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GARDENING WITH GEORGE BOENISH; Brighten up your autumn view.

SUMMER is not over yet and here I go spoiling things by mentioning autumn.

But mention it I must as you know as well as I do, one must think ahead when gardening is concerned.

I thought I would mention a few trees in case you intend buying one.

Autumn is a magical time in the garden with leaves changing colour, berries shining in the sun and many plants still flowering their little hearts out.

It is a season often over-looked when planting our gardens, with spring and summer colour often taking centre stage. The subtle changes in, say, Euonymus alatus foliage starts at least six to eight weeks before its grand finale of dazzling, pinky-red leaves, which then fall to show an amazing network of angular, curiously-shaped branches.

Berries and fruits give a wonderful show, often lasting much longer than the display of summer-flowering plants.

And unlikely as it seems, some plants only bloom in autumn/winter, apparently lapping up the cold weather.

TOP FIVE TREES FOR AUTUMN/WINTER COLOUR

1. Amelanchier lamarcki, Snowy mespilus A superb, multi-use large shrub or small tree. In spring it is smothered in white flowers, the new foliage is coppery-red and has rich autumn colour. Very easy to grow.

The berries, which quickly change to black, can be eaten straight off the plant.

And there is something else worth mentioning - your garden will be full of birds waiting for the berries to ripen and then they will pounce!

2. Betula Jacquemontii, Silver birch The whiter-than-white bark! Good in a lawn or as a single specimen in the border among red-stemmed dogwoods.

3. Crataegus prunifolia A medium-sized plant of the Maythorn. A small tree displaying rich orangey- red autumn colour and red fruits.

4. Malus, Golden Hornet A small crab apple tree with white flowers and a dazzling crop of bright yellow fruits, resembling large yellow marbles in winter.

If you have an apple tree in the garden there is no need to buy another one as a pollinator.

5. Sorbus, Joseph Rock A medium sized Mountain Ash. It grows upright and won't take over the garden.

The leaves are "ferney" and turn to shades of red, orange, copper and purple in autumn. There are also clusters of striking yellow berries.

Space has beaten me to it but I will mention five large shrubs for autumn colour, next week.

Don't worry if you only have a small garden because I will mention small shrubs as well.

There will also be an article giving you five perennials for autumn colour and 10 plants for autumn containers/baskets.

Are my roses suffering with suckers?

Q. MR B. INGLE of Canley Road, Coventry writes: I have planted a Starlight Express climbing rose.

There are now five stems coming up from the root and they are very strong. They have five leaflets and the stems are also very thorny. This indicates they are suckers, does it not? Do you think I should replace it or will the present one grow normally?

A. NO need to replace the present rose, even those stems even though those stems are suckers. But are they? Five leaflets usually suggests suckers, but usually doesn't mean always.

Being thorny raises suspicion especially if they grow straight up and/or a few inches away from the plant itself. This means they are coming up from the roots. But I have never known FIVE making an appearance in one go.

I have a feeling the roots had already been damaged when you bought the climber.

Get a trowel, remove the soil and find the point of origin. In other words, find out where the growth starts. If they come from below ground level they may well be suckers and have to be removed or they will, in time, take over and you will be left cultivating climbing suckers.

Get a sharp knife and cut the suckers off flush against the wood. You can only do this with a knife and not secateurs. Secateurs usually leave a bit of the old wood and that is enough to produce fresh suckers.

I should also complain to the garden centre you bought the rose from.

Q. MRS J SMITH of Gainsborough Drive, Bedworth, writes: I have planted a Yew in a large terracotta pot. I pruned the sides of the plant to keep it in shape but the leaves are now turning brown and the branches are very bare from the trunk outwards. How can I "thicken" up the plant?

A. MRS SMITH is by no means the only person trying to grow a Yew plant in a container, just the way one would with a bay tree one often sees in containers. A Yew is unsuitable for containers and the plant will get thinner, etc. A terracotta container makes it even worse because the roots dry out in no time. Grow the plant outside in the open garden where it will grow happily for many years.
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Title Annotation:Features
Author:Boenish, George
Publication:Coventry Evening Telegraph (England)
Date:Aug 21, 1999
Words:828
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