Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Sparkle - and spare a thought for wildlife

DECEMBER brings a sparkle to the garden and early morning frosts can create some stunning effects.

Cold and uncomfortable it may seem to us this winter wonderland scene but it should not be missed. So get up and get out there before the sun melts it away.

Spare a thought for the wildlife in your garden this winter and hang a few bags of nuts or kitchen scraps. As you tidy the garden leave a few areas of undergrowth such as long grass and tick growths of ivy for smaller birds such as wrens, tits and even hedgehogs to shelter in.

If you are finding it hard to find the right Christmas present for someone, visit your local garden centre for some last-minute shopping where you can purchase garden tools, plants, garden accessories and much more.

The vegetable garden should be quiet now, apart from winter cabbage, sprouts and cauliflower to be picked for dinner. Clumps of chives, parsley, thyme, rosemary and oregano that were protected from frost to encourage young fresh shoots can now be used as garnishes and flavourings for the Christmas banquet.

Hardy evergreen plants for the garden such as viburnums, mahonias and Portugal laurel make excellent backbone plants for the back of the border under trees and will provide a pleasing evergreen foil.

Viburnum tinus is a reliable evergreen bushy shrub that freely produces an abundance of small flat-headed white blush pink flowers from October until late spring. They thrive in full sun or semi shade in deep fertile soil.

Pruning overgrown shrubs may be carried out as soon as they have finished flowering in spring.