red leaf largeAfter all this rain, plants and shrubs need feeding – the ground is so wet that any nutrients around the roots have probably been leached out.

Start looking in garden centres for different types of fertilisers for roses, shrubs and herbaceous plants. Sem granules are very popular but it is now possible to buy Photogen Soluble Feed here in France – this is a multi-purpose feed that can be used on most plants and shrubs. Use it sparingly, and see the difference.

When planting a hedge, why go for an all green barrier of Laurel and Lleylandii when you can introduce a little colour. Still use Laurel, but also incorporate Photinia, Ceonothus, Vibernum, Choisya and Pittosporun – all are evergreen but give flowering colour at different times of the year.

For extra interest, break up the line of the hedge by planting a tree – such Silver Birch or Rowan berry – amongst it. The overall cost is not that much more but the effect is worth the extra money.

But before planting your hedge check with your local mairie – hedges in most areas have to be one metre from the boundary fence.

By Mike Curtis, An English Nursery in France; 00 33 (0)5 46 33 66 17

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