Look for the bare ne­ces­si­ties

Novem­ber to March is the per­fect time to get bare root plants into your gar­den. Philippa Pear­son rec­om­mends her favourite plants and the Herts places to buy them

Hertfordshire Life - - CONTENTS -

The beauty of bare root plants and where to buy them

If you’ve been plan­ning putting in new trees, a hedge or roses in your gar­den, now is the best time to get on with it. Bare root sea­son from Novem­ber to March, and be­fore stocks of plants are de­pleted and the weather gets warmer and drier, is ideal.

Au­tumn and win­ter were tra­di­tion­ally the main plant­ing sea­sons for gen­er­a­tions of gar­den­ers as this was the only pe­riod when new plants could be pur­chased as bare root spec­i­mens – dug up when the plant is dor­mant. Dur­ing the 1950s con­tainer-grown plants be­came more widely avail­able which led to the de­vel­op­ment of gar­den cen­tres. This ex­panded the plant­ing pe­riod as con­tain­er­grown stock can be planted mostly through­out the year.

There are huge ben­e­fits to plant­ing be­tween Novem­ber to March how­ever. In au­tumn the soil is still warm, which gets roots off to a good start over the win­ter, while wa­ter­ing is less de­mand­ing than plant­ing in spring or sum­mer. An­other im­por­tant fac­tor is cost – a bare­rooted or root­balled plant is quite a lot cheaper than the same size con­tainer plant.

You’ll need to get your site in the gar­den well pre­pared be­fore your bare root plants ar­rive, as ide­ally they should be planted straight away, oth­er­wise the ex­posed roots quickly dry out. Soak bare root plants for a good 30 min­utes in a bucket of wa­ter be­fore plant­ing. If you can’t plant im­me­di­ately, heel plants into a

patch of soil by dig­ging a trench or hole and make sure the roots are cov­ered with soil. It’s best not to plant when the ground is frozen or wa­ter­logged.

If you are look­ing to plant a new hedge or in­crease the ones you have, Para­mount Plants in En­field has a great se­lec­tion, from

‘Plant species to­gether in­clud­ing ones that give dra­matic colour’

na­tive beech to hawthorn and holly, and plants to suit dif­fer­ent soils and con­di­tions. There’s a good se­lec­tion of ev­er­greens for screen­ing, and the nurs­ery of­fers bare root trees for wet or windy sites and au­tumn colour in­ter­est.

Trees that give year-round in­ter­est with their bark, fo­liage, flow­ers, fruit or shape make a great fo­cal point. If you have room, plant sev­eral dif­fer­ent spec­i­mens to­gether and in­clude ones that give dra­matic au­tumn colour. Maples tick this box and their at­trac­tively-shaped leaves turn fiery shades of crim­son and red in au­tumn. An­other musthave tree for sea­sonal fo­liage colour is Liq­uidambar styrachi­flua (sweet gum tree) which has spec­tac­u­lar rich crim­son leaf colour and corky bark. Its hand­some star-shaped leaves are sim­i­lar to some maple and the tree makes a con­i­cal out­line, adding height to the gar­den. Tree Her­itage in Hert­ford has a se­lec­tion of bare root hedg­ing and an ex­ten­sive range of trees in­clud­ing ev­er­green, de­cid­u­ous, stan­dard and feather or mul­ti­stem trees.

Roses have tra­di­tion­ally been planted dur­ing bare root sea­son and fam­ily-run nurs­ery Hark­ness Roses at Hitchin has sup­plied roses this way to gar­den­ers for over 135 years. There are more than 200 va­ri­eties here in­clud­ing shrub, pa­tio, bush and climb­ing plants. Hark­ness roses are in­di­vid­u­ally grafted to a root stock, and have 20 months grow­ing time in the field from plant­ing to lift­ing. It’s a tried and tested way of mov­ing plants from the nurs­ery to the gar­den.

Choose fo­liage with in­ter­est­ing shapes and colour

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