The weather has started to turn a good deal colder at night now, so I hope you have taken steps to protect your tender plants. My greenhouse has been full now for several weeks already and left with the door open during the day, but now, with night time temperatures dipping well into single figures, the heater has been kicking in to keep it at around 8C. It is always advisable to leave the door open on warmer days to allow air circulation.

If you have left any frost tender plants in the ground, it’s wise to spread a thick mulch around the base to protect the crown from frost. That way, even if the top growth is killed off, the roots have a better chance of survival and may re-sprout fresh growth.

If you have alpines or sempervivum clumps, try to ensure that they are not getting swamped by a topping of soggy leaves from trees above. Remove them before they smother the crowns of these delicate plants and cause them to rot.

If you have not got around to planting your tulip bulbs, it’s not too late.

Don’t be afraid to cram more in the pot than the packet advises. You want a full display, there’s nothing worse than a few sparse stems.

Just make sure the bulbs are not touching, leaving a centimetre or two between them. Tulips don’t like to sit around in soggy soil, so do make sure there is good drainage at the bottom of the pot.

My holly bushes have quite a few bright red berries. Many frustrated holly owners often wonder why their bushes lack berries. While a holly bush’s glossy green leaves are beautiful, the bright red berries add an extra boost to their beauty, especially at Christmas.

Not all produce berries, as they need both male and female plants in order to produce seeds. Only female bushes will have the red berries. This means that if some of your holly bushes do not have berries, they may be male and simply cannot produce berries.

Equally, if no male holly bushes nearby, the female holly bushes will not produce berries either. There are also a few rare varieties of holly that do not have berries on either the male or female shrubs. Make sure that you check when buying to make sure that the variety you have selected one that makes berries.

To be honest, when I first purchased my shrubs back in 2004, when I created the garden, I was unaware of this, so I must have just got lucky picking a mix of male and female.

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