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Weekend work: Time to tend to Christmas roses


What to do

The Christmas rose (Helleborus niger) is not tender, but the white flowers are easily spoiled by heavy rain splashing mud on to the petals. Either cut the flowers and bring them inside or cover the whole plant with a cloche.

Continue to prune bush and standard roses. Standards should not be pruned too severely, or else the bush will produce over-vigorous shoots which will spoil the shape of the head. Remove dead or diseased wood first, then cut back the growth made this season as much as is necessary to maintain a well-balanced head. Make the cut next to an outward or upward facing bud so that new growth will start off in the right direction.

What to buy

Bettys exists in my mind only as a place – a Harrogate tea shop. But they’ve branched out from pikelets and scones into beautiful chocolate fir cones. A bag of five milk chocolate cones costs £7.50. Cones with caramel centres come in either milk or white chocolate (£2.20 each). For more details call 0845 600 1919 or go to bettys.co.uk