Keep Your Garden Wildlife Happy With Rushfields

Keep Your Garden Wildlife Happy With Rushfields

It’s time to prune established fruit while bushes and trees are still dormant, so while you’re here, treat yourself to a shiny new pair of sharp secateurs and loppers to slice through branches with ease. It’s the perfect job for a crisp winter’s day!

Compost Offer

J Arthur Bowers Multi-Purpose compost 50 litres, 5 for £10, for a limited period.

Plant Of The Week: Snowdrops

The sight of brave little snowdrops pushing their way through the frostiest ground gives every gardener new hope. Once the first porcelain petals have opened you know winter aconites and crocuses aren’t far behind: before you know it every inch of soil is bursting with dainty colour and the gardening year has begun.

Give snowdrops dappled shade in soil enriched with compost or even better, leaf mould – autumn leaves rotted down for a year or two to mimic the woodland floor snowdrops love. Snowdrops make beautiful partners for winter shrubs like dogwoods and witch hazels, and other spring flowers including hellebores, winter-flowering aconites and Cyclamen coum.

Feed Wildlife

At this time of year it’s particularly important to cater for the wild creatures that share your garden with you year-round. Lots of birds are still active in winter and they’re a delight to watch as they make the most of the goodies you put out on your feeders. Here are a few of the most common – along with our recommendations for the best food to keep them happy and healthy till spring comes around again.

  • Bullfinches: Males are particularly handsome, with bright pink chest, black cap and big strong beak. Feed with: sunflower seeds
  • Greater spotted woodpecker: Always a special sight with its distinctive black, white and red colouring. Feed with: Suet blocks, peanuts
  • Goldfinch: Another beauty distinguished by the brilliant golden flashes on the wings and a crimson face. Feed with: nyger seed, sunflower seed
  • Blue tit: Everyone’s little blue-and- yellow favourite and a joy to watch hanging upside-down from feeders. Feed with: mealworms, suet blocks
  • Pied wagtail: Easy to recognise with its distinctive long, black and white tail bobbing up and down. Feed with: ground-up peanuts, suet (placed on the ground), finely-grated cheese.
  • Pop in and pick up all the feeds listed above, along with feeders, baths and bird tables, available in the garden centre right now.

Job Of The Week: Plant Bare-Root Fruit

Berry fruits from gooseberries to raspberries are available right now from the garden centre and offer great value for money. Plant as soon as you get them home: make a wide hole in well-prepared soil and plant at the same depth as it was in the nursery. Back-fill with soil mixed with a handful of slow-release fertiliser like bonemeal, and water, then mulch with well-rotted farmyard manure ready for vigorous spring growth.

Flowers:
  • Trim old leaves off hellebores to show off the flowers better
  • Winter prune wisteria back to two buds from the main framework
  • Deadhead winter bedding pansies to keep them flowering in mild spells
Fruit & veg:
  • Finish pruning grapevines while they are still dormant
  • Mulch strawberry plants before they start into growth
  • Start chitting new potatoes in eggboxes
Greenhouse:
  • Cut back overwintered fuchsias and start watering
  • Sow annual climbers like cup and saucer vine (Cobaea scandens)
  • Invest in a heated propagator ready for when sowing starts next month
Around the garden:
  • Cut hazel poles to make bean poles and other plant supports
  • Scrape off 5cm of compost from container-grown plants and add fresh
  • Clean and sharpen tools ready for the season

Rushfields Plant Centre

Address: Henfield Road, Poynings, West Sussex, BN45 7AY

Telephone: 01273 857445

Email: adrian@rushfields.com

Website: www.rushfields.com