Storm Doris has passed over at this stage leaving a lot of damage in its wake. So how can stormy weather affect your garden and what precautions can we take to protect it?Paraic HorkanSomething simple to start with is removing Ivy from any trees in exposed areas. It acts like a kind of parachute that grabs the wind and causes a lot more stress on the tree in windy conditions. If you know that bad weather is coming, you can secure your trees with tree ties or stakes. After some very bad weather where a large amount of rainwater has been deposited, Paraic recommends that you stay out of the garden altogether for a day or two. When it clears up, check your trees and plants. Prune back any broken branches and tidy up any debris. Paraic says to remember that trees and plants will repair themselves naturally so do not stress too much!
Pruning back your shrubs around now will encourage new and healthy growth. Paraic says that they should be cut back to within 4-6 inches of soil level, probably farther than you thought. Pruning back encourages new growth, removes older wood and it clears and pests and any diseases that may be present. Thinner Stems need too be trimmed back farther while thicker stems can be left longer.
Now is a great time to plant some summer colour. Rose bushes planted in February will provide beautiful colours from June to December. Paraic advises applying a rose feed now, and then once a month from now on. Applying a rose treatment now will help to keep away any pests and keep away any diseases that may threaten them. The Mum in a Million variety is a beautifully scented, perfect for a mother’s day gift this year.
Sweetpeas are another wonderful colourful addition to your garden this summer. To prepare them for planting outside in March, start by growing them indoors. Simply place some seeds in a pot and completely cover them in compost. After adding some water, put them in a sealed bag and after 2 weeks or so they will germinate. They can be then transferred into a larger pot to prepare them for planting outdoors in March. Sweetpeas are climbing plants so they will require a frame to support them as they grow. They will reach up to five or six feet in height with an abundance of colour depending on your choice of seed.
As well as the above mentioned plants, there is a selection of summer bulbs that can be planted now that will enhance your garden from June onward. Dahlias are a summer blooming flower that add fantastic colour. They are large flowers and they will flower from June all the way through to October. As well as the Sweetpeas, it is important to grow them inside a polytunnel or greenhouse for a few weeks before planting outside in early May as they do not respond well to cold or wet weather. Flowers such as Gladioli are a lot hardier so you can plant the bulbs straight outdoors.
Plant of the month
Paraics plant of the month for February is the lovely Camellia. They are early flowering plants that will flower all the way up to May or June. This year due to the unusually warm weather these plant have been flowering since January. The great thing about the Camellia plant is that it does not flower all at once. It will continue flowering over the course of several months, adding colour and character to your garden.