PLANT OF THE WEEK: A brand new Christmas rose
Christmas rose, Helleborus niger shouldn’t be tough to develop, however loam-rich floor and partial shade works greatest. In contrast to taller, extra vibrant oriental hellebores, H. niger produces massive white, five-petalled flowers on shorter stems. Regardless of the identify, this plant is extra prone to flower from February. That’s why the hybrid Helleborus HGC Jacob Royal is such a beneficial new introduction as it’s a December-blooming selection.
NOW’S THE TIME TO ZAP THOSE SEEDLINGS
The warmth and drought of final summer time prompted grass weeds to seed copiously.
Elements of my backyard lately grew to become infested with plenty of seedlings, particularly of annual grasses. In locations they’ve come up like cress.
The soil could also be too moist now to take motion.
However when there is a dry spell, between now and early March, hold attacking these seedlings.
Pull them up whereas they’re small, ensuring the roots come away in addition to the top-growth.
Work fastidiously — particularly the place there are spring bulbs in the identical borders.
Their first shoots will quickly be extending and can turn out to be simple to wreck.
Take care too, to not compact chilly, moist soil.
Annuals comparable to barren brome grass, furry bittercress and groundsel are simple to tug out when younger.
But when they’re allowed to mature — or worse, set seed — your weed downside might be better.
Bigger annual weeds comparable to sow thistle and fats hen, aka goosefoot, also needs to be pulled up early, earlier than they’ve had time to develop deeper, extra tenacious roots.
Each weed pulled is an enchancment.
So even for those who tweak out only a few, as you enterprise out into your backyard, it can assist.
5 minutes a day may keep away from hours of labor subsequent spring, after we’ll all be busy with different issues.
5 minutes a day may keep away from hours of labor subsequent spring, after we’ll all be busy with different issues. Inventory picture used
If the present bitter winter bites much more deeply, burst pipes will turn out to be extra probably. If in case you have water pipes outdoors, or in chilly outbuildings, test that these are nicely protected. Ensure all of the pipes are correctly insulated, in addition to faucets. I take advantage of a combination of previous, worn-out horticultural fleece and items of bubble-wrap, for lagging susceptible pipes. It does the trick. With extra trendy out of doors plumbing, it must be simpler to make use of purpose-designed pipe insulation.
FINISH YOUR FORMAL HEDGES
void clipping dubiously hardy hedge vegetation comparable to Escallonia or tamarisk. These are higher trimmed in late summer time after which left untouched
If in case you have evergreen hedging or topiary, heavy autumn rain could have prompted further stems to develop in locations. On neatly-clipped, formal hedging, the rogue shoots can spoil the symmetry and neatness. Take away these with secateurs or shears as quickly as there is a gentle, dry day. As soon as the symmetry of your hedge is restored, it can want no extra chopping earlier than subsequent summer time. Bear in mind that small birds — wrens, dunnocks, blue and long-tailed tits all wish to hunt for bugs deep in hedges and different vegetation. So take care to not spoil their searching areas. Hedges are additionally necessary for offering shelter for small birds in exhausting climate. Keep away from clipping dubiously hardy hedge vegetation comparable to Escallonia or tamarisk. These are higher trimmed in late summer time after which left untouched.
Final June I used to be given a younger Clivia plant. I potted it, utilizing peat-free compost. It now has a lot of huge, strappy leaves. However no signal of a flower. The place did I’m going improper?
Mrs B. McDonald, Cheshire.
You have not gone improper. Your plant has grown nicely and can flower at its regular time. That’s often from late winter into spring. In the meantime, hold your clivia heat, in good mild and watered. You may see the primary flower stem rising from among the many leaves and increasing an extended, sturdy stem. Every stem tip will carry a cluster of tangerine orange flowers. Your plant might be comfortable in the identical pot for a yr or extra