Gardening: The best of the garden and what to do this week
PUBLISHED: 14:57 17 February 2015 | UPDATED: 14:57 17 February 2015
Thujas, the useful evergreen conifers are conical in shape, with flat, scaly foliage and decorative cones. You can buy a dwarf variety for the rockery or a larger type to use as a specimen tree in the border or lawn.
In fact thujas are invaluable for structure and colour and most of them are aromatic. If you want a tall specimen look out for T. occidentalis (White Cedar) ‘Holmstrup’, while dwarves worth looking out for including T orientalis ‘Aurea Nana’, which has golden yellow leaves, and ‘Hetz Midget’, a dark green globe reaching only 23cm in 10 years. Thujas like moist but not waterlogged, well-drained, fertile soil in sun or light shade.
Kitchen garden: Sowing greenhouse peppers
This month is a good time to sow peppers in a heated propagator or on a windowsill indoors at a temperature of 21-27C (70-80F), to give them a head start for summer.
When large enough to handle, the seedlings can be pricked out and potted on to individual small pots to grow at 16-19C (60-65F). Harden them off carefully as peppers are extremely frost sensitive.
They can be planted in an unheated greenhouse from late May to early June, or outside, preferably in a sheltered spot, in mid-June.
Water them in well after planting and then sparingly until they are starting to flower. Support them with canes and apply a liquid tomato feed once a week once the first flowers open.
What to do in the garden this week
:: Sow under glass quick-growing perennials to flower this year
:: Begin to feed plants in established borders using a controlled-release slow-acting fertiliser, taking care not to get the liquid on to new foliage
:: Spray nectarine and peach trees to prevent or eradicate peach leaf curl disease
:: Cut back hedges before birds start to nest in them
:: Prune large-flowering clematis (group 3) including C. viticella and hybrids such as C. ‘Jackmannii’, taking stems back down to 25-45cm (10-18in) above ground level
:: Check if rain-sheltered trees, shrubs and climbers in containers are dry and, if so, water containers from time to time
:: Check seedlings growing indoors have plenty of natural light so they don’t become leggy
:: Cut back deciduous buddleias, lavatera, hary fuchsias and ceanothus, which produce their best show of flowers on wood made from spring onwards
:: If it’s not too wet or frosty, brush over lawn surface that has become covered in worm casts, using a besom or brush
:: Scoop out leaves, twigs and other debris from guttering on conservatories, greenhouses and garages