In this week's tips, we're looking at hedges, harvesting apples and caring for indoor plants. There are tips on planting and storing flowering bulbs and corms too.
It's a busy time of the year in the garden, but I hope that my weekly memory jogger helps you focus on what's important now.
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Time for a tidy up!
- Fast-growing hedges such as leylandii may need trimming again to make them look better throughout winter. Don’t leave this too late as it might result in brown patches. Give evergreen hedges and topiary a final trim.
Cutting a tall leylandii conifer hedge with a long arm hedge cutter
- This is the perfect time to plant a new hedge or to place an order for bare-root plants for planting in winter.
Planting a firethorn hedge
- Remove dead leaves from pond plants as they die back.
Bulbs, corms and perennials
- Pot up prepared Hyacinths to get them to flower for Christmas. Get them potted this month unless you are happy to have them in flower in January or later.
Hyacinths in bloom at Christmas
- Remember to use bulb fibre rather than potting compost if the pots you use have no drainage holes. Add some crushed barbecue charcoal to neutralise stagnant water. Make sure that the bulbs have plenty of roots and that you can feel the flower bud in the shoot protruding before you bring them into the warmth.
- Gladioli corms should be lifted, dried off and stored in a frost-free place. The small corms that form around the base are probably best discarded as they can take several years to reach flowering size. Hardy varieties can be left in the ground, but the majority will need lifting.
- Lift and dry off begonia corms. Let the tops die back naturally so that the energy goes back into the corm.
Tender plant care
- Cut back and pot up any tender perennials worth keeping in the greenhouse. Fibrous rooted begonias, Pelargonium, Fuchsia, Salvia and masses of other tender perennials can be saved if you have the space!
Pelargonium peltatum Tomcat
- Put house plants that like humid air -ferns, Bromeliad, insectivorous plants - on a saucer filled with damp pebbles. Begin misting over the leaves of your plants- especially when your central heating comes back on.
Bromeliad and Philodendron on rock in a rain forest in Brazil
Apples and pears
- Pick ripe apples and pears now. If they come off the tree without having to tug hard, then they are ready to harvest. If you cut one or two in half, look for brown pips - another sign they are ripe. Varieties harvested now tend not to store well and should be eaten or cooked straight away. Those ready for picking next month should store far better.
Ripe apple 'Discovery' ready to harvest