THE WEEK AHEAD
Jobs to do this week including ideas and projects for your garden
Evergreen agapanthus are tender and will need overwintering in a slightly heated greenhouse. Deciduous types are much hardier, but they can still suffer from frost damage, so cover the crowns with a dry mulch such as sand or straw now, to protect them.
Cool for winter
Many beautiful silver-foliaged bedding plants are on sale now to use as a foil to winter bedding, but consider making an entire basket of Centaurea cineraria subsp. cineraria (right), Helichrysum ‘Silver Mist’ or Senecio ‘Silver Dust’.
Top off sprouts
If you’re holding off until nearer Christmas to start harvesting your Brussels sprouts, pick the leafy tops now. There is little growing at this time of year so the plant won’t miss them, and they are delicious shredded and fried in butter.
Let them lie
Let fallen leaves lie where they drop onto borders and bare soil. They will slowly rot down and help to keep border soil rich and moist. But you should clear them off lawns and from around the crowns of plants, where they can cause rots.
Pick off moths
Check onions for leek moth caterpillars, which will be pupating now, allowing you to pick them off. If you find any, plant alliums in a different place next year, and cover plants with fleece so that the moths cannot lay on them.
There is still time to plant tiny and pale Scilla tubergeniana (often called S. mischtschenkoana). This native of northern Iran and the Caucasus flowers in February, alongside Cyclamen coum and aconites. Plant straight into the garden (ideal as underplanting for deciduous trees) or alongside alpines, or pack them into shallow pots for a mass of very welcome late winter flowers (avonbulbs.co.uk).
Time to check bamboos. If you have a running type then search out questing shoots and dig them out. Digging a small trench around the plant will help to make such escapees obvious, but remember to check intermittently.
Mossy areas on paving are the result of damp and shade, and they will always be mossy as long as the shade exists. Prune back overhanging branches to let light in, and blast slippery paths with a power washer.
Asian pears produce delicious fruit, grow brilliantly in our climate, and can be planted now. Buy two different varieties for best pollination. Available from Otter Farm, Devon, that has courses at its new Kitchen Garden School (otterfarm.co.uk).
Snails hibernate under rocks and stones over winter, waiting to re-emerge in spring, at much the same time as your seedlings. Turn them out now for the birds – you will reduce the population and potential future damage.