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    Top Tips: Winter Gardening

    Sweetpeas and Roses are perfect for renters! Here's why...

    "I’ve recently taken delivery of several roses, but this is no smug Valentine’s boast – these roses are going in the garden."

    Winter is the time to plant roses, as they won’t suffer the shock of replanting while they’re dormant. Rose nurseries can deliver them to your door and at this time of year they come as bare root plants. This is exactly what it sounds like – rather than getting the roses in a big pot of soil, they come as the plants only, with the roots exposed.

    Going from this…



    To (hopefully) this…



    It’s much cheaper to buy roses as bare root plants in the Winter than it is to buy them in containers in the Spring or Summer, and you can also get better growth out of your plants, as they have the whole Spring to get established in your garden.



    You can plant them in containers too, which is a great option for renters.



    I’ve planted a row of them in a border. They don’t look much now:



    But hopefully they’ll eventually look something like this:



    My other gardening activity recently has been planting sweet peas. Sweet peas are my favourite Summer annual – gorgeous fragrance, bright colours and they keep flowering the more you cut them. I fill jars, vases, glasses, anything with them, and scatter them liberally about the flat.



    Sweet peas are a great flower for renters to grow as they’re annuals, so you won’t be investing in the long term prospect of a perennial shrub. You can grow the climbers in the ground or a large container, and there are also dwarf varieties which are perfect in pots.

    This year I’m planting all my sweet peas in containers as I’ve given over the border to the roses, and I’ve gone for a mix of climbers and dwarf types.



    You can plant them directly into the ground or container in the Spring, but you’ll get better results by starting them off indoors during the Winter. I plant mine in the cardboard tubes from toilet rolls, which are perfect because sweet peas are long rooted. The tubes will biodegrade in the soil, so you can plant the seedlings straight into the final position, tube and all, without disturbing the roots.



    I can’t wait to see the seedlings come up, bringing the promise of warmer (and hopefully drier!) weather. Come the Summer, my garden will be a riot of colour and fragrance!



    Are you planning any new garden projects this year? Are you a fan of sweet peas? What colours have you grown?

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    Image credits: Rose in bloom / Container Rose Garden / Rose and Lavender Border / Sweetpeas in Jars / Summer Sweetpeas / All other images copyright Josh Whelan.