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News - Page 105

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Cut back dogwoods hard this week

Cut back dogwoods hard this week to encourage those wonderful brilliantly coloured young stems which shine out so beautifully in a winter border. If you haven't got them in your garden already, you'll find a great choice in your favourite garden centre: Cornus alba 'Sibirica' is the one to choose if you want the richest scarlets, or for a clear limey yellow go for Cornus sericea 'Flaviramea'. The two make a lovely contrasting pair planted together.

Pruning these hardy, easy-to-grow shr...

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The plant of the month for March is Vinca

The plant of the month for March is Vinca, better known as the periwinkle and a fantastic choice for covering the ground with a carpet of sky blue, star-shaped flowers from spring onwards. Even better, its attractive glossy foliage is evergreen, spreading into a handsome year-round backdrop for other plants and at the same time suppressing weeds and locking moisture in the ground.

There are two main types. Vinca major is a very vigorous, rapid-spreading ground cover which romps over th...

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National Science Week starts this Friday

National Science Week starts on Friday so it's the perfect opportunity to get out into your garden to do a little experimenting. There are dozens of scientific projects you can join in with, and you don't need any special knowledge or equipment , just a burning interest in finding out about the natural world outside your back door.

You can join in with one of the many citizen science experiments happening all over the country right now. The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) scheme brings to...

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Treat your mum this Mothering Sunday

Treat your mum this Mothering Sunday with a long-lasting present she can plant in her garden and enjoy every day of the year.

You'll find plenty of Mother's Day themed plants at your favourite garden centre: here are some of the best.

  • Rose 'Mother's Day' fits nicely into a container as it grows to just 60cm high. In summer its rich red flowers will cascade fetchingly over the sides.
  • Camellia 'Magic Mum' makes a lovely...
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Get down to your local garden centre for Garden Re-Leaf day

Get down to your local garden centre for Garden Re-Leaf day this Friday, when gardeners across the country will be celebrating the start of the new season with the party to end all parties.

Look out for the ever-popular celebrity gardening quiz evenings, when you can test your knowledge with questions voiced by some of the country's best known gardeners including Christine Walkden, Toby Buckland, Pippa Greenwood and Joe Swift.

There are dozens of other great events planned, from...

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Prune summer-flowering shrubs

Prune summer-flowering shrubs this month to make sure they put on their best display later this season. Some spectacular garden performers come into this category, including the butterfly bush, Buddleja davidii, hardy fuchsias, and musk mallows (Lavatera), all available from your favourite garden centre.
All these shrubs bear flowers on growth produced this year, so you're aiming to encourage them to make as many fresh new shoots as possible. This means quite a hard prune, so don't be t...

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Chit new potatoes

Chit new potatoes to give them a head start on the season, encouraging them to send up sturdy little sprouts while you're waiting for the weather to warm up enough to plant them. It's especially important in colder areas of the country, with a shorter season between planting and harvesting, when your seed potatoes need to be as far ahead as possible by the time you put them in the ground.

It's not necessary, however, for maincrop varieties, which are planted a little later in the year ...

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Get ready for sowing vegetables

Get ready for sowing vegetables by making a 'stale seedbed' – an area of ground which you've prepared and then covered with clear polythene to warm it up ready for your seeds. It's an old market gardening trick which gets your seedlings off to a flying start.

Start by digging over the area to a fork's depth, bashing any clods with the back of your fork so they break up. Then rake the area thoroughly in two different directions to create a lovely crumbly bed for your seeds. You're aimin...

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Start dahlia tubers into growth

Start dahlia tubers into growth this week. Overwintering dahlias in damp-ish sand under a bench in a frost-free greenhouse or conservatory is a wonderful way to keep your favourite plants growing from one year to the next. If you didn't get around to it last year, your favourite garden centre has new dahlia tubers in stock at the moment: look out for 'Black Narcissus', a deep wine-red cactus type, 'Twynyngs After Eight' with white flowers over deep bronze-purple foliage, or the blowsy pompoms...

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Give your grasses a haircut

Give your grasses a haircut and a general tidy-up ahead of the new season. Many grasses hold their shape beautifully over winter, their seedheads and arching leaves making architectural sculptures rimed with frost: if you're looking get the look in your garden, good varieties to choose include Calamagrostis x acutiflora 'Karl Foerster', Miscanthus sinensis 'Kleine Fontane' and the evergreen golden oat grass, Stipa gigantea. All are available from your favourite garden centre....

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It's Valentine's Day

It's Valentine's Day this Thursday and there's no better way to say 'I love you' than with flowers. You'll find a wonderful selection of cut blooms in your favourite garden centre to choose from, whether it's the traditional dozen roses you're looking for, or something more unusual. Look out for seasonal flowers with a romantic meaning: they include camellias (pink for longing and white for adoration), forget-me-nots for true love, and if things aren't going so well, daffodil...

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Deadhead orchids

Deadhead orchids as soon as they finish flowering to encourage them to send up a new spike of those luscious, tropical blooms. Phalaenopsis (moth) orchids, available in your favourite garden centre, are by far the easiest to grow, and flower for months right through winter. But once the flowers die down, snip back the stem, cutting just above a swelling around 10cm from the base. A new flowering shoot should spring up soon after.

Water only when the pot feels light: orchids hate sittin...

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