Midwinter is a time to prepare for the busy spring period ahead. It’s a good time to take stock of your garden shed or garage where you store tools and inspect them. Some may need cleaning, oiling, repairing or replacing. Could your trusty mower do with a service?
Start collecting egg boxes as these are great for chitting and getting seed potatoes
Best of the bunch
ROSA ‘eye of the tiger’ EXPERT rosarian Ian Limmer at Peter Beales Classic Roses has given his predictions on the nation’s favourite plant for 2019.
He said that with so many new houses now being built with small or very limited outdoor space, he is finding that gardeners’ attitudes are changing as many people now opt for the smaller,
HANNAH STEPHENSON THEJOYOFPLANTS. CO.UK, a consumer initiative of the Flower Council of Holland, offers tips on two low-maintenance, easy-to-grow shrubs: 1. Viburnum
Viburnums come in all shapes and sizes, both deciduous and evergreen, and most are easy to grow, and thrive in sun or semi-shade.
Among the smaller types is the Viburnum davidii, an evergreen which grows up to 1.5m in height and spread, producing dull white flowers in May followed by metalliclooking blue-black berries which can last the winter on the coral-red stalks of female plants.
Use it to provide ground cover and winter interest at the front of a border, in sun or partial shade.
Viburnums are not fussy, growing in reasonably welldrained soil (they won’t tolerate very dry or very wet soil) with plenty of added organic off to a good start. Prune roses while dormant.
As hellebore flowers emerge, remove old foliage which look raggedy now.
For sweeter earlier stems, force rhubarb by covering crowns with a dark bucket to exclude light.
Clean up any bird baths and feeders because the bacteria that builds up can be harmful for birds. more compact roses. These can easily be grown in a container.
The modern Persica range of roses with their novelty eye are also very much in demand at the moment.
With a wide range of colours to choose from, they are repeat flowering, very healthy and provide some real impact, with one of the most popular being the striking Eye of the Tiger. ●● Viburnum bodnantense Dawn matter. Pruning is not necessary. Just cut back old or damaged branches in late spring. 2. Redvein enkianthus
This ornamental deciduous shrub, from the eastern Himalayas to Indochina, China and Japan, is part of the heather family.
E. campanulatus, which grows up to 3m high, has bell-like flowers in white, pink and red, or a mixture of the three, while in autumn, the leaves turn sizzling shades of orange and red.
It thrives in shady, woodland spots and needs acid soil, so makes a great plant partner for rhododendrons and camellias.