Gardening: Stars of winter

Many gardeners probably had a lovely show of container-grown flowers last year, but, then, come the colder months, they struggled to succeed with any colourful plants to take their place.

BARREL ROLE: Echinocactus grusonii can make a stunning house plant.

At the sharp end of the golden barrel

Some things are meant to be looked at, not touched. Parents tell that fact of life to their young children; puppies and kittens learn that fact of life when they receive a sharp pain in the nose from being too inquisitive.

SUMMER LOVING: The marguerite daisy flowers prolifically in a sunny, sheltered site.

A winter holiday

Some people find it ever so simple to grow argyranthemums. Even in cold spells they are fortunate to have a sheltered spot outdoors where the marguerite daisy can pass the winter without damage.

DAWN BREAKS: Viburnum x bodnantense Dawn is a star worth cultivating.

The Dawn star that brightens up dark months

Plants are going to sleep; most have had a busy year and need a winter of rest and recuperation. They’ve earned it.

SLEEPING GIANT: Florists cyclamen (Cyclamen persicum) may not be the biggest of plants but it is one of the most striking for growing in a bedroom.

Sleeping beauties

Do people grow plants in bedrooms? They certainly have them in lounges and dining rooms, in halls and bathrooms; in fact, just about anywhere they can. But bedrooms seem to be a bit of a no-go area.

ON GUARD: Newly-planted trees may need protecting from pests like rabbits or deer.

Gardedning: Navigating roots

Time flies, and with it comes an annual dilemma for many gardeners thinking of planting a tree or shrub – whether to get the job done or wait until spring.

Royal Horticultural Society announces new flower show at Chatsworth

Royal Horticultural Society announces new flower show at Chatsworth

The Royal Horticultural Society will focus on climate change in a feature garden at its newest show at Chatsworth.

WINTER WONDER: Snowdrops are blooming beautifully right now.

Get ready to drop in on first signs of spring

A mild winter can play havoc with a gardener’s plans – particularly those opening their plot to the paying public.

FEELING BLUE: The cheeky blue tit is under pressure.

Watch the birdie

A lot of people are going to be doing a lot of bird-watching this weekend as part of the RSPB’s annual Big Garden Birdwatch. The aim of the event is to help form a complete picture of the fortunes of garden birds. Last year, the top three to be spotted were the house sparrow, blue tit and starling.

BLOOMING MARVELLOUS: Many roses can produce flowers even in the middle of winter.

Treat roses with care to ensure more blooms

Give them the opportunity and the right care, and many roses will continue to produce flowers throughout the winter.

BERRY BONUS: Cornus mas follows flowers with fruit.

C mas appeal

Another day, another dogwood – and although Cornus mas (the Cornelian cherry) may not be considered the most attractive of trees, it makes a statement in winter.

WINTER WONDER: Senecio is proving to be more than just a star of summer.

Gardening: The tough get going

Senecio is a plant that people normally associate with summer, but the one pictured here was blooming last week – admittedly in a sheltered spot – 600ft up in the Pennines.

WEIGHT WATCHING: Clear vulnerable tree branches of accumulations of snow.

Keep fit in the garden and save on gym fees

All those wasted pounds, all those soon-to-be-dashed resolutions... we’re well into January and a lot of people are joining a gym and trying to exercise.

PARADISE FOUND: Astunning bloom of Strelitzia reginae.

Bird on the wing

These days, anyone flying back from a week or more in Madeira or the Canaries could be forgiven for thinking that many of their fellow travellers are keen botanists.

One of the allotment holders working on the Low Moor allotments holders  in York.

YP Comment: Giving power to the people

YOU don’t have to look far to find community spirit in action. All over the country bands of dedicated volunteers act as the glue that binds their communities together.

HARD CORE: Agave Americana can be surprisingly tough when the temperature tumbles.

American dream

Certain plants are associated with certain places – who would dream of trying to grow a tender, tropical succulent, outdoors, in a garden on the North Yorkshire Moors?

COLOUR COORDINATED: Crotons come in a multitude of contrasting hues.

Adventures in space come in many shades

Space, as Captain James T Kirk used to say in Star Trek, was the final frontier. Homeowners tend to think smaller.

EASY GOING: Kerria japonica will grow in just about any soil and any situation.

Stay mellow for yellow

Sometimes, the seasons don’t matter. A problem is a problem whatever the time of year, and gardeners are among the worst when it comes to dwelling on things that are far removed from the bitter months of winter.

IN FINE SHAPE: The Umbrella Tree, at Levens Hall, Cumbria

Favourites with their roots in our broad acres

The oak tree has long been a favourite with the English. So much so that when the Woodland Trust first began its search for Britain’s favourite tree, Quercus took the majority of places in the top 10 back in 2014. But last year, while oaks weren’t forgotten, a couple of Yorkshire trees were nominated.

MIDGET GEM: The lowly snowdrop is a big favourite.

Braving the winter

Anyone would think that the snowdrop was embarrassed about its appearance; its blooms hide their faces from the sky and, instead, look to the soil.

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