Gardening: Expert advises on growing climbing plants
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With autumn on the way, it’s time for gardeners to start preparing their gardens for the cooler months ahead. While Britons may be spending less time in their gardens in the autumn months, gardeners can still make their gardens look lush and healthy. Morris Hankinson, managing director of Hopes Grove Nurseries has shared which plants gardeners can plant in autumn.
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The gardening expert said autumn is the “best time of year” to plant a plethora of hardy plants in gardens because it’s a “sweet spot” when the soil is still warm and there’s usually a good chance of rain.
The new roots of plants are likely to develop quickly so then can become well-established.
Morris added: “As the days get shorter many plants will start to ‘shut down’ for the winter meaning that instead of concentrating on their leaves (photosynthesising and growing new ones) they will re-focus on the root system.”
The gardening expert exclusively told Express.co.uk that now is a good time to rearrange the garden and move established trees and shrubs to a new place.
However, Morris said there is never a guarantee of success if they have been planted in the same spot for many years but the best odds of success are in autumn.
He explained: “Try to move them with the largest possible root ball of soil, soak them well both before and after you move them.
“Increase your chances of success with bigger and older shrubs by pruning to reduce the length and number of branches by 30-50 percent before you start, this will mean less water is lost by transpiration that must be replaced by the redeveloping root system.
“Plant potted hedges, trees, shrubs and conifers in September and October.
“Now is also the time to plant those spring bulbs for a great display next year!”
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These are the best things to plant in autumn:
Abelia Grandiflora Confetti hedging
A really useful and colourful dwarf variety of Abelia that looks great for many months of the year, confetti hedging has small grey-green leaves with a cream edging during the summer months.
As the weather gets colder, the creamy variegation turns to shades of pink, starting at the branch tips and gradually spreading over the whole plant.
During summer and autumn a succession of scented white tubular flowers appear, slightly tinged with pink.
These are very popular with bees and other pollinators and are produced over many months.
These are also known as “Snowy Mespilus” or the “Juneberry hedge”.
This hedging is a unique choice for hedging due to its characteristic autumn leaves and production of dreamlike snowy white flowers in spring.
Morris said this hedging is sure to add “aesthetic value to any garden space, the Amelanchier hedge is available in a variety of forms”.
Morris said: “Blackthorn or ‘prunus spinosa’ is a tough and floriferous native shrub often seen in mixed wild hedgerows, masses of the damson-like sloes appear in autumn.
“Blackthorn (prunus spinosa) is another variety of hedging plant which makes an excellent security hedge, due to its dense, prickly, bushy foliage.
“Commonly found in native hedgerows, blackthorn grows best in full sunlight, and is tolerant to most soils, including sand, chalk, clay and loam, making it a hardy and versatile choice for a number of different landscaping projects.”
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Potted apple trees
Planting an apple tree in the autumn means you’re guaranteed beautiful apple blossom in spring.
Apple trees are “easy to grow” in most soils that don’t become waterlogged.
Young trees will become well-established and develop more quickly if a small circle is put around the base – 50-100cm across – and kept clear of weeds.
Putting down mulch or bark chippings will help to deter weeds and maintain moisture.
Morris also recommended adding rootgrow when planting for faster root establishment.
Acer garden trees
Acers, also known as Japanese Maples, are beautiful and popular plants known for their delicate foliage which is available in a range of colours.
Most acers have the benefit of producing stunning autumnal colours adding to their appeal.
Acacia Baileyana Songlines garden trees
Morris said: “Acacia Baileyana Songlines garden trees are large, graceful evergreen shrubs or small trees growing to approximately six metres in height with a naturally rounded and spreading shape.
“With incredibly attractive fern-like, greyish purple leaves and axillary cones of delightfully fragrant, small, spherical yellow flowerheads that have a slightly fluffy appearance appearing in winter and spring, adding a wonderful splash of late and early season colour to your garden.
“Their new growth arrives in a beautiful almost purple colour, softening to silvery grey as it matures.”
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Candy Floss tree (cercidiphyllum japonicum)
This unusual tree exudes a sweet, burnt sugar smell from its attractively coloured autumn foliage – hence its name. The tree has heart-shaped leaves that turn many colours over the seasons.
Arbutus shrubs (strawberry tree)
Arbutus Unedo Compacta, better known as the Strawberry Tree, is named after the bright strawberry red fruits.
The fruits develop their colour from orange and yellow shades at first and are then coloured red by autumn at the same time as the next crop of attractive pink tinged white flowers appear.
Once established, the shrubs display colourful orange-brown bark and have glossy deep green evergreen foliage. These plants make excellent shrubs for borders and do well by the sea.
Morris said this deciduous shrub makes a “stunning addition” to any garden.
The shrub grows bronze-coloured new foliage in spring turning mid-green in summer. The shrub also produces small, pink flowers in summer.
This plant also produces masses of striking and perfectly-formed bead-like dark violet fruits in the autumn which are retained after the leaves have fallen.
This is one of the best autumn/winter interest shrubs. It’s great in small groups and the cut branches are perfect for flower arrangements.
Evergreens (including rootball hedging plants) should be planted in October and November.
Box Faulkner Hedging
Buxus microphylla ‘Faulkner’ or the Faulkner Box is a cousin of the Common Box, Buxus sempervirens.
At first glance the two plants look very similar but Buxus ‘Faulkner’ does have several distinguishing features.
The shiny leaves are more rounded than those of Common box and lighter in colour, an appealing emerald green quite like the colour of the equally beautiful Griselinia hedging plant.
Buxus ‘Faulkner’ is one of those evergreen hedging plants that manages to look immaculate all year with very little maintenance.
Euonymus Golden hedging
Euonymus Golden hedging makes for a small but pretty hedge that is dense and bushy.
The Euonymus Golden has green leaves with a golden edging to them, and when autumn arrives, a hint of red creeps upon them.
These make for a great low hedge, especially in a border or when used as ground cover.
This hedge loves full sunlight or partial shade and can grow in any well-drained soil. It is fast-growing and produces small green flowers in May and June.
Rootball hedging plants
Common Box hedging
Morris explained: “Common Box (Buxus sempervirens) is the most popular low hedging species for an evergreen hedge, its tiny leaves and versatile bushy habit make it the perfect subject for all manner of small hedges or edgings and the topiary possibilities with Common Box are limited only by the gardeners imagination.
“Despite being used almost exclusively for small hedges (under 100cm or so), Common box will grow steadily at 10-15cm per year into much larger hedges several metres high if you are patient.”
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