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Ruis

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WELL we are on the edge now of that time of year when the frosts are threatening and those tender plants need some protection for the next six months. You will know that plants are divided up into groups. Mainly fully-hardy, semi-hardy and tender. Those fully-hardy perennials can be left now and almost forgotten about until early Spring when you might want to mulch and feed, however those plants which need protection now need some tender loving care. Excuse the pun! A general rule of thumb, is that I like at least the first frost to hit those plants before I tuck them away in the greenhouse for winter, that stunts the growth and turns the remaining foliage a horrible slimy brown colour, a night of -10c or a little lower basically tells the plant to stop for the season and prepare itself for winter. Plants such as Daliahs, half hardy Fuchsias, Cannas, and the lovely agapanthus Africans all appreciate a bit of a chill before being moved into the greenhouse. However really tender plants such as one of my favourite, Geranium maderense, or Calla Lillie’s need to be taken undercover right now before any signs of frosty nights or even chilly Autumn evenings! If you are storing your tender plants in pots in the greenhouse, try not to put them away with the soil too saturated as this can lead to the roots becoming water logged and rot will set in, however remember to keep an eye that the pots don’t dry out too much throughout the winter especially if you heat your greenhouse. On mild days open the door to air things a little from time-to-time over the winter months. Also, if you haven’t done so already, it’s time to prune certain plants. Some pruning can be left until very early Spring, for the likes of Climbing Roses when the new wood is still soft, however for plants that flower reasonably early in the year such as Wisteria, these can be pruned in December or January. With Wisteria the harder you prune, the more likely you are to force flower heads. Wisteria is one of my favourite climbers and there is nothing better to welcome Spring into Summer than a well-kept tidy Wisteria showing itself off over a building or pergola and displaying its long most glorious flower heads off, which depending on variety, can fall up to 2ft long! There are two periods throughout the year when you should prune Wisteria. Around July (after flowering) and December/January (before the next show buds swell.) In the New Year cut back the shoots coming off the main framework to two or three buds to tidy it up before the growing season starts and ensure the flowers will not be obscured by leaves. 

WIStERIA Also this allows the plant to put all of its energy into producing 2 or 3 great flower heads per shoot rather than hundreds of small lifeless flowers. Don’t be afraid of being hard on a mature Wisteria, the harder you prune the greater display and larger more prevalent blooms you will get. the RCHS is coming towards the end of the year of talks now with just one speaker left in November... On November 18th at St. Lawrence Church Hall, Eastcote, we welcome Alan Husbands, a local Bee-Keeper. All are welcome. Entry is £4 for non-members and £3 for members. Please see our website for full details. www.ruisliphorticultural.org.uk

Finally it is great news for children as the RCHS is spreading out into schools. We have contacted local schools to find young ones who are interested in entering into our Spring Show next March with exhibits. We are glad to say that many schools have shown interest, so watch out for further news on this. Nationally over 19,000 Primary Schools have recently signed up to gardening, I feel a couple of generations have missed out, which may explain why there are not so many members of gardening clubs in their 20s to 40s. It is time for a change!

RCHS MAILBAG Q I’m looking for a plant that will keep foliage all year round with strong perfumed flowers in the Winter. Is there such a plant? Patricia, Ickenham. A Well the great news is yes! This is one of my favourite Winter flowing plants. It is called ‘Sarcococca confusea’ commonly known as Sweet Box or Christmas Box. It flowers around Christmas time with small white flowers that will literally flood the garden in a fantastic scent. You can cut it and use it to smell the house out too, it does fantastically as cut foliage. Afterwards the plant will cover in small black berries, the most wonderful hardy Evergreen perennial I can recommend. Q I have a Hydrangea in the garden that looks a mess, too big and overgrown. What can I do about it? Dean, Ruislip Manor A Pruning Hydrangeas does really depend on what variety you have, if you really feel you want to tidy it up, cut off the deadheads now, however try and wait until March/April next year and cut right down to about six inches from the ground leaving two fresh green shoots per stem once it has started moving after its winter rest. This may impact on flowers for one year however, it will give a new lease of life moving forward. Email your questions to rchstalks@gmail.com, we look forward to answering them. Look out next month for our seasonal article.

Warren

Ruislip Nov 14  

A5 Colour, glossy magazine delivered free to homes and businesses each month in the HA4 postcode area of Ruislip and Eastcote. Local inform...

Ruislip Nov 14  

A5 Colour, glossy magazine delivered free to homes and businesses each month in the HA4 postcode area of Ruislip and Eastcote. Local inform...