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Looking after your garden in winter

PUBLISHED: 10:55 13 December 2016

Holly, Ilex Aquifolium

Holly, Ilex Aquifolium

Archant

With Christmas preparations dominating this month, it can be easy to overlook the space outside, but there's still plenty to do in your garden

Christmas gift, potted heather, ivy, conifer, primulaChristmas gift, potted heather, ivy, conifer, primula

Plant of the month

Holly, Ilex aquifolium

- Evergreen shrub that can be grown as a specimen tree, clipped bush, hedge or topiary

- Dozens of varieties, not all are spiny, some are variegated

Winner of Amateur Garden of the Year 2016, Thatched Cottage, Hever, owned by Wendy and Ivor MacklinWinner of Amateur Garden of the Year 2016, Thatched Cottage, Hever, owned by Wendy and Ivor Macklin

- Berries are usually red, but can also be orange and gold

Growing notes

- Hardy

- Full sun to shade

- Well-drained, light soil

- Female plants will only berry if a male is nearby

- Plant late winter or early spring

- Cuttings in late summer or autumn

Garden of the Year Awards 2017

Kent Life’s eighth Garden of the Year Awards will launch in our March 2017 edition, so do use the extended Christmas break to consider entering next year. We will be running three categories – Amateur Garden of the Year, Primary School Garden of the Year and Community Garden of the Year (including allotments) – so why not put your own garden forward and spread the word among your friends and neighbours?

Check out our website for inspiration from this year’s winners: www.kentgardenawards.co.uk.

Jobs to be done

- Bring in any pots that are not frost resistant, clean and store in your shed or garage

- Clean tools, sharpen blades. Check if fences need repairing or treating with preservative

- Prune and renovate deciduous shrubs, trees and hedges now as the bare branches make it easier to see the resulting shape. This includes elderberries, beech, hazel, dogwoods and willows. Use any coloured stems for Christmas decorations

- Plan some changes for an ecological garden. Add some water butts to catch winter rain. Read up on some easy-care plant choices suitable for your climatic conditions and soil to add next year

- Plant up some winter pots with flowers such as heather, colourful foliage or vibrant berries to place by the door to welcome visitors. They would also make lovely Christmas gifts. Use colourful containers or add festive ribbons for a decorative touch.

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