News - Page 3

Leaves: the final bounty of the gardening year

The falling autumn leaves bring the final bounty of the gardening year: the raw materials for lovely, crumbly leafmould, one of the gardener’s best-kept secrets.

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Plant of the Week: Tulip

Choose tulips to flower at different times to extend the season and you can enjoy them from early April to late May.

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Dwarf winter-flowering irises

Dwarf winter-flowering irises are among the very first spring bulbs to appear and are particularly good for pots.

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Install an insect hotel

Install an insect hotel in your garden to provide a sheltered spot for wildlife to take cover for the cold winter months.

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Plant of the Week: Laurel

The evergreen workhorses of the garden, laurels have an unglamorous image.

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Lift dahlia tubers

Dahlias cannot tolerate prolonged low temperatures or – worse – soggy, cold soil, so they need to spend winter somewhere dry and frost-free. However don’t be too quick to take them out of the ground, as they continue to flower for as long as temperatures stay above freezing. Wait until the foliage and stems have been blackened by frost and you know they have finished for the year.

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Slugs and Snails

Most of the commonly-used home remedies against slug and snail attacks don’t work, according to recent research by the Royal Horticultural Society.

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Helping earthworms

The Wildlife Trusts want your help in a survey to find out how gardeners are helping earthworms – and there’s a beehive compost bin up for grabs if you take part!

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Plant of the Week: Leucothoe

This lovely but little-known autumn foliage plant deserves a place in every garden for its sheer brilliance of colour through the coldest months of the year.

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Finding Miss Harrison

The search for ‘Miss Harrison’ began after a researcher at the RHS’s Lindley Library discovered an old document which had lain forgotten in a box in the Society’s archives since 1898. It concerned a determined and pioneering female gardener, Miss Harrison, who had taken that year’s annual exam set by the RHS and not only passed, but achieved the top marks in the country. Normally, this would have secured her a scholarship, £5000 and the chance to study at the Society’s flagship garden in Chiswick.

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