Exiles Forum

Lisburn, Co. Antrim, Northern Ireland




Don't be caught cold with the frost

 Gardening with Clive Sullivan of Cameron Landscapes and Ballylesson Garden Centre

THIS is a good time to effect repairs to garden structures. Before frost becomes too severe replace dislodged paving, point up stonewalls and patch up concrete paths that have cracked or are falling to pieces.

As you prune and retrain climbing plants. repair damaged pergolas fences or posts. These need to be strong enough to support the full weight of your plants, even when this is doubled because of a burden of rainwater.

Vine eyes, screwed or cemented into walls with strong wire running through them, make good anchor points for wall plants.

With your workload reducing in the garden, the next few weeks will give you a chance to appraise your situation.

How do you feel about a glasshouse? The advantages are endless. You can propagate, from seed or cuttings, as much of your own plant material as you like. You can produce tender food crops such as melons tomatoes, grapes and aubergines. You can raise lovely houseplants. You can also extend your growing season, beginning your spring sowings as early as January rather than March and harvesting right to the end of the year if you wish, not to mention raising cut flowers for indoor decoration


A greenhouse gives you something to do on a rainy day and gets you out of the house. In fact when you think of it can you exist without a greenhouse?

As winter approaches and you begin to tidy up the garden, spare a thought for the wildlife. Winter migrant birds like fieldfares and redwings will join local thrushes and blackbirds all feeding hungrily on berries of cotoneaster, pyracantha and sorbus and on rose hips.

Smaller birds such as wrens and blue tits like to shelter in undergrowth and hedgehogs will begin hibernation beneath the shrubs.

It is helpful therefore to leave one or two areas with thick undergrowth or long grass and to allow climbers, such as ivy, to grow thickly to give shelter.