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Irish Daily Mirror - - IN THE GARDEN - DIARMUID GAVIN with

make at­trac­tive and poignant presents. I have many favourites in this cat­e­gory but will sin­gle out Tai Haku, the great white cherry, as one of the best. Its crown spreads broadly so needs space to stretch its limbs, and you’ll be daz­zled by its large, pure white blos­soms.

For a smaller gar­den, Shogetsu is a de­light­ful cherry with bunches of droop­ing pale pink blos­soms. It’s very pop­u­lar as a wed­ding gift, its com­mon name be­ing Blush­ing Bride!

An­ther bridal pos­si­bil­ity is Ex­o­chorda The Bride, a won­der­ful spring-flow­er­ing shrub be­decked with white blos­soms.

Or gift the happy cou­ple with Rosa Con­grat­u­la­tions – this is a rich pink, re­peat flow­er­ing hy­brid tea rose.

Cel­e­brate mile­stones with Camel­lia Sil­ver An­niver­sary – pure white pe­ony blooms with golden sta­mens in late win­ter and beau­ti­ful ev­er­green leaves al­lyear round. Rosa Golden cel­e­bra­tion

■ Jobs this time of the year are very weather de­pen­dent. If you’ve had flood­ing, you’re prob­a­bly best stay­ing in­doors be­cause path­ways are slip­pery and soil shouldn’t be worked on when it’s sod­den.

■ How­ever, if you’re itch­ing for gar­den­ing work, then it’s time for ap­ple and pear prun­ing. Cher­ries and plums shouldn’t be touched dur­ing win­ter as this will leave them vul­ner­a­ble to sil­ver leaf fun­gus. Ap­ply grease bands to the trunks to stop over­win­ter­ing moths climb­ing up and lay­ing eggs.

With tem­per­a­tures plum­met­ing, make sure your ten­der plants are ei­ther wrapped up or taken in­doors.

■ Con­tinue to rake fallen leaves off the lawn and out of the pond and on to the com­post heap.

■ Har­vest leeks, parsnips, win­ter cab­bages and sprouts and en­joy home-grown pro­duce on Christ­mas Day.

■ Go for­ag­ing in your gar­den for at­trac­tive green­ery, berries, branches that can be kept fresh in a bucket of wa­ter or sprayed sil­ver, gold or white for Christ­mas dec­o­ra­tions, wreaths and gifts.



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