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Home and Gardens

Published on February 3rd, 2014 | by The Town Crier


Does your front garden cut the mustard?

There may not be much actively growing in the garden in February but now is the perfect time to take a long, hard look at your front garden and decide if it could do with some tweaking.

We all want to walk or drive home and be greeted by a garden that looks like it belongs, emphasises the best in the house and is beautiful in its own right.  Soil, sun and personal preference will all influence the final choice of plants but firstly you need to consider the three reasons why your front garden is different from round the back.

View: a back garden is most often viewed from the house towards the wider landscape.  A front garden is almost always viewed from the pavement towards the front door. The house becomes the backdrop to the entire garden and the garden should support the scale and style of the house.

Seasons: Large parts of the back garden can be at their best in summer and generally ‘put to bed’ for the winter.  The front garden operates all year round; you enter and leave in winter just as much as in summer so you need colour and fragrance all year round, not just evergreens!

Use: Unlike most back gardens we do not sit, play or grow food in the front garden and often the majority of space is given over to parking.  Try to avoid cars parked right up to the house and vary the surface, even if there is no room for grass.  If you are short of planting space choose a few big, bold plants to balance the hardness of drive and house.

Winter weather in the garden

Here are a few tips for caring for plants if February proves snowy again this year:

If trees and shrubs sit under a thick covering of snow that refreezes into ice, branches may snap under the weight.  Regularly shaking off loose snow is the answer (wear a hat!).

Conifer trees where the branches grow vertically are best protected before a snowy spell by tying the branches in, i.e. wrapping rope round the whole tree to prevent branches being bent down.

Alpines are very happy with the cold but they suffer if the base of the plant stays wet as well.  Either keep them in a cold but airy greenhouse or cover with a cloche to keep off rain and snow.

If the weather remains cold you can simply delay sowing early seeds for a couple of weeks until the temperature climbs.  Growth usually catches up later in the season.

With a little planning you too can have a great front garden.  So get ready to smile as you arrive home.

Alison Marsden lives in Southborough and provides advice to gardeners as well as teaching for Kent Adult Education Services.

There is no long term commitment – just all the advice you need an hour at a time.

Find out more at www.gardeningbydesign.co.uk or call 0780 304 5327


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