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The Pitlochry Garden January Some people think that January is the coldest, longest, most boring month of the year. The same people generally don’t think much of February either. But I’d like to try to put a little shine on January if I can. Winter defines the climate in the cool temperate latitudes. The mainly deciduous forest, stretching around the globe at the mid-latitudes in both hemispheres, is one of the richest, most fertile habitats on the planet. In winter decayed vegetation breaks down to feed the soil, creating rich ground. There are about 150 to 200 growing days and enough rain to grow crops intensively. When spring comes, plants receive cues to come into growth and the food they produce supports us all.

contrast with the bare branches of deciduous trees and shrubs, especially if it snows. You can still work when the weather permits. Carry out late winter pruning of apples and pears by reducing the past year’s growth to about 4 or 5 buds, removing any dead or damaged wood and branches which either cross or crowd the middle of the tree. Make clean cuts just above a bud or back to a main stem. You can also do some restorative pruning of established deciduous shrubs, removing one-third of the thickest growth to the base. If you do this every winter for about three or four years you will have an entirely new shrub with healthy vigorous wood.

Remember to knock heavy snow off conifers with the back of the broom and avoid getting salt from Nothing would be the same without winter: it’s the paths onto the grass or other plants. cold that encourages flower buds and germination. If you’re feeling restless you can always turn over Without it, food production is reduced or irregular the compost heap, incorporating some brown in both quantity and quality. This particularly material like newspaper or egg cartons. If you affects nuts and fruit like apples, cherries, keep it well made up during the winter it will heat strawberries and pears, and cereals like wheat. quicker in the spring. There is already evidence that winter chill has declined in Britain and that this has affected our output of certain crops. Maybe this has affected your fruit trees; lack of winter chill is one cause of irregular or poor fruiting. The garden is often put to bed in late November and disregarded until March but there is pleasure to be had from good structure and plenty of evergreen plants and shrubs. Well-clipped evergreen shrubs and hedges make a good 16 Pitlochry Life

Whether the winter is Narnia or nuisance, remember we are lucky to have it. By the end of January, the sun will be stronger and the days will be longer. The bulbs are growing and the buds are fattening on the trees; remember “If winter comes, can spring be far behind?” Sheila Drummond Portland Garden Design 07905 397185 drummond.sheila@gmail.com

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Pitlochry Life January 2019  

Our FREE monthly community magazine, with up to 10,000 copies delivered to homes and businesses across Highland Perthshire. We have ALL the...

Pitlochry Life January 2019  

Our FREE monthly community magazine, with up to 10,000 copies delivered to homes and businesses across Highland Perthshire. We have ALL the...

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