PLANTS which keep their leaves in winter are often
worth more than the flamboyant herbaceous plants which disappear
completely when conditions are grim.
They give pleasure all
the year round, give a reason for walking in the garden in
winter and help present a picture from the house.
Hot sandy or gravel soils which cause concern in dry summers
often provide the most furnished areas in winter, apart from an
absence of flowers in several winter months.
are viburnum tinus, laural, photinia, rhododendrons, conifers
and holly. These will also provide a windbreak and give a great
structure to the garden through the winter. The garden's
greatest enemy is wind and this month often proves to be the
stormiest. You cannot stop the wind, but you can slow it down
and you can create microclimate in your garden.
and artificial screens will affect this, up to a point, but the
best way is with plants. Hedges are excellent windbreaks and
grow far more quickly that you might imagine, especially it you
nurse them with a temporary fence or shelter screen while they
Groups of trees and shrubs also make great shelter
devices and have the added advantage of reducing noise.
densely at first, but be prepared to thin out later. The best
time to plant shelter trees, hedges or any woody plant is now.
When pruning or tidying shrubs and in some cases trees, you can
take young growths that have developed in the past growing
season and root them as cuttings.
This works especially well
with willows, poplars and with mulberries.
It is also handy
and almost effortless way if propagating roses and shrubs. All
you do is cut off young, vigorous wands and push them, thick end
first, into a piece of fertile ground, preferably out of the
wind and in shade.
Next spring, when the buds break and shoots
begin to grow, cut the wands back to within two or three buds up
from the ground. The young plants should be well rooted and
ready to transplant the following autumn.