Gardening jobs this weekend with Brian Kidd

Red Riding Hood tulips.'.
Red Riding Hood tulips.'.
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It’s time to cut back trees and your final call to plant tulips.

•Plant shallots. This doesn’t have to be done if you are enjoying doing other things but they are best planted in December or January. If the soil is wet, fork the surface, cover with cloches and leave the ends of them open to let the wind dry the soil.

•Feel the compost on newly-bought potted plants such as azaleas, poinsettias and,cyclamen and only water once the compost feels dry. Ensure all plants are kept at a fairly even temperature. Cyclamen prefer to be cold.

•Look out for adverts in connection with garden centre sales. One local garden centre will be advertising 20 per cent of everything shortly.

•There’s still time to plant tulips. Think about dwarf varieties such as Red Riding Hood in containers near your front door.

•This is a great time to reduce the height of many trees. Before starting look carefully at the shape of the tree and prune so you keep a good-looking shape. Buy a proper pruning saw.

•Think ahead. In January it is possible to start seed sowing. Think about buying a soil-warming cable if there is electricity in the greenhouse. These cables are very safe and easy to install. There are instructions in the pack. Ask a member of staff to open the pack so you may read them.

•Paraffin is now more expensive than electrical heating, so having electricity installed professionally into the greenhouse is very worthwhile and the running cost is cheaper than paraffin because electricity can be thermostatically controlled. If you rely on paraffin, use the heater to warm just a small part of the greenhouse. Divide the greenhouse using polythene bubbled plastic film which is about £1.10p perme tre and will pay for itself in two seasons.

•Don’t forget to feed the birds and you will get a great deal of pleasure when different species pay you a visit.