Gardening gifts ideal for a main Christmas present
This is the second in my series of the best gifts to buy for your gardening loved ones - This week, I focus on main presents, from Â£10 to Â£50.
Secret Garden Bird Feeders: Choose from a Spiral Finch feeder, Dual Seed feeder and Wall Hanging Bird table all £19.99, or an Acorn Feeder, £12.99, www.gardenhealth.com/products/peckishSophie Allport Green Fingers Gardening Mug: Fine bone china mug features Sophie’s illustrations of wellington boots, trowels, vegetables, watering cans and herbs. The standard size has a capacity of 275ml, large 425ml, £11 and £14, www.sophieallport.comGarden Seat and Bag: This foldable seat and the detachable bag is perfect if you don’t want to keep going back and forth for forgotten tools, £14.99, www.townandcountry.comKitchen Garden Canvas Gardening Bag: This small canvas gardening bag (large also available) offers perfect storage for your gardening bits and bobs, £15, www.tch.netSmall Grow Tunnel with Mesh: Ideal for a small garden, £20, from B&Q, www.diy.comMorris & Co Gardening Glove Kit: Golden Lily is a dense and intricate floral pattern with lily flowers and country blooms intertwined with briar leaves, £24.95, www.smartgiftsolutions.co.ukMini multi-change® Gift Set: Ideal for those with a small garden, as the heads are just the right size to get into small spaces. Complete with a trowel, small cultivator, small lawn rake, double hoe and interchangeable small handle, £24.99, www.wolfgartentools.co.ukGardening Gauntlets, Dachshund: Luxurious, lightweight gauntlets crafted in English linen and leather. Handmade in Great Britain, one size (ladies), £27.95, www.annabeljames.co.ukGarden wall clock and weather station: Featuring a floral and bird design with an integrated clock, thermometer for measuring Celsius and Fahrenheit and hygrometer to accurately measure humidity. Dimensions: L66 x W6 x H43.5cm, £29.99, www.thompson-morgan.comGarland Super 7 Propagator + 106 Pots: I’ve had one of these for years and can’t recommend it enough. Complete with seven mini propagating trays and vented lids plus 106 growing on pots, £36.99, www.suttons.co.ukEhlo Grow Table and lid XXL: Create your own edible or floral garden, even with limited space, using the Green Basics Grow Table XXL. The range uses recycled plastic. Size 76cm (30″) width, 36cm (14″) depth, 65cm (25½”) height and holds 56 litres of soil. The polypropylene lid stands 20cm (8″) high. £39.98, save 20%, www.dobies.co.ukConcentric Willow Obelisk: This twin pack of handcrafted willow obelisks can be used to grow edible or decorative climbing plants, £39.99, www.forestgarden.co.ukRustic Outdoor Garden Mirror with Four Planters: A wall-mounted mirror with opening doors and removable planters, three shutter-style windows and four bucket planters. Size 61cm x 11.5cm x 37cm, £47.95, www.MelodyMaison.co.ukAll-Weather Boots: Durable, water-resistant upper sole with waterproof lower, ankle support with Velcro straps, enhanced grip soles and Thinsulate super-soft lining. Sizes 4-11, £47.99, www.briers.co.ukGET IN TOUCH
l For more information, plus cook what you grow, recipes, environmental news and more, log on to the website at www.mandycanudigit.com – which is also now smartphone friendly. You can also follow Mandy on Twitter @MandyCanUDigIt or you can like me on my Facebook page at Mandycanudigit
JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND
Indoors, pot up Hippeastrum (Amaryllis) bulbs, and bring them back into active growth with regular watering and feeding.
Pack straw or bracken around deciduous plants to protect them from frost. A frame with clear polythene stretched over it can do a similar job without blocking light from evergreens, but don’t let the polythene touch the foliage.
Pruning and renovation of some deciduous trees, shrubs, and hedges, such as beech, can be carried out from now – you can see the framework more easily. Exceptions are tender plants, and also Prunus species (e.g. ornamental cherries, plums, and almonds), as these are vulnerable to silver leaf if pruned in the autumn or winter. Evergreens are best left until the spring.
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When pruning trees and shrubs, examine branches for signs of disease. Small cankers, dieback, and rotten, hollow stumps are best removed before they spread.
If it snows, brush it gently off the branches of conifers. Heavy snowfall can splay branches and spoil the shape of the tree.
Phytophthora root rots can cause dieback on mature trees and shrubs. Wet winter weather and poorly drained soils are likely to encourage this problem on susceptible woody plants. Look out for crown rot and brown rots (sclerotinia) on dormant perennials, especially if you are on a clay soil.
Watch out for downy mildew and black spot on winter pansies.
Reduce watering and feeding of houseplants as the days shorten.
Cacti and succulents need a period of dormancy over the winter: keep them barely moist, and do not feed. Start them back into growth next spring. Christmas cacti can be managed in the same way as other cacti, or in reverse, for flowering at Easter or Christmas.