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Tidy now for an easy spring

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Tuesday, 24th October 2017, 08:00

November is a good month to take a long hard look at your garden. We are all guilty of hanging on to shrubs, perennials or trees that really are either not good doers, or are too big, ugly, etc. If you are having trouble deciding what to get rid of, call in the professionals to give you some advice. It is better to start the process in the winter months than waiting until spring when everyone is rushed off their feet!

Give bulbs a headstart
Now is also a good time to plant lily bulbs, as they have a head-start on the spring planted ones. They need to be planted in good, rich, well-drained soil with plenty of organic matter dug in, and most of them like to be planted deep (about 15cm). If you have pots of lilies that have been in about three years, they will need to be re-potted – usually they start to sulk when they are not happy! – or disposed of and fresh ones put in their place. Make sure you use a deep enough pot to give them a fighting chance!

There are two schools of thought on tidying borders for winter: you can either leave the dying foliage and stems of perennials over winter to help insects survive, or alternatively you only leave the architecturally pleasing seedheads and get rid of the rest, as the slugs also like rotting foliage in which to spend their winter. You are either inclined one way or the other and I have to say that I like to take away most of the old stems, apply a good mulch of composted farmyard manure and look out on something neat and tidy during the grey days. At least that is what I intend to do when I have the time!

Evergreen leaves will not easily decompose
Clear and compost fallen leaves from the lawn – you can leave them on the borders as long as they are not covering evergreens like heathers, as the worms will pull them down into the soil over the winter and by spring they will be gone! Evergreen leaves like holly or laurel are something else and will not easily decompose – remove these from the borders. You can put them on the lawn and run over them with the mower to help in the decomposition. The deciduous leaves can be put into large bin bags with a few holes in – half fill a bag and tie the top, then stack somewhere out of the way and use in the borders the following autumn.

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