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Rossendale Free Press - - Leisure -

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,

Shrubs

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.

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