­pe­cially if they are by the house wall

Plant shal­lots if the weather is mild enough and soil is dry enough

Prune au­tum­n­fruit­ing rasp­ber­ries

Top-dress con­tain­er­grown herbs such as rose­mary, scrap­ing off the old pot­ting com­post on the sur­face and re­plac­ing it with fresh, into which you’ve mixed some slow-re­lease fer­tiliser

Warm up soil for ex­tra early crops by cov­er­ing the ground with black plas­tic poly­thene, which will also sup­press weeds

Plant Jerusalem ar­ti­chokes

Fin­ish prun­ing stan­dard and bush ap­ple and pear trees be­fore the leaf buds ap­pear in March.

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