What to do
Catch up with pruning, before new growth gets underway. Buddleia should have been tackled last month. If not, do it NOW by cutting all growths back to within a few inches of the old wood.
Bougainvillea growing in conservatories is also best pruned in February. Catch up by shortening all the main growths by a third and cutting back all the laterals close to the base. Cut out weak, straggly growths altogether.
If you want to grow eucalyptus as a bush rather than a tree, cut back all the growths to ground level now. This treatment means that the bush will only produce rounded juvenile foliage. Some gardeners prefer this to the long, adult leaves.
'Middlemist's Red' camelia, named after a Shepherd's Bush nursery-man who imported it from China more than 200 years ago, is the star of the Chiswick House Camellia Festival, celebrating not just these magnificent plants but the restored glasshouse too. The festival runs until 20 March and is open daily (10-3). Tickets £5, firstname.lastname@example.org.
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