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Caring for Buxus Shaped Plants

October 18th, 2018 · No Comments

Buxus plants trained into shapes such as balls and cones, they do need a bit of special care. They can get a disease called box blight but this mainly seems to be on plants that are not cared for. The Box blight is a fungal disease that builds up on old foliage and starts to show itself as a black mould like substance on the stems.
So its best to feed you buxus with some liquid tomato feed from March to the end of October twice a month – liquid tomato feed is high in potash and creates a hard grow not easily infected by fungal diseases. Then shaking the plants to remove dry dead leaves is recommended as well as in the summer watering the heads with a jet of water to again remove any dead leaves and stop the build up of dead leaves inside the ball which supports fungal grow.
Finally with our Buxus balls or other shapes on dry days during the winter twice a year we reach inside the ball and apply a dressing of yellow sulphur here is a link
https://www.homebase.co.uk/yellow-sulphur-225g_p412900
this helps stop the spread of any fungus – its worth testing a plant before you treat all the plants just to make sure you have no side effects i.e burning etc

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Creating A Mirco Clover Lawn

September 5th, 2018 · No Comments

Preparing a seed bed for a micro clover lawn
The best time for sowing a microclover lawn from seed is in the early autumn from September onwards.
The first task is to generally level the area and allow any weed
seeds to germinate and remove these weeds by hand or spray them off with
Roundup weed killer.
Next after a couple of weeks rake the area with a fine rake removing all the large stones and producing a fine tilth on the surface of the soil.
Sow the clover about half a handful per square metre and lighty rake the seed in. If the soil is dry you can also roll the area or use you feet to tread in the seed it. Iits important the seed makes good contact with the soil as this helps stop it drying out.
Once the seed is sown keep the area moist with watering as required for
14 days. As the clover germinates any weeds that show should be spot treated with
Roundup weed killer or removed by hand.
It the ground is stoney it can be rolled after about a month to push the stones back into the
ground once the clover start to germinate.
The first cut of the cloner can take place after about 8 weeks using a rotary mower on its highest setting.
With regards to feeding clover produces its own nitrate feed from the air using bacteria
in its roots. So normally a clover lawn does not need feeding. However if its slow establishing use half a handful of Growmore fertilizer per square metre.

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Flowers suitable for cut garden

September 5th, 2018 · No Comments

Bulbs
Allium ‘Purple Sensation” Dahlia
Gladiolus
Tulipa ballerina
Tulipa triumph white
Annuals
Ammi majus
Briza media
Ceanothus cynara Cosmos candy stripe Eschscholzia californica Hesperis matronalis Limonium latifolium Lunaria annua
Nigella
Zinnia ‘Sprite Mix’
Perennials
Anemone ‘Honorine Jobert’ Anemone coronaria
Astrantia
Coreopsis moonbeam Delphinium Faust
Delphinium Guardian
Dianthus
Dianthus barbatus ‘Green Trick’ Echinacea ‘Green Jewel’ Echinacea purpurea ‘Magnus’ Gypsophilia paniculata Helianthus debilis ‘Vanilla Ice’ Knautia
Matthiola incana
Narcissus ‘Tete a tete’ Penstemon Garnet
Penstemon Garnet
Penstemon Sour grapes
Peony ‘Bowl of Beauty’
Phlox paniculata Amethyst Scabiosa Blue Note
Verbena bonariensis

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Adding colour to woodland gardens

April 18th, 2018 · No Comments

If you are looking to create some colour in a woodland garden or border with a heavy tree canopy the GardenAdvice team have a few tips and tricks to keep help produce some colourful displays.
It’s worth focusing on spring colour when planning a woodland garden or shaded border as a number of plants have evolved to flower before the leaves on larger deciduous tree come out in the spring to form a dense canopy shading the ground.

A good place to start it to imagine that you are creating 4 levels of planting within the area with each level designed to create a different level of flowering.

The first layer could be made up of quite large shrubs such as –
azalea mollis
Camellia
hamamelis x intermedia
magnolia stellata
In addition the second layer in less shady area could be made up of plants designed to provide autumn colour such as –
parrotia persica
euonymus alatus

The third layer under could be made up of plants that are able to grow and flower in shade in early spring such as –
skimmia japonica rubella
brunnera macrophylla
pulmonaria
gaultheria procumbens

The fourth layer is the ground floor layer and as well as spring flowers it offers the opportunity to extend the flowering period slightly into summer and the autumn with the following plants
Crocus speciosus large autumn crocus
Agapanthus
cyclamen hederifolium
pulsatilla vulgaris

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Protect your garden against deer and rabits

March 30th, 2018 · No Comments

Rabbits, Deer And How To Stop Them Playing Havoc In The Garden

In the past, in my various gardening roles, I have been lucky enough not to experience too many problems with bunnies and bambies. But for those not familiar with these pests, deer and rabbits between them will eat virtually every garden plant. From the more obvious and juicy bedding plants and salad crops, to young shrubs and trees. So if you have just moved in to an area, or a new house and you want to have a garden what do you do?
One method, if deer are a major problem in your area, is that the entire garden needs to be fenced off with deer wire fencing 8 feet (3.75 meters). If it is rabbits, then you need rabbit wire about 3 feet high buried in to the soil at least 18 inches deep. The reason for all this ugly fencing is that deer can jump very high (even those cute little Munck Jack deer) and rabbits are prodigious diggers.

There are a variety of things that you could try to repel deer, from human hair, to loud banging noises, to suspended shiny CD discs. In my experience, however, none or these work, certainly not on any long term basis. What is more, they look even more unpleasant than the fencing.
Obviously not everyone wants their garden to look so fortified, especially if it is only a very small plot. So what do you do? Then solution, for deer at least, is to limit the plants you grow to those that are deer proof. These are plants that are known to be unattractive to deer, either because they taste, or smell unpleasant to them, or are spiky. You will also find it valuable to talk to gardeners in your area, or join your local garden club or society and ask them for advice. Below is an extensive selection of Annuals, Perennials, Shrubs, Trees and Vines / Ground Cover plants which are known to be deer proof. Let me know about your deer and rabbit experiences, send me an EMail percy@gardenadvice.co.uk.
Annuals
* Calendula officinalis (Pot Marigold)
* Campanula medium (Canterbury Bells)
* Impatients wallerana (Busy Lizzie)
* Lupinus (Lupin)
* Moluccella laevis (Bells Of Ireland)
* Myosotis sylvatica (Forget Me Not)
* Papaver nudicaule (Iceland Poppy)
* Papaver rhoeas (Flanders or Shirley Poppy)
* Ricinus communis (Castor Oil or Bean Plant)
* Scabiosa (Pincushion Flower)
* Vinca Rosea (Madagascar Periwinkle)
* Zinnia
Perennials / Bulbs
* Aconitium (Monkshood)
* Agapanthus (Nile Lily)
* Agave
* Aloe
* Amaryllis belladonna (Hippeastrum)
* Anemone hybrida
* Artichoke
* Arum (Calla Lily)
* Bamboo
* Begonia (Tuberous)
* Cactus
* Chives
* Chrysanthem maximum (Shasta Daisy)
* Cortaderia selloana (Pampas Grass)
* Crinum
* Crocosmia (Monbretia)
* Cyclamen
* Dicentra spectabilis (Bleeding Heart)
* Digitalis (Foxglove)
* Eschscholzia californica (Californian Poppy)
* Ferns
* Freesia
* Gaillardia grandifloria
* Helleborus (Hellebore)
* Hosta
* Iris
* Kniphofia uvaria (Red Hot Poker)
* Lamium maculatum (Dead Nettle)
* Lavandula (Lavender)
* Lupinus (Lupin)
* Jasminum (Jasmine) *
* Mirabilis jalapa (Four O’clock Plant)
* Narcissus (Daffodil)
* Nepeta (Catnip)
* Papaver orientale (Oriental Poppy)
* Penstemon
* Phormium (New Zealand Flax)
* Romneya coulteri (California Tree Poppy)
* Rudbeckia hirta (Black Eyed Susan)
* Sisyrinchum
* Trillium
Shrubs
* Arbutus unedo (Strawberry Tree)
* Berberis
* Buddleia davidii (Butterfly Bush)
* Buxus (Box)
* Callistemon (Bottle Brush) *
* Ceanothus “Blue Jeans”
* Ceanothus gloriosus
* Chamaerops humilis (Mediterranean Fan Palm)
* Choisya ternata (Mexican Orange)
* Cistus (Rockrose)
* Corylus cornuta californica (Western Hazelnut)
* Cotinus coggygia (Smoke Bush)
* Cotoneaster buxifolius
* Cytisus scoparius (Scotch Broom)
* Daphne
* Elaeagnus pungens (Silverberry)
* Erica (Heath / Heather)
* Euonymus japonica (Evergreen Euonymus)
* Gaultheria shallon (Salal)
* Heteromeles arbutifolia (California Holly)
* Hypericum (Saint John’s Wort)
* Ilex (Holly)
* Juniperus (Juniper)
* Kerria japonica
* Lantana
* Mahonia
* Myrtus communis (Myrtle) *
* Nandina domestica (Sacred Bamboo)
* Nerium oleander (Oleander)
* Paeonia (Tree Peonies)
* Plumbago auriculata *
* Potentilla (deciduous types)
* Punica grantatum “Nana” (Dwarf Pomegranate)
* Rhododendron (not Azaleas)
* Rhus ovata (Sumac)
* Ribes (Flowering Currant)
* Rosmarinus officinalis (Rosemary)
* Salvia (Sage)
* Santolina
* Solanum (Potato Vine)
* Taxus (Yew)
* Teucrium fruiticans (Bush Germander)
Trees
* Abies (Fir)
* Acacia *
* Acer circinatum (Vine Maple)
* Acer palmatum (Japanese Maple)
* Albizia julibrissin (Silk Tree)
* Araucaria araucana (Monkey Puzzle Tree)
* Arbutus menziesii
* Callistemon (Bottlebrush) *
* Cordyline Australis
* Eucalyptus *
* Fraxinus (Ash)
* Ilex (Holly)
* Liquidambar styraciflua (American Sweet Gum)
* Lithocarpus densiflorus (Tan Bark Oak)
* Melia azedarach (Chinaberry, Texas Umbrella Tree)
* Palms **
* Picea (Spruce)
* Podocarpus macrophyllus (Yew Pine)
* Umbellularia californica (California Laurel, Oregon Myrtle)
Vines / Ground Covers
* Arctostaphylos uva-uva (Bearberry)
* Clematis
* Fatshedera lizei (Giant Ivy)
* Fragaria chiloensis (Wild Strawberry)
* Gelsemium sempervirens (Carolina Jessamine) *
* Hedera helix (English Ivy)
* Hypericum calycinum (Creeping St. Johnswort)
* Jasminum (Jasmine) *
* Laurentia fluviatilis (Blue Star Creeper)
* Osteospermum fruitcosum (Trailing African Daisy)
* Solanum jasminoides (Potato Vine) *
* Trachelospermum jasminiodes (Star Jasmine) *
* Vinca major (Periwinkle)
* These should all be hardy in most of the UK but check with your nurseryman if you have any doubts as they can be a little tender.

Another method work trying to protect against deer and rabbits is to use a spray jet Click here for further details

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Plants for narrow garden borders

March 6th, 2018 · No Comments

cistus silver pink

lavender munstead

skimmia rubella

anonomie queen charlotte

pittosporum tom thumb

Heuchera ‘Cherry Cola’

Brunnera macrophylla ‘Silver Spear’

epimedium x youngianum ‘niveum’

Bulbs

crocus

Colchicum autumnale

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Ground elder in new and existing borders

January 8th, 2018 · No Comments

On the new and existing garden borders that contain ground elder if you install ground or weed sheeting covered by bark mulch that will stop the ground elder and kill it through lack of sunlight. You can plant through the sheeting with plants by cutting crosses in the sheeting and planting through the sheeting
You will find that some of the ground elder will come up at the edges of the sheeting and sometimes in the crosses you cut into the sheeting to carry out planting. In this case use a small hand held sprayer with Round up weed killer to treat these areas of ground elder as a spot treatment with several applications over the spring and early summer.
With the Round up if you buy it in the litre bottles as it stronger and mix it will 60 percent water here is a link
https://www.ashridgetrees.co.uk/roundup-weedkiller

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Pruning climbing honeysuckle

December 7th, 2017 · No Comments

Over the winter months you can prepare your honeysuckle for new growth and new flowers in the coming spring.
First prune removing all the dead diseased and damaged stems cut back some of the new shoots that were created in last years growing season.
Once all the leaves have fallen off in December or January it’s also a good idea to give the plant and winter wash to remove all the overwintering pests and diseases.
Finally in the early spring provide the honeysuckle with a couple of handfuls of Growmore fertiliser just to ensure some strong new growth and new flowers which in most cases will be formed on the new season growth.

GardenAdvice one day gardening course for beginners designed to get you started in your own garden or makes an ideal christmas gift for the gardener in your life.
For further details Click Here

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Overwintering Geraniums.

December 7th, 2017 · No Comments

Overwintering geraniums – As the season draws to a close its time to save you summer geraniums before the hard frosts arrive.To do this dig up you geranium plants and cut them back to the main structure of the plant just leaving a frame work of the larger branches.The softer grow removed can be used to create softwood cuttings.
click here for more details.
With the remaining plants pruned back pot them us into large boxes or pots with a John Inness soil based compost making sure the compost is quite dry. Then place them on or near a window sill in a cool frost free area overwinter.Water very lightly every two weeks to stop them totally drying out.Then you will find in February to early March they will have produced a number of shoots that can be again used for softwood cuttings.Then at the end of March re-pot the plants and start to water and feed them before planting them out into the final bedding positions in the garden or your tubs.One final point whilst over wintering the geraniums keep an eye open for fungal infections and remove any dead of damaged leaves or stems.

GardenAdvice one day gardening course for beginners designed to get you started in your own garden or makes an ideal christmas gift for the gardener in your life.
For further details Click Here

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Getting Your Christmas Cactus To Flower.

December 5th, 2017 · No Comments

Treat them mean and keep them keen – A term not often used in relation to plants but in the case of a Christmas Cactus its the key to getting them to flower at the best.Ideally they need to be grown pot bound and slightly under fed so the leaves start to yellow in the autumn.This treatment of a Christmas Cactus will help induce the plant to flower at its most prolific.Then when its finished flowering in late winter give it a light house plant feed and when the risk of frost has passed place the plant outside on a patio so that the summer rains can remove all the dust that builds on the plants leaves over the winter inside.

GardenAdvice one day gardening course for beginners designed to get you started in your own garden or makes an ideal christmas gift for the gardener in your life.
For further details Click Here

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Planting for interest near a privet hedge 

October 30th, 2017 · No Comments

Privet hedges are quite hungry and deplete the soil near to them of organic matter and nutrients so to grow plants near to a privet hedge you need to improve the soil with spent mushroom compost and a general fertilizer such Growmore fertilizer 

Plants to consider planting near a privet hedge include the following

cyclamen hederifolium

brunnera macrophylla

Euphorbia myrsinites

Lonicera nitida Baggesen’s Gold

GardenAdvice one day gardening course for beginners designed to get you started in your own garden or makes an ideal christmas gift for the gardener in your life.
For further details Click Here

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Plants for creating a seaside style garden 

September 12th, 2017 · No Comments

Plants for creating a seaside style garden 

Tamarix

Armeria

griselinia littoralis

festuca glauca elijah blue

verbascum gainsborough

echium vulgare

Cordyline Australis Red Star

Rosmarinus officinalis

GardenAdvice one day gardening course for beginners designed to get you started in your own garden or makes an ideal christmas gift for the gardener in your life.
For further details Click Here

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Native bluebells 

May 1st, 2017 · No Comments

There are two species of bluebell found in the United Kingdom. Native or British bluebell and non-native Spanish bluebell. Cross-breeding between the two species means you may spot flowers which combine traits from both.
The easiest way to tell the difference between native and non-native bluebells is to look at the colour of the pollen. If it is creamy-white then the bluebell is native. If it is any other colour such as pale green or blue then it’s not native.
These other characteristics will also help you to tell the difference.

Native Hyacinthoides non-scripta
native bluebells

Native bluebells

Pollen cream-white colour

Deep violet-blue. A genetic mutation occasionally causes white flowers

Flower stem droops or nods distinctly to one side

Almost all flowers are on one side of the stem, hanging down to one side

Flowers are a narrow, straight-sided bell with parallel sides

Petal tips are reflexed (curl back)

Flowers have a strong, sweet scent

Spanish Hyacinthoides hispanica 

Spanish bluebells

Spanish bluebells

Pollen green or blue

Pale to mid-blue, often also white or pink

Flower stem is stiff and upright

Flowers are usually all the way round the stem, with the flowers sticking out

Flowers are a wide open, almost cone shaped bell

Petal tips flare slightly outwards

Flowers have little or no scent at all

Why are non-native bluebells a threat?

Spanish bluebell is a threat to our native species because they readily cross-breed resulting in the fertile hybrid Hyacinthoides hispanica x non-scripta.

This is a problem because crossbreeding dilutes the unique characteristics of our native Bluebell, changing future generations forever.

Most bluebells in urban areas are now thought to be hybrids and a study by Plantlife found that one in six broadleaved woodlands contained the hybrid or Spanish bluebell.

GardenAdvice one day gardening course for beginners designed to get you started in your own garden or makes an ideal christmas gift for the gardener in your life.
For further details Click Here

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Mulching your garden borders

April 28th, 2017 · No Comments


One of the keys to creating a low maintenance gardening is to use mulches to suppress the weeds and reduce the need for weeding. 
In areas that are predominantly trees and shrubs you can use a weed sheeting covering my bark chips or wood chip mulches. On areas that contain perennial plants it’s best to use either spent mushroom compost or well rotted horse/farmyard manure making sure the material does not contain weeds initially.
These mulches will be incorporated into the soil over a period of time by the soil bacteria and by earthworms helping to improving the texture and water holding capacities of the soil.
One important point to remember with all mulches is that as they breakdown they remove nutrients from the soil as the bacteria uses the nutrients to help to break down the mulches so it’s important when you apply a mulch to add some fertiliser to the soil first we normally recommend a handful of Growmore fertiliser per square metre.
Spent mushroom compost is ideal for most soils and most plants however if you need to lower the pH in the soil or if you have plants that prefer acid soil conditions well rotted horse manure or farmyard manure is a better option as it is slightly acid. 

Spent mushroom compost contains high levels of lime making it unsuitable for acid loving plants. 
After the initial application of the mulch you will need to top it up every year and any more persistent weeds that grow through the mulch will need removing by hand or spot treating with Round up weedkiller. 

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When To Prune A Passion Flower.

March 26th, 2017 · No Comments

Prune your passion flower is spring, when danger of the most severe frosts have passed.It is good to leave as much growth on during the winter to protect it from the weather even though it looks quite messy.Its hard to prune to any set format just follow the existing main stems and prune back to these.Once pruned a liquid feed of a fertilizer containing a high potash content is ideal i.e. liquid tomato feed is ideal.

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Bay Tree Damaged By Frost.

February 5th, 2017 · No Comments

Question
With regards to your question on your bay tree damaged by frost over the winter months.
Answer
The damaged leaves will not recover and are best removed by hand.Once they have been removed feed them with a liquid plant food,for bay trees the best one is one high in phosphate such as a liquid tomato feed available from most garden centres.After about 6 weeks you should find that new leaves start to grow from the bare stems and by the end of the summer the plant should have fully recovered. For More information:
click here

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Renovating an old allotment and removing difficult weeds

February 2nd, 2017 · No Comments


It’s not very often you get to take over an old allotments or an allotment from a previous owner where it is completely weed free normally taking over an allotment can be a bit of a nightmare as its often overgrown with grass and brambles.

As you are going to grow vegetables in your allotment using a chemical weed killer is not really on option a more organic method is needed. Firstly remove all the rubbish on our allotment, next strim or cut down the brambles, weeds and long grass. Plus if the allotment is uneven try to level it as best you can.

With the allotment level you can now lay a black plastic covering to exclude the light. Ideally this plastic covering should be of a woven construction which is stronger than a more plastic sheeting.
The plastic sheeting will need to be pegged to the ground to stop it moving in the wind etc.
The GardenAdvice team us a Mypex ground cover sheeting.

With the plastic sheeting in place you can still grow a number of crops such as potatoes and tomatoes, runner beans etc. These can be planted through the sheeting as tubers or young plants by making small cross cuts in the plastic sheeting. Potatoes have the added advantage of cleaning up the soil and creating a very easy to work soil once the plastic is removed.
Before planting crops through the plastic were the allotment has been overgrown you might have to wait a few months for the weeds under the plastic sheeting to die down.

If you are intending to grow crops through the sheeting its a good idea before the sheeting is laid to install a drip irrigation or leaky hose system under the sheeting which will make the task of watering much easier.

Ideally the plastic needs to be in place for a full 12 months or over the winter months to produce a fairly weed free and workable soil once the plastic is removed it’s not going to remove 100% of the weeds but the ones that remain will be controllable if you continue to work on soil and work the allotment.

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Renovating a lawn containing builders rubble

January 20th, 2017 · No Comments

If you buy a new house with a lawn full of builders rubble then you best bet is to start again as in the long run this will save a lot of time and money.

To start it’s often best to kill the existing lawn a few weeks before with round up weed killer applying it with a watering can on a dry day about 10 days before you start. The reason for this is that it will make the cultivation of the existing lawn a lot easier.

Next after about 10 days after the application of the weed killer you can start to dig over the existing lawn removing all the rubble ideally over 50 to 75 mm. If the soil is very hard often it a good idea to use a spade and mattock spade that’s similar to a pick axe with flattened ends.

At this stage if your soil is a wet heavy clay it’s a good idea as you dig it over work in one 25 kg of grit sand per 3 metre square area. This will help break up the soil ( if the builders merchant is not sure about the type of sand just tell them it’s the type of sand used for rendering)

With the area of the lawn worked over now it’s time to create a general level with a rake and walking over the area as you start to work the soil down.
At this stage you can decide if you need to import topsoil. If the soil still contains a lot of rubble or is hard to level and still lumpy it’s often better to import some screened soil and lay the additional topsoil over the area to a depth of 50mm to 75mm.

If you decide to use some imported soil this is best delivered with the turf as it should be reasonable dry and easy to work . If left in a pile for a week or so it might become unworkable if it rains.

If you decide to seed the area it’s best to spread and level the imported topsoil and leave if for a few weeks before you sow the grass seed to allow any weed seeds to germinate first do they can be removed before you sow the grass seed.

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Ceanothus Damaged By Frost.

January 15th, 2017 · No Comments

The GardenAdvice Team have noticed and indeed have had loads of questions this year about ceanothus being damaged by the frost and the bad weather. Our advice is to wait for a time to see if they re-shoots from the lower branches and then cut back to these green shoots.The shoot might take up until the end of May to start to come through.To check the plant is not died lightly scratch the lower stems and see if you can see some green colour just under the branches surface,this will indicate that the plant is still alive and more than likely recover.

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Plants Damaged By Frost.

January 15th, 2017 · No Comments

With this winter being on of the hardest of recent years now at the start of April its a good time to give your plants a helping hand.Many of the softer plants have been damaged such as ceanothus and fatsia japonica together with the slightly more exotic plants such as the bottle brush shrub.
In most cases its worth removing damaged growing tips by simply removing them, this should encourage new shoots to grow later in the spring.In the case of plants that look to be dead its worth waiting a few weeks to see is they shoot from the bare stems.A good example of this is ceanothus which in hard weather often gets its leaves burned by frost and snow,then later in the year new shoots start to grow on the older bare stems.At this point you can prune back the dead and damaged wood and the plant over a couple of seasons regrows.

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