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How to protect your property is a big question for many of us these days. We all know about cameras, burglar alarms etc. But how can we protect our selves with a natural thing, something that doesn't need batteries or electric, the only thing it needs is TLC (tender loving care) Ok I must admit nothing is burglar proof, but this does act as a deterrent. Whilst the intruders are negotiating the thorns you do have a chance to phone the police. What is this deterrent? It is a shrub called pyracantha. Pyracantha is a member of the rose family it likes well drained, rich soil to prevent its roots from rotting, and it prefers a warm, south facing position. Having said that it will tolerate other positions. The evergreen pyracantha has many varieties the firethorn variety being popular it has large bunches of white flowers in spring, in the autumn they have berries in different shades from red to yellow. If you like watching birds then the pyracantha is a shrub for you. birds love to feed on the berries. This is a thorny dense shrub with glossy green leaves so it does look attractive all year round. Pyracantha shrubs form an informal hedging and are usually planted against walls or wooden fencing.Most varieties have big 1 inch long spiky thorns which make them an excellent deterrent. When I am trimming mine back I always remind myself to be careful as he will bite me, and believe me he does bite. Do not worry if you only can afford to buy a small plant as they do grow at a medium rate and before long you will have a good plant. Plant prices vary according to size, a rough guide to price is £3 for a smallish plant. The plants themselves depending on variety grow roughly inbetween three feet and six feet, or will grow a lot more than that if left to run wild. Conifer hedging does provide you with the advantage of privacy, but it does not provide you with the thorns of the pyracantha, so thin k twice about yoiur hedging arrangment. You can cut and prune a pyracantha if you just want a shrub feature in your garden, but as I said earlier pyracantha and similar shrubs do act as a deterrent and they are attractive to look at, low maintainance. Enjoy your privacy.
During the winter months the garden can look bare and dull, and you always mean to get more plants that look good at this time of year, but by summer you are too preoccupied by hanging baskets and annuals, and have completely forgotten (again)! Pyracantha or Firethorn is one of those shrubs that is often overlooked when in the Garden Centre, probably because you buy them young, and don't get to see their potential until they are a few years old. First of all. let me say this shrub is one that lives up to it's name; it IS thorny, and just handling this shrub will have you wincing if you get pricked by it. They can also attain a good height and spread, up to 15ft in some cases, but there are smaller growing varieties available. If you have young children you may not want this in your garden, firstly there are the thorns, and secondly, the berries. Having said all that, I have had two shrubs when my child was young, and she never was tempted to eat the berries, nor did she ever fall into it! The sight of the berries on a mature shrub which has not been heavily pruned is really lovely in the winter, they vary from yellow through to orange and bright red, depending on the variety. There is the added bonus of it being an evergreen shrub, so planted in a dull and forgotten part of the garden, it really comes into it's own. The shrub has small white coloured hawthorn like flowers in the early summer. It can be grown freestanding, or used as a hedge, or perhaps trained against a wall with support from trellis or strong wire. It would make a good hedge, and be an excellent deterrent from marauding dogs and other things! Grown as a hedge, it will need pruning between May and July, once established. If trained against a wall, it needs to have vigorous growth tied in each year between July and September, and have surplus growth trimmed between May and July after flowering. Heavy pruning will reduce the number of berries produced. Some varieties will have their berries eaten quickly by birds during the winter cold, one variety that has berries which are a little less favoured by birds is the good old "Orange Glow", this one is very hardy. Most Pyracantha's will thrive in a reasonable soil, they prefer full sun, but "Orange Glow" seems to thrive anywhere. This is a shrub which you will either love or hate, I love it because it is so good to look at, and helps to provide extra security when planted in vulnerable spots around the garden; I can honestly say if I was a burglar attempting to climb a low wall with a mature planting of Pyracantha on the other side, I would think twice!