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Garden details

Posted:13 March 2010

In winter and early spring whilst you’re holding your breath waiting for some signs of new growth, it is all to easy to get impatient and despair.

Yet we love this time of year the garden is laid bare, and the skeletal structure of trees, shrubs and plant supports take on a beauty of their own – occasionally dusted with frost or dripping with rain.  Instead of bemoaning the late start, look closely and review how your garden looks now.  Even take a few photos as a reminder – does it need more evergreen shrubs to give winter structure, some Cornus sanguinea or Salix for bright winter stems, should you have left the tall grasses standing, not just for the insects and birds, but also for height and drama?

Good structural plants include clipped box (Buxus sempervirens) used for low hedging, clipped cones or spheres.  Also Sedum, Euphorbias, Phormium and Fatsia Japonica.  The white bark of Betula Utilis var. Jacquemontii (Himalayan birch) looks spectacular, great for uplighting in winter.

Look too at the small details that give your garden its early season personality.  Maybe bird-feeders made by local artisans, pieces of carved stone lined up against a wall, or mosaic paving stones giving a flash of colour?  At The Garden House we cut bright red Cornus branches and use them to edge the vegetable garden, and small pots of bulbs are lined up on little tables.

Take this opportunity to tidy up scrappy fences, fix trellises that have suffered the previous season, oil or stain outdoor furniture or sheds.

Now is the time to think about creating some dynamic new plant supports, using hazel, birch or willow it’s easier to get them into place now well before a burst of growth makes it hard to get onto the borders.  Join our Creative Plant Staking workshop on Friday 16 April check this website’s Diary for details.

All too soon this elegant buff-coloured bareness will be overtaken by lush green growth – so enjoy it while you can!

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