Climbers such as ivy and Virginia creeper can be useful insulators on house walls, but you have to be vigilant and cut back any wayward strands that are creeping near fascias, gutters and drainpipes. Tame them before they inveigle their way inside and do damage.
Just when winter seems never-ending, snowdrops pop up to show that there is life left in that frozen soil. Forget prized £600 bulbs that sold on eBay: in The Plant Lover’s Guide To Snowdrops (Timber Press, £17.99), Naomi Slade shows which common-or-garden cultivars are as beautiful as the rarities.
Raspberry ‘Glencoe’ is a raspberry that thinks it’s a blackberry: one plant forms a vigorous, multi-stemmed clump of canes and its fruit is velvety-purple, rather than the usual red. The depths of winter is soft fruit planting season, so invest in some summer sweetness now by planting one or even three. Height and spread: 200cm x 120cm. Buy one 9cm potted plant for £14.99 or two for £29.98 and get one free (prices include UK mainland p&p). To order, call 0330 333 6856, quoting GU278, or go to our Readers’ offers page. Delivery in February.