Cheshire Independent Issue 144

FEBRUARY / MARCH 2020 18 Follow us on Facebook: Cheshire Independent Independent GARDENING CREATING a secret oasis of calm in your garden that provides a bit of privacy and a peaceful place to sit and relax or catch up with friends and family doesn’t have to be com- plicated or costly. By taking some simple garden planning ideas and adapting them to your own outside living space you can achieve your perfect hide- away without resorting to plant- ing a huge conifer hedge. If your existing fencing is unsightly give it a makeover by painting it or covering it in climbing plants. Climbers will add softness and greenery to a fence, encourage wildlife and provide fragrance. And, if you choose wisely, they can also be evergreen that gives a bit of structure to the garden in winter. Jasmine is a classic scented climber, whilst some- thing like Clematis armandii is semi-evergreen. Acovered seating area not only adds a bit of height, it allows you to have a secluded hideaway in which to enjoy your garden well into the late summer evenings. A corner of the garden can be a good place to build a structure with a solid roof – or an open roof decked in climbers. Clematis montana will cover a pergola in LILY bulbs can be planted in pots for flowers this summer. After growing on indoors or in a cool greenhouse, they can be moved onto the patio when in flower, so that you can enjoy the blooms. Dahlia tubers stored over winter (or bought this year) can be started into growth. Place them in a light, warmplace to sprout before planting. They will need additional misting with a spray-bottle of water, to stop them dry- ing out. Bulbs coming up in the rock gar- den or in containers may benefit from overhead protection from the rain and snow. A sheet of glass or Perspex placed on piles of bricks will do the job. Hardy annuals can be sownin pots or modules to provide colour. Summer-flow- ering Dutch iris bulbs can be forced and used as cut flowers. Place gladiolicorms in seed trays or boxes and place in a light, warm spot around 10ºC (50ºF) to encourage them to sprout before planting. This will ensure an earlier display. Sweet peas can be sown under cloches, in a cold frame, or in a cool room in the house. Any sweet peas that were sown earlier in the autumn can now be potted. Root cuttings can be taken of Papaver (perennial poppies), Verbascum (mullein), Acanthus (bear’s britches) and Phlox. Check on tender plants overwintering outdoors to ensure protective coverings are still in place. Sowing and planting this month Create your secret garden By Sara Milne no time, or for repeat-flowering go for scented roses. Evergreen screening is very effective at blocking out unsightly views whilst at the same time pro- viding a sense of seclusion. For the smaller gardens have a row of single trees or trained trees, whose branches become dense over time such as the evergreen Magnolia grandiflora orAcer pla- tanoides for training. Alternatively you could plant hedging that provides shelter and acts as a sound barrier. Try a living wall with dif- ferent species of herbaceous plants, including edibles, grown in pockets and fixed to a wall (great for adding interest to plain brickwork). An arbour makes a delightful seating space and can be erected against a fence or the side of a house or be freestanding. Smoth- ered in jasmine, wisteria, roses or evergreen climbers, it’s not only lovely to look at but a natural sanctuary and with the addition of a bench or garden seating can be a go-to place for unwinding at the end of the day. As dreams of sitting in a sunny spot in the garden get closer to becoming a reality as the days get longer, there are still things that need doing in the garden. As the RHS says, this month there are signs of the approaching spring, with bulbs appearing and wild- life waking up as light levels and temperatures increase. Outdoors, as the garden comes to life again, it’s time to prune shrubs and climbers, such as Wis- teriaas well as evergreen hedges. RHSTOP 10 JOBS THISMONTH • Prepare vegetable seed beds and sow vegetables under cover • Chit potato tubers • Protect blossom on apricots and peaches • Net fruit and vegetables to keep the birds off • Prune winter flowering shrubs that have finished • Divide bulbs such as snowdrops • PruneWisteria • Prune hardy evergreen hedges • Prune conservatory climbers • Cut back deciduous grasses and remove dead grass from evergreen grasses Prepare your carpet of green TURF can be laid this month, provided the soil is not too wet or frosty. Work from planks, to avoid compacting the soil. Do not walk on the newly laid turf andleaveundisturbedforseveralweeks to allownewroots to establish. If the weather is warm, you may need to start mow. Set the cutting height at its maximum, and only mow when the grass is dry. Re-cut lawn edges to crisp up the appearance of the garden and save work later in the season. Prepare seed beds for new lawns to be seeded later in the spring, but onlyattempt this if the ground is not too wet. Keep brushing away worm casts, as they can be trou- blesomeat this timeof year. Continue to look out formoles. Their activity increases in February, as this is the mating and nest (fortress) building season. Remove the largest hillsandre-firmthegroundbeforeover- seedingwithgrass seed in spring. Fusarium patch, or snow mould, and algaemay continue tobe a problem. C RISTINI C ARPET C ENTRE Modern Artifical Grass to be used all over the home… both inside and out! 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