Life

Plant of the week: Viburnum

Viburnum plant for winter colour

THESE colourful, scented shrubs are invaluable over the winter and in spring, providing backdrops for other plants when they are in flower and seasonal interest of their own at other times. For large borders, V. x bodnantense 'Charles Lamont' is a must-have, its delicate pink flowers emitting a delicious scent from early winter to mid-spring. This upright shrub is ideally planted next to a sheltered path or entrance and is a valuable source of nectar for pollinating insects. Other good varieties include V. davidii, which bears white spring flowers followed by metallic-looking, turquoise blue fruits on orange-red stalks. It's evergreen, so at other times its veined dark green leaves are a great foil for other plants. Other types are semi-evergreen, such as V. 'Eskimo' which produces pom-pom clusters of pink-flushed buds opening to snow-white flowers in spring. They're easy to grow in well-cultivated soil and do best in full sun although they will tolerate some shade.

WHAT TO DO THIS WEEK

:: Order new dahlia plants and tubers for delivery next year

:: Complete all picking of apples and pears

:: Finish planting winter containers as soon as possible to give plants a chance to get established

:: If you're emptying old compost out of pots and into the garden, check for vine weevil before you do so and if you see any, dispose of the old compost elsewhere

:: Take hardwood cuttings from hardy climbers such as jasmine and honeysuckle

:: Pick young spinach leaves, putting cloches over the plants during the winter for extra protection

:: Plant Japanese onion sets if not yet done

:: Net winter brassicas if you have a problem with pigeons or rabbits

:: Cut and store Dutch white cabbages, which aren't hardy

:: Remove your pond pump, clean, dry and grease it before storing

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