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Do the twist in spring.

THE twisted branches of corkscrew hazel (corylus avellana Contorta) look particularly striking against a backdrop of a clear blue sky and it provides a conspicuous, if a little spooky, edge to the winter scene.

While many hazels are too big to grow in the average garden, the corkscrew hazel is slowgrowing, so will take years to reach its eventual height of 5m.

In February the stems will be further decorated by the 5cm (2in) long pale yellow hazel catkins. It is ideal underplanted with early flowering bulbs and marble-leaved arums and will grow in sunny or semi-shaded sites in fertile, well-drained soil. Remove suckers and any unwanted stems in the winter.

GOOD ENOUGH TO EAT - Garlic We have garlic in so many dishes these days that it's not difficult to justify the little time and effort it takes to grow your own.

Buy bulbs that are certified virus-free from seed merchants rather than planting one you've bought from a supermarket because the results may be disappointing if you cut corners.

Break up the bulb and plant the cloves in prepared, well-drained ground in a sunny spot, placing them 15cm apart and pointed end up, so the tip is just covered with soil.

Cover them with cloches in frosty weather. Each one will produce a whole bulb which should store until the following spring.

If you live in a cold area, speed up the process by planting the cloves in divided seed trays in multi-purpose compost, water in well and place them in a cold frame or unheated greenhouse.

They should be ready for planting out in March or April. In dry spells, keep garlic well watered or you may find the resulting bulbs don't keep for very long.

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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Post (Conwy, Wales)
Date:Jan 26, 2013
Words:292
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