Plant of the Month – Heuchera THINGS TO DO

Devon Life - - Gardens -

Heuchera are worth their weight for giv­ing win­ter colour. There are dozens of va­ri­eties to choose from in colours rang­ing from zingy limes to ob­sid­ian black. Their ever­green leaves can brighten ev­ery part of the gar­den from the shade un­der shrubs to hang­ing bas­kets. The rule of thumb when choos­ing is that the darker the leaf the bet­ter suited they are to sun. Pale leaved types like ‘Key Lime Pie’ come into their own in shade, thriv­ing where other plants would fail and bright­en­ing up gloomy spots. Best of all they’re pretty much im­mune to the at­ten­tion of slugs. In­stant colour goes a long way in win­ter and pots filled with bur­gundy red skim­mia, scented Christ­mas box and vi­o­las add an in­stant splash of colour. The range of win­ter colour pot-fillers grows ev­ery year with ever­green grasses for those with ur­ban tastes or cot­tage gar­den clas­sics like prim­roses and pan­sies. All can be planted now – pro­vided the com­post isn’t frozen. On the veg plot, har­vest sprouts from the bot­tom of the stems up and with cab­bages, leave the trunks of the plants in slic­ing an ‘x’ with a knife across the sev­ered ‘trunk’ to reap a se­cond smaller crop of col­lards later in win­ter. In­doors, keep house­plant cy­cla­men cool, in a bright spot and wa­tered from be­neath for the long­est-last­ing flow­ers. Don’t for­get our feath­ered friends at this time: with ever fewer berries and nuts in the hedgerows, birds mi­grate into our gar­dens look­ing for food. Robins, wrens and black­birds ap­pre­ci­ate high-pro­tein snacks like meal­worms, while tits and finches love seed mixes, es­pe­cially those with plenty of sun­flower hearts.

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