Weekend work: Time to prune elders
WHAT TO DO
Elders grown for their decorative foliage 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 out some of the most densely twiggy stems, cutting them down at ground level.
Lilac also benefits from regular thinning. Take out any weak or crossing branches. If you want to rejuvenate an old, overgrown bush, cut the whole thing down to within 60cm/24in of the ground. You won't have any flowers for the next couple of years, but the gain is worth the sacrifice.
Continue to plant hyacinths in bowls to flower in January and February.
WHAT TO BUY
Miniature tulips, give a fantastic show in bowls and pots outside. Cover the pots with fine mesh wire to protect the bulbs from rodents. Crimson-pink 'Little Beauty', and copper-orange 'Little Princess' are both 12cm/5in tall, and cost £3 for 10, £7 for 25 from Avon Bulbs: 01460 242 177, avonbulbs.co.uk
Life & Style blogs
Durham Free School: 'Creationism taught at' free school facing closure
Nearly 100,000 of Britain's poorest children go hungry after parents' benefits are cut
Ukip would cut billions from Scottish budget to fund English tax cuts
End of the licence fee: BBC to back radical overhaul of how it is funded
Ukraine crisis: Top Chinese diplomat backs Putin and says West should 'abandon zero-sum mentality'
Boris Nemtsov shot dead: Outspoken Putin critic who had expressed fears for his life is killed near the Kremlin
- 1 Drugs Live cannabis trial: Hash is less harmful than any other drug, expert claims
- 2 What happens to your body when you give up sugar?
- 3 Turkish Airlines flight TK 726 crash-lands on Nepal runway in dense fog
- 4 Have sex with your iPad thanks to the new sex toy no-one asked for
- 5 The 'sex selfie stick' lets you FaceTime the inside of a vagina
£16000 - £18500 per annum: Recruitment Genius: Are you a customer focused, pro...
£27000 - £33000 per annum + Excellent benefits: Ashdown Group: Front-End Devel...
£15000 - £19000 per annum: Recruitment Genius: This Waterlooville based softwa...
Negotiable: Ashdown Group: Developer (C#, VB & ASP.Net, SQL Server, TSQL) - Pe...