Monty an­swers your ques­tions

What goes on be­hind the scenes at Long­meadow, how does he tackle per­ni­cious weeds and what are his big plant­ing mis­takes? Dis­cover Monty’s an­swers to your most-asked ques­tions

Gardeners' World - - Contents -

Win­ter in­ter­est

QWhat must-have ev­er­greens would you sug­gest to give my gar­den struc­ture through the win­ter? @win­ni­ethe­choc­cy­lab Top marks for re­al­is­ing how im­por­tant this is! The win­ter gar­den de­pends upon good ev­er­greens, and I re­gard them as the most im­por­tant plants in the gar­den at any time of year be­cause they are the bones upon which all the flo­ral ‘flesh’ hangs. Yew forms the best ev­er­green hedge as well as large top­i­ary, and Ir­ish yews are per­fect for small gar­dens, mak­ing a bold state­ment with­out tak­ing up much space. Ten years ago I would have said that box was es­sen­tial, but the com­bi­na­tion of box blight and box tree cater­pil­lar make this less at­trac­tive. But if nei­ther of these are present in your area, no plant is bet­ter for smaller hedges or top­i­ary. Holly makes a fine tree, hedge and top­i­ary, al­beit in places where you will not brush against it. I like to use ma­ho­nia of all kinds in bor­ders, and sar­co­cocca, hebe, choisya, Por­tuguese lau­rel, vibur­num, camel­lias, phillyrea, pit­tospo­rum, pyra­can­tha, skim­mia, euonymus and the mag­nif­i­cent Holm oak are all re­ally good ev­er­green op­tions – to name but a few.

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