THE recent good weather has brought a spring-like feel to the
garden and countryside.
At this time of year there is no
reason why window boxes and containers should not look as
attractive and colourful as in the summer.
Attention should be
given to form and texture to create an interesting and balanced
display. Try using shaped box balls contrasting with trailing
ivies and a selection of winter flowing Heathers and spring
flowering bulbs will contribute a splash of warm and welcome
Other young shrubs may also be used effectively in
containers. Variegated foliage lightens the scheme and is
suggestive of warmer days.
Check over newly planted and
established trees to complete structural pruning. Autumn and
winter gales may have cracked or broken branches. If so, remove
them carefully using a pruning saw or loppers. Trees that are
too big can be cut back to size.
When pruning an overgrown
tree remove overcrowded and crossed over branches, then prune
back all remaining branches to a third of their length stepping
back every so often to decide which branch to cut back next.
Avoid pruning the branches back to all the same length; try to
keep the tree looking as natural as possible rather than
creating an unnatural bobble shape.
Cut out all fruiting
shoots on raspberries that have carried last season's crop. Tie
in the new canes to the supporting framework. If there is a lot
of growth above the top wire either cut it back or tie the
growths to the wire to prevent wind damage.
Prune established apple trees by removing dead, diseased wood
and cut out crossing or rubbing branches. Keep your secateurs
sharp for cutting small branches and tipping leaders.
Heathers are among the easiest garden plants to grow in the
garden flowering either in summer or during the winter months,
often with the bonus of colourful foliage as well.
are mostly acid loving, therefore demanding a lime free soil,
but winter flowering varieties can tolerate some lime.