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Try something new in the garden this year

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Sunday, 24th December 2017, 09:00

Happy New Year to you all! Make this year one where you try something new in the garden; growing a vegetable or two, or planting herbs like thyme or rosemary for example.

January is the right time to give wisteria its winter pruning. Cut back the whippy stems that have grown last year to two or three buds. This will create flowering ‘spurs’ to bloom in the summer. Do take care if you have to use ladders – make sure the bottom is secure on a flat surface and don’t lean over to make it unstable. If you have a vast wisteria that has gone beserk after being ignored for many years, it may pay to call in a specialist gardener who can get it back into some semblance of order and enable you to carry on with it yourself in future years.

Warm the soil up ready for sowing seeds
Tidy up the vegetable plot by clearing away the finished crops and putting them on the compost heap to reduce pests and diseases. If you cover the soil with black plastic this will warm the soil up ready for sowing seeds later and keep weeds down.

Choose a mild day and you could clean algae and moss from your patio, either using a pressure washer or a stiff brush and paving cleaner.

Remember to re-cycle your Christmas tree if you have a real one. Garden centres will quite often take them, or the local recycling centre or if you have a garden refuse wheelie bin you can lop off the branches and stuff it in there. Either way you can be sure that most of the needles will still be in the carpet by Christmas 2018!

Why not grow some shrubs for free? Hardwood cuttings are taken from deciduous shrubs just after leaf fall or just before bud burst in spring, and include plants such as Buddleja, Cornus and Philadelphus. Choose strong, healthy shoots and cut stems about 20cm long and of a pencil thickness. Trim the top with a slanting cut just above a bud (so you know which side is up!) and square cut the base just below a bud.

Ready to move in autumn
Remove the leaves from the bottom two-thirds and cut remaining leaves in half. Remove a sliver of bark from the base and dip the cutting in hormone rooting powder to aid rooting. You can push them into open ground or use pots which you can put in a cold frame. They will be ready to move to a final location in autumn or pot on into containers.

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