Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




 Time to make repairs

AS autumn approaches take time now to repair and paint broken panes, leaks and loose fittings in the glass house. These may only be a minor irritation at the moment but they could become a serious menace if left during the winter months.

Carry out a maintenance check on the glass house heaters to ensure they are in working order before the heating is required later this month.

Protect tender plants from frost and cold winds either under glass or given them winter protection using materials such as straw, loose woven Hessian or dead leaves. Cuttings of your valued tender plants may also be taken and brought under glass.

Plant winter flowering heathers now in groups, to give an effective, splash of colour through the winter months. Varieties such as Erica cornea king george, myreton ruby and pink spangles make successful garden plants. Heathers may also be inter-planted in pots and containers with winter pansies, polyanthus and spring flowering bulbs.

No matter how well planned and successfully planted your garden is, hard features such as a garage, dustbins, gas and electricity meter boxes or even a man-hole cover in the middle of the lawn or shrub border will spoil the whole effect. There are many ways to disguise ugly features or create privacy from the road or over looking windows.

Climbing plants may be used to hide unsightly walls or buildings, erect a pergola over the patio to provide both cover and privacy. Shrubs and tall grasses grown in tubs strategically positioned around the sitting area will also provide screening. An unsightly man-hole cover can be turned into a feature by placing a garden ornament or bird table on it.

All too often hardy fuchsias are overlooked for continuous flower in the shrub borders. These deciduous plants can be a major contributor. flowering from late June to November. All they require is a top-dress of fertiliser and the removal of dead stems in early spring. Fuchsia magellanica, versicolor, Mrs popple and lord Roberts make valuable garden plants, providing both flower and leaf colour for weeks on end throughout the growing season.