Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Sparkle is on way to garden

JANUARY brings a sparkle to the garden. Early morning frosts can create a beautiful effect in the garden and surrounding countryside giving a Christmas card atmosphere. Cold and uncomfortable it may seem but this winter wonderland scene should not be missed.

What better time than this to cut down old or unwanted trees and saw them up for firewood to toast your toes at on a cold winter's night.

In days gone by it was a tradition in many of our stately homes to go round the garden and record what was in flower. Many of the plants included were Mahonias, Winter Jasmine, Virburnums and not forgetting many vibrantly coloured foliage plants that change with every season.

The garden has suffered a lot these last few weeks with heavy rain, wind and freezing temperatures. But still many of our old faithful garden plants such as Crocuses, Snowdrops and Hellebores are already peeping through the ground.

Any plants that have been damaged by adverse weather should be left alone. It would be advisable at this point to leave any cutting back for a while as the risk of further frost could kill the plant completely.

Mice can be a real pest at this time of year, burrowing under cloches to steal autumn sown seed and nibbling on fruit and vegetables in store. Watch out for them among small bulbs such as Narcissi, Tulips, Hyacinths and especially Crocus as mice find these very tasty. At the first sign of damage set the mouse traps, and this should solve the problem.

Botrytis can be a horrible threat in the glasshouse. Check over all your plants frequently, removing all dead or dying foliage, flowers and stems that have mould or rot present.

Space out plants well to allow a good air flow around them and keep the glasshouse as clean as possible.

When there is a glimpse of sunshine open the glasshouse vents for an hour or so to let some fresh air in.