Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Trees that turn fiery red

 CERTAIN trees are never lovelier than at this time of year, especially varieties of Japanese maple with their leaves turning vivid gold or fiery red.

The hedgerows are full of beauty in abundance, filled with birds feeding on ripe berries, alder, hawthorn and blackberry, laden with fruit.

Mixed and herbaceous borders are now beginning to look tired and the urge to prune everything back to ground level is upon us. Try to resist the temptation to cut back and tidy plants too much, as herbaceous plants and shrubs can look lovely on a frosty morning or evening sunlight.

The best time to lift and divide herbaceous perennials is during their dormant period between mid-autumn and early spring. Choose a day for lifting plants when the soil is not wet and doesn't stick to your boots or spade.

Overgrown perennials once lifted are often difficult to split at the roots and the crown may be congested. This may be overcome by inserting garden forks back to back. By pulling the fork handles together, then apart, the roots and crown will separate into pieces.

Plant or pot up the new pieces of plants in the border or pot them up for planting out in spring.

Parrotia make excellent specimen plants for the lawn or mixed border. They are grown for their flowers and spectacular autumn colour.

Parrotia require a fertile moist but well-drained soil and a sunny position to grow well. They may be propagated in the late summer by soft wood cuttings or by seed in the autumn.