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Prepare your spring bulbs

All Areas > Homes & Gardens > In the Garden

Author: Julia Smith, Posted: Tuesday, 26th October 2021, 08:00

November can be quite a mild month and it is unusual to have snow this early in the winter – although it can come early, as it did a couple of years ago.

This means that you can still potter about in the garden for a while longer, perhaps splitting herbaceous perennials which have become too big, and replanting smaller portions. You could even share the rest with neighbours and friends.

Cut holly for Christmas before all the berries get eaten

If you have a nice holly that gets berries on it but the birds eat them all before you can use them at Christmas, cut some of the branches by the end of November. Store them in a cool, bright place like a cold frame or under polythene in an unheated greenhouse where they won’t lose too much moisture.

Prune blackcurrant bushes, taking out the oldest branches at the base. You can use some of the shoots of this year’s growth for hardwood cuttings which root so easily.

Tulips can be planted now. I prefer to plant in pots, which can be buried in the border when they come into flower and are easily removed when they fade.

There are such delicious colours for sale nowadays. If you’re not confident on colour combinations, most bulb companies have collections that complement each other. It pays to buy the best quality bulbs you can – they should be firm and plump, so don’t use any that are skinny or mildewed, as you won’t get the desired effect when they flower.

This is the time of year to plant bare-root fruit trees and bushes, and roses, which is a cheaper way to buy plants. Don’t plant if the weather is freezing or the soil is water-logged, but make sure to plant as soon as possible when you receive them, and don’t let the roots dry out. It’s a good idea to stand them in a bucket of water for a couple of hours before planting to give them a good drink.

A ‘lasagne’ of bulbs

Plant up some winter containers to add interest to the patio. You can make a ‘lasagne’ of bulbs to flower in spring and top off the container with ivies, winter flowering heathers or grasses. Remember that you may have to water containers if there is little rain and lots of drying winds.

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