About RTÉ Television
The Afternoon Show
The Afternoon ShowRTÉ One, Weekdays, 4.00pm

Preparing Your Garden For Winter with Eugene Higgins

Thursday, 26 October 2006


The days are getting shorter, the weather is getting cooler, and the winter is just around the corner. Get out and get your garden prepared for winter before it gets too cold to bother!

Eugene will also be answering any questions or queries you may have, so call us on 1850 71 71 11, text the word STUDIO followed by your question to 53555 or e-mail your question to

Autumn Gardening
Late Autumn is a good time for reflection in your garden.  Depending on the severity of your climate, winter can seriously do damage to your garden.  You need to focus on the underlying causes of this damage now to help prevent the problems.  These include winds, browsing animals, the remnants of dying plants and winter disease.

Pests such as the whitefly head for the greenhouse or conservatory in the winter so hang up a yellow sticky trap.  They will allow you to tell at a glance whether or not you have a problem.  This is not necessarily a cure but it is definitely an indicator.  If you discover that you do have a problem, use an organic pesticide to

. Yellow sticky trap - €6.45 for a packet.
. Semi-organic pesticide - from €5.95.
Both available from garden centres nationwide.

Check your winter pansies and violas for black spot disease.  Black spot disease is a fungus that appears as round, black spots on the leaves.  There may be a distinctive yellow band around the spot and leaves may fall prematurely.  Black spot is one of the most common diseases.  If you discover your plants have it, pick off the damaged leaves.  If your pansies/ violas were killed by black spot last year, do not plant your seeds in the same place as the soil is sure to be carrying the disease.  Plant the seeds in a different spot.

Get your garden tidied up by turning all your autumn gatherings into compost over the winter.  Simply gather it all up and leave it in a plastic bag or compost bin in a corner of your garden over winter and next year you will have some nice compost to fertilise your plants.  Your compost can (and should) consist of:

. Birch leaves to cleanse your compost heap.
. Hot rotters such as young weeds or grass cuttings.
. Slow cookers like autumn leaves and woody prunings.
. Fruit and vegetable scraps like tea bags and bedding plants.

Fruit Trees
Protect your fruit trees from winter moths by putting bands around the trees to stop them crawling up the trees and laying eggs during the winter.

. Glue bands - €6.20 for a packet - available garden centres nationwide.

Trimming Back
You should trim lavenders by a third to get the best out of them.  If you don't, they will get very woody.  You should not cut back too much otherwise flower production will suffer.

Eugene will demonstrate this.  He will also mention that you should trim very tall rose trees (those over 3 feet) by 50%.  A lot of people don't realise this.  The roots of these trees can be quite weak and when the wind blows a bushy tree in the winter it may damage the roots.  So trim by 50% and finish it off in the spring.

. Lavender Plant - €6.95 - available garden centres nationwide.

Contact Details
You can contact Eugene at:
Colour Green
Co. Offaly,
Phone: 057 935 5840 or 01 867 4319.