Welcome to the GardenAdvice gardening calendar for the 3rd week in December 2013
A Happy Christmas and New Year to all our members and viewers
Christmas is all a bit of a rush however well planned your seasonal holidays have been planned and its the same with the garden. Its always a rush in late spring to organise the summer colours in your garden, however some planning and forethought goes a long way. This coming new year, to give you a head start on some summer colour we recommend Bulbs and beyond – premier suppliers of summer colour!
Colourful summer gardens are all about planning – and that’s especially the case with summer bulbs, corms, tubers, and rhizomes such as Lilies, Gladioli, Dahlias, Cannas and Zantedeschias (Calla Lilies). Now is the time to start thinking about planning your summer colour schemes and also pre-ordering your bulbs so you get the best stock available as soon as possible. Bulbs are delivered from March onwards so you’ll receive them at the right planting time. It is important to remember that most summer-flowering bulbs do not tolerate frost so if you have to store them, even for short period of time, do take appropriate measures to protect them from late frost. For summer colours inspiration, visit the GardenAdvice recommended expert supplier Bulbs & beyond
Your bulbs will be delivered to your doorstep direct from Holland so you’ll know they have been stored and treated professionally when you receive them at the right planting time. All you have to do is plant and enjoy them!
If you are a MyGardenTeam member ask your GardenAdvice expert gardener to come up with a few suggestions on summer bulbs, corms, tubers, and rhizomes to add some colour to you garden this summer.
Garden Wildlife – for the wildlife in your garden winter is all about shelter and food. Provide your garden wildlife with these two items and most of the wildlife in your garden will reward you by eating the pests that attack you crops and plants in the spring and summer. Shelter is easy to provide for most wildlife with hedgehogs for example its about making sure they have access under your garden shed or compost heap. Another example of shelter for wildlife is toads, they love upturned clay pots on soft or sandy soil. With your garden birds especially the small one such as blue tits its about leaving a few shrubs slightly over grow or some ivy on a wall to prove them with a place to roost during the hardest days in winter. Food is another mater with birds it easy, just make sure you have a stock of wild bird food in-store and ready to go. With lots of other garden wildlife turning over some of your soil on your veg plot will often turn up a few beetles and other insects plus the odd worm or two to keep wildlife that been hibernating and woken up for a snack going until the spring.
Ponds – leave the cutting down of the foliage from your water plants until the spring as it often provides a source of food for garden wildlife for example bull rush heads are a great source of food for finches.
Its a good idea to place a small blow up plastic football in your the pool or pond. This will stop the water freezing totally in a hard frost . The water around the football will not freeze it leaving just a patch of clear water which helps stop the ice damaging the pond and allows fish and other garden wildlife access to clear water in big freezes.
Compost heaps – to keep your compost heaps of bins working during the winter its a good idea to cover or wrap them with carpet. This will hold the heat in the compost and helps keep the bacteria and fungi active break down the compost
It might be cold and windy at this time of year but now is the ideal time to carry out any hardy plant planting in your garden with such items as trees, shrubs and perennial plants. At the time of year although the air is cold often the soil is still warm enough to promote new root growth on newly planted hardy plants
Root balled plants – As the winter planting season gets under-way get some advice on root balled plants.
When you are buying evergreen root balled plants in the autumn and winter often a nursery will grow a number of plants and buy in root balled plants from abroad so ask if its a locally grown plant or if they have been brought in. The advantage being that locally grown plants are already used to your conditions, if they have been grown in the South of Italy they are in for a bit of a shock. More
Time to look at your stored crops of apples and pears.
The Xmas and New Year is a good time to check on any apples and pears you have in storage. Make sure they are not touching each other and any signs of brushing or discolouring remove them before the effect the whole crop. You will have heard the saying one rotten apple will spoil a barrel
Beech trees and Hedges
The Christmas and new year period is you last chance to plant a bare root beech hedge – for reasons not fully understood planting them from January onwards and they never seem to do so well as the one planted at or before Christmas and new year period.
The seasonal holidays are a great time to clean out your glasshouse and get it ready for the seed sowing in February / March in a heated glasshouse. Wash down all the pots, seed trays, staging and other structures with a mixture of Jeyes fluid and water, the idea being it will kill all the overwintering pest eggs and fungal spores. Then start on the glass making sure you remove all the moss etc. where the pains overlap.
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