Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Don't lose all your colour

IN a few weeks time summer bedding, baskets, pots and window boxes will begin to look untidy.

Think about refilling them with winter flowering plants to provide colour in the duller months. Winter pansies, primulas and polyanthus will soon be available in many of our local garden centres. Plant them as early as possible in order to establish a good root system.

Check stakes and ties on dahlias and chrysanthemums as autumn gales may cause damage. Feed them weekly with a liquid fertiliser to maintain good quality blooms and to build up strong tubers, which will provide next year's growth and flowers.

Cuttings may now be taken of climbing and rambling roses. Select strong shoots 9-12 inches long; remove all leaves except the top two.

Place the cuttings in pots filled with a coarse potting in a shady part of the garden. Cuttings, which have rooted, will be ready for planting out in 15 months.

If you have a lot of birds in your garden, growing plants that produce berries to provide colour in winter can be a problem. Red berries always seem to be first choice of the birds.

Those plants, which produce orange berries, including Pyracantha and Viburnun, don't seem to be just as attractive and as a result the plants get to keep their berries for longer periods.

Plants which are not producing healthy leaves, flowers and generally don't look their best will benefit from a top - dress of leaf mould, peat and a few inches of well rotted manure.

Varieties of potted herbs can be brought into the glasshouse now to encourage new fresh shoots, which will come in useful in the kitchen at Christmas. This works well with herbs such as Chives, Parsley and Oregano.

Vitus Coignetiae, or the glory vine, certainly lives up to its name at this time of year. The broadly ovate leaves assume tints of rich orange, red and purple, giving a glorious display.

They will attach themselves by twining tendrils to fences, walls and pergolas or may be allowed to run rampant through large trees.

Vitus thrive on fertile well drained soil in full sun. Some useful varieties include Vitus Virifera, Purpurea and Amurensis.

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