Anna Pavord: There is still pruning to be done
Saturday 15 November 2008
What to do
If you have just planted a young fruiting cherry, you should shorten the leading branches by half and continue to do this for the next four years. As the trees mature, you have to leave them pretty much to their own devices, taking out only wood that has died or whole branches that are crossing.
Elders grown for their decorative foliage also need regular pruning. If you cut all the stems to ground level, you get the best leaves, but sacrifice the flowers. Cut a third of the stems down to the ground each year instead. That way you can have both.
The snowberry, Symphoricarpos albus, gets overgrown and overtwigged as it ages. Thin it out cutting the twigs down at ground level.
Lilac does not get so congested, but also benefits from regular thinning out of growths. Take out any weak or crossing branches. If you want to rejuvenate an old, overgrown bush, cut the whole thing down to within two feet of the ground. You will not have any flowers for the next couple of years, but the gain is worth the sacrifice.
Continue to plant tulips. They are excellent in tubs and windowboxes, especially the shorter varieties and those with decoratively striped leaves such as the Greigii and Kaufmanniana types. 'Daylight' is brilliant red with a yellow striped base and only 15cm high. 'The First' flowers in March with white blooms tinted on the backs of the petals with deep pink. Miniature tulips, species such as T. tarda or T. whittallii are also charming in troughs and rockeries.
Continue to plant hyacinths in bowls to flower in January and February. Leave dahlias and begonias in the ground as long as possible before lifting. The tubers do most of their growing in the short days of autumn. Lift them only when the foliage has been blackened by frost.
What to buy
The urban ecologist Dusty Gedge has put his considerable expertise in installing green roofs into a practical guide for beginners. For £11.65 you can download it from grassroofcompany.co.uk or livingroofs.org. If you prefer your information on the page, get hold of Planting Green Roofs and Living Walls by Nigel Dunnett and Noel Kingsbury (Timber Press £25).
Life & Style blogs
Britain to take more refugees as Cameron bows to pressure after more than 250,000 back our campaign
Senior British politicians tell David Cameron: When dead children are being washed up on beaches – it's time to act
Jeremy Corbyn calls Osama bin Laden's killing a 'tragedy' - but was it taken out of context?
If these extraordinarily powerful images of a dead Syrian child washed up on a beach don't change Europe's attitude to refugees, what will?
Make your voice heard: Sign The Independent's petition to welcome refugees
If you're not already angry about the refugee crisis, here's a history lesson to remind you why you really should be
- 1 What marriage would look like if we actually followed the Bible
- 3 'Heartbreaking' Syria orphan photo wasn't taken in Syria and not of orphan
- 5 Orthorexia nervosa: How becoming obsessed with healthy eating can lead to malnutrition
£37040 - £43600 per annum: Recruitment Genius: The UK's export credit agency a...
£25000 - £27500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This company provides a compreh...
£16800 - £19500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Would you like to join an organ...
£25000 - £28000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: In the last five years this com...