Competition: Win a �100 garden voucher

THEY call it the gift that keeps on giving and we’ve got the perfect chance for you to win a treat for the green-fingered.

The Comet has teamed up with National Garden Gift Vouchers to let green-fingered family and friends choose the gifts they really want and that keep on giving long after Christmas has gone.

Whether it’s plants and shrubs for brightening up flower beds, garden furniture or accessories that make outdoor living easy or simply new look pots and containers for an instant garden or patio makeover, National Garden Gift Vouchers are the perfect gift solution. They can be used at more than 2,000 outlets across the UK, with more than 90,000 garden plants and products on offer and unlike some other vouchers or gift cards there is no expiry date so they can be used at any time.

And just to get you in the festive mood we have some winter tips that will let you deck the halls with boughs of holly, or any greenery that you feel fits your festive creativity. December is the time of year when the outside comes into the home in the form of foliage decoration and when gardeners can put their feet up, just for a few minutes.

If you can’t source your Christmas greenery from your own garden then take a trip down to your local garden centre where you will find just about everything you need – Christmas trees, Christmas decorations and gift ideas including the gardener’s dream present – National Garden Gift Vouchers. Natural living decorations and table centrepieces are easy and eco friendly to create – and often something all the family has a hand in putting together. Try this for a naturally stunning centrepiece for the Christmas table.


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Get a good terracotta container, fill it with compost and plant winter cherry in the centre. Winter cherry is a waxy leaved plant with amazing cherry tomato like berries. It’s a popular Christmas plant so should be available in most garden centres. Then around the winter cherry plant a few small poinsettias and some ivy. Alternatively, with just one �50 national garden gift voucher you can create your own permanent Christmas decoration in the garden. Get a living Christmas tree, plant it in a good position allowing for future growth and then surround it with brightly coloured ground cover cyclamen or heathers – truly magical.

Your garden also gives up some beautiful gifts of its own at this time of year. In the depths of winter, the quiet charms of plants with strikingly coloured bark come into their own. Textures and stem colours of trees and shrubs attract the eye and brighten the winter gloom. By planting, for example, dogwoods, snake bark maples, willows and white washed brambles, you can create a stunning winter effect in any garden or landscape. Most winter stems are best planted in groups to maximise their impact and in locations where they can be seen and appreciated. They perform well in full sun and in deep, moist, loamy soil so try to avoid shallow and chalky soils. Dogwood and willow shrubs will need pruning each year in March, almost to ground level, to ensure that a fresh crop of the brightest coloured stems are produced in the next winter.

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December is definitely a time to catch up on some indoor gardening jobs and have a rest, but for those that are out and about you could:

? Carry on harvesting winter crops such as parsnips, kale, leeks, sprouts (don’t forget to pick sprouts from the bottom of the stalk upwards).

? Collect all empty plant pots and seed trays together and wash them ready for next year together with garden tools.

? Collect the rest of the leaves that have fallen from the trees for composting as leaf mould.

? Do some early wrapping by covering any large outside containers with bubblewrap, fleece or hessian, to help prevent the pots cracking in the cold frosty weather.

? Don’t be too much of a tidy gardener – leave some seed heads and berries on plants for animals and birds to eat.

If you are now in the mood for a festive treat, all you need to do to enter our voucher competition and be in with a chance of winning a �100 voucher is to answer the following question.

If you’re good at gardening, which of these are you said to have?

A – Blue toes

B – Green fingers

C – Red eyes

Text TC GARDEN followed by your answer (A, B or C), and your name and postcode to 80058.

Texts cost �1, plus your standard network rate. Competition closes at midday on Tuesday, December 4.

Usual promotion rules apply – visit www.thecomet24.co.uk. Customer services 0207 633 5020.

Visit www.thevouchergarden.co.uk to see all the outlets that sell and accept them, or log on and buy your own. You can also become a fan and buy vouchers on Facebook http://www.facebook.com/#!/GardenGiftVouchers or follow on Twitter @GardenGiftVouch or via the blog at http://www.vouchergardenblog.com/

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