GARDENING: Jobs for the weekend, January 16, 2014

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•DOUSE fruit trees with winter wash – available from garden centres – which will kill insect eggs.

•Mulch borders with leaf mould, compost, well-rotted manure, or even old gro-bags, at least two inches thick.

•Plant lily bulbs in pots.

•Cut off old leaves of hellebores that produce flowers from ground level so you can see the flowers. Watch out for hellebore leaf spot.

•Start cutting back grasses that have been left for winter structure – the winds will have battered them by now.

•During dry, mild spells, you can still lift and divide herbaceous perennials.

•Inspect stored tubers of dahlias and cannas. Too damp and they will rot, too dry and they will die.

•Some pots outside under the eaves or balconies may need watering. Keep them moist (not too wet), and don’t let them dry out.

•Plant bareroot deciduous hedging, trees and roses, staking before planting, so you don’t damage the rootball. Move deciduous trees and shrubs if they’re not too big, if the ground is not frozen or waterlogged.

•Indoor forced bulbs for Christmas displays, which have finished flowering, can be left outside in a sheltered spot, to die down.

•In a cold snap, place floats on the surface of the pond to keep it from freezing over – this can be fatal for fish and pond life. To make a hole in frozen ponds, hold a saucepan of hot water on the surface until melted through. Do NOT crack the ice.

•FOR more on these topics, plus cook what you grow, traditional recipes, North East information, environmental news and more, visit

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