PLANTS which keep their leaves in winter are often worth more
than the flamboyant herbaceous plants which disappear completely
when conditions are grim.
They give pleasure all the year
round, give a reason for walking in the garden in winter and
help to present a picture from the house.
Hot, sandy or gravel
soils which cause concern in dry summers often provide the most
furnished areas in winter, apart from an absence of flowers in
several winter months.
Perfect examples are Viburnum Tinus,
Laural, Photinia, Rhododendrons, Conifers and Holly etc. These
will also provide a windbreak and will give a great structure to
the garden through the winter.
The garden's greatest enemy is
wind and this month often proves to be the stormiest. You cannot
stop the wind, but you can slow it down and you can create
microclimate in your garden. Fences, walls and artificial
screens will affect this, up to a point, but the best way is
Hedges are excellent windbreaks and grow far more
quickly than you might imagine, especially if you nurse them
with a temporary fence or shelter screen while they develop.
Groups of trees and shrubs also make great shelter devices and
have the added advantage of reducing noise. Plant densely at
first, but be prepared to thin out later. The best time to plant
shelter trees, hedges or any woody plant, for that matter, is
When pruning or tidying shrubs and, in some cases trees,
you can take young growths that have developed in the past
growing season and root them as cuttings. This works especially
well with willows, poplars and, apparently, with mulberries. It
is also a handy and almost effortless way of propagating roses
All you do is cut off young, vigorous wands and
push them, thick end first, into a piece of fertile ground,
preferably out off the wind and in shade. Next spring, when the
buds break and shoots begin to grow, cut the wands back to
within two or three buds up from the ground. The young plants
should be well-rooted and ready to transplant the following