News

Dahlias in the winter, what to do?

Lift and store dahlia tubers as soon as the frost blackens the stems. In milder areas with free-draining soil, you can risk leaving them outdoors over winter, as dahlias can cope with a little frost.

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What to do with the banana plant?

Tuck up hardy banana plants before the first frosts strike, to make sure they spring back as good as new next year.

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Time to plant a grapevine

Plant a grapevine now in a sunny spot and you can make the most of the warm soil and damp weather to settle it in beautifully by next spring when it bursts into growth again. Growing grapes is becoming hugely popular these days, as the summers get warmer and last longer. All they need is a sheltered spot, ideally against a wall to hold in the warmth, or failing that a greenhouse to make sure those luscious fruits ripen.

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Plant of the Week: Althaea

The delicately pretty marshmallow, Althaea officinalis, is among the oldest of cottage garden flowers, with pale lilac-pink flowers that seem to dance above the border on their 1m tall stems.

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What to do in the garden in October?

The garden is ablaze in October, with berrying shrubs laden with brilliantly colourful jewels and trees turning every shade of crimson, copper and ochre. But winter isn’t far off now, so make your garden is tucked up and the harvest gathered in with our list of jobs to do this month.

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Carpark plants

The RHS is encouraging gardeners to love ‘carpark’ plants – those super reliable, robust, everyday shrubs often found dotted across urban landscapes.

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What to do with the lawn this week?

Scarifying is just a fancy word for removing all the debris which has built up at the base of grass shoots during the year. It’s mostly just dead grass and moss, but it can form into a dense thatch up to 1-2cm thick which prevents air from circulating and chokes your grass.

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Time to start a wildflower meadow!

Now is the time to start a wildflower meadow – not only a stunningly beautiful feature for the garden, but also a haven for wildlife including pollinating insects such as butterflies, bees and lacewings. Start sowing in autumn and you’re mimicking nature, as this is when flowers naturally shed their seed.

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Dry and store chillies

Dry and store chillies as soon as they’ve coloured up fully. By now they’ll have developed their full heat and flavour and as soon as the temperature starts to drop they’ll need harvesting before the cold weather sets in.

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How to protect non-hardy plants?

Start moving non-hardy plants under glass now long before they can be hit by frosts. You can keep half-hardy exotic lovelies going from year to year as long as you can keep them reasonably dry over winter: the long list includes fuchsias and geraniums, plus Mexican salvias, diascias and tender herbs like lemon verbena.

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