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Gardening Matters Winter Sun

It was back in August this year when I was walking around Parc de La Tamarita, a beautiful green public space in Barcelona, when I stopped to rest from the heat and to look at a selection of ornately arranged planting beds. It occurred to me that although intensely beautiful, lush, calm and extremely relaxing, this garden had a distinct lack of something we try and cram our gardens full of back at home - flow- ers. In fact, in this garden there wasn’t a single one. It was a wonderful view that made me think to myself 'must a garden have flowers in order to be beautiful?'

I know the debate 'must a garden contain plants to be a garden' took place earlier this year at one of the annual gardening events, but why is it we feel it necessary to pander to the needs of such a fussy lot (the flowers I mean, not the gardeners). The dead heading, staking, pruning, feeding and general titivat- ing we have to do to keep our blooms in peak perfection is time consuming and expensive, but to some I know, a garden without flowers is like a bride and groom without a wedding cake.

At this time of year it can be tricky to find a garden with flowers, and as we progress into winter we will find the quest increasingly difficult, which is why we rely on evergreens and the skeletons of structural shrubs within our gardens to provide colour. Providing structure and form in key positions with ele- ments such as clipped spheres, hedges and

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cones can look wonderful, and for those to whom these plants are a little too contrived, struc- ture is provided by late flower- ing grasses such as Stipa gi- gantea and the wonderful up- right group of Miscanthus ... both of course look wonderful when in flower too!

Until next time, happy gardening.


Before the weather turns too cold remember to...

 Prune hybrid T Roses to about half their size. This will prevent wind-rock during the winter

 Now is the perfect time to plant Tulip bulbs, but protect them from squirrels

 Ensure leaves are cleared from ponds and lawns regularly

 Finish planting up pots and baskets with winter flowering bedding plants

 Don't forget to cover cabbages, broccoli and other brassicas with net if pigeons are a problem

 Insulate outdoor taps, or better still turn off their supply

 If you have fruit trees which are susceptible to winter moth, fix grease bands to the trunks

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