Gardening: Winter is the time to move plantsBy Linda Fort
January 18, 2013
Winter is the time for reassessing your garden and taking steps to rectify mistakes.
Deciduous shrubs or small trees you have put in the wrong place can be moved in the dormant season.
Evergreens are better left to spring when they are coming into growth.
If you want to move a shrub, dig it out with as large a root ball as possible, prepare a good planting hole in advance, support it with a stake and keep watering through any dry spells for at least a year.
The mistakes in my garden are mostly too big to move and can only be kept in check by judicious pruning or – in extremis – complete removal.
Another important job in winter is keep the birdfeeders clean and full.
After living in this house for almost 20 years, the garden has finally been discovered by squirrels which are wily and cunning creatures who can get into peanut bird feeders no matter how hard mere humans with highly evolved brains try to keep them out.
I spent five minutes with wire and misplaced optimism trying to devise a squirrel-proof lid on the feeder. It won’t work.
While doing that I spotted another little job that needed to be done which will make an enormous difference in a week or two.
I could see the flower buds beginning to form on a large patch of hellebores which provide me with weeks of fabulous flowers in late winter in a site which can be seen from the kitchen window.
However, next to them was a remaining stand of blackening Michaelmas daisies – glorious in September and October and hideous now.
Ten minutes labour removed the little eyesore and made way for the beautiful Helleborus orientalis in dusky pink, deep purple and greenish white which are to come.
But most of the time I spent in the garden on a freezing but fabulously sunny Sunday – the snow forecasts on the horizon – I took a good look round.
I noted the corners that needed some serious pruning in the next few weeks.
And spotted some violets beginning to flower in the borders.
I took a hard look at the garden table and decided that the only future it had was at the tip.
And finally I picked a bunch of winter flowers for the house – the most cheering winter activity you can do.