Opportunity knocks for a work-out

Matty Wilkinson, who won the President's Cup at Warkworth.
Matty Wilkinson, who won the President's Cup at Warkworth.
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Grass continues to grow and at this rate lawns will need mowing by mid-January, but that’s not been so unusual in recent winters.

The mixed ornamental borders still need attention too. There are spots of perennial weeds and groups of ornamental plants that are so territorial they are best treated as weeds. The decorative cuckoo pint (Arum italicum Marmoratum) is a typical example. The green and cream veined leaves of spring give way to white spathes, then orange-red berries, poisonous to humankind, but popular with birds.

There are fruit trees to prune in their dormancy, and now the leaves have fallen we have a much clearer view of the soft fruit bushes. If the centre of a gooseberry bush has become congested, remove some stems, along with weak growths. Then you can spur prune, reducing all laterals to within two buds of main stems.

The window of opportunity for introducing new plants, lifting, dividing and transplanting existing ones, remains open until the point of spring. What better way to work off the excesses of an indulgent Christmas?