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If you’ve never tried

ses
M UST DO O Sow ornamental gras

is weekng!
bs
O Feed and mulch shru

fuchsi O Check ties on pla


O Sow winter brassic
nt

O Give lemons & limes


su
as
pports

a boost
you’re missing a treat!
See
ot-on you O Scarify your lawn

A plug plants seed


O Grow asparagus from

22 APRIL 2017
Tough, reliable, and
hard-working - there’s a
cranesbill geranium for
every garden situation

Take bas
cuttings
Here’s an easy way
make more peren

Sow seeds
of hardy
annuals
We show how
to sow direct in

7
garden beds

Plant up
your pond
For algae-free water,
healthy wildlife and
beautiful flowers

Stake broad
bean plants
sweet peas
Stop overwintered plants
from being damaged in
Don’t cold shock plants
stormy spring weather Try Bob Flowerdew’s watering trick
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Amateur
SUBSCRIBE!
This week in and SAVE up to

22 April 2017
0330 333 1113
and quote: 11XP or go to
4 Plant out sweet peas 59 Best geraniums
 amateurgardeningsubs.co.uk/11XPXP

Practical
4 Prepare for sweet peas to keep
them blooming all summer

6 Plant autumn-flowering bulbs,


take basal cuttings of perennials
Pot up plug plants, sow annual
7 ornamental grasses
Feed and mulch trees and shrubs,
8 check tree ties and supports
40 Lawn shears test Sow runner seeds now for an
12 early crop of succulent beans
How to grow your free Viola
13 ‘Comedy Mixed’ seeds
54 Tropical planting
Features
30 Discover the amazing range of
long-flowering colourful fuchsias

38 Seven ways to grow sweet peas


for exciting displays

42 Anne Swithinbank on getting


the best from fruit trees

Tim Rumball 46 How to plant up a pond for


interest and exciting flowers

Expert advice
Editor’s letter 10 Peter Seabrook
Best viola and pansy varieties
Anne Swithinbank
FINISHED digging the allotment
14
I
ways. Some die but leave behind eggs in
the other week, and was concerned the soil which hatch as temperatures rise Care of lemons and limes
that I found very few earthworms (these guys love no-dig gardeners). Other Bob Flowerdew
in the soil. Worms? We all know they
matter. Charles Darwin reckoned they’re
species burrow up to 6ft (2m) into the
soil and make a nest to avoid the cold.
16 Young plants are easily shocked!
Lucy Chamberlain
essential to agriculture, and hence our
survival. But I was turning over spit after
Worldwide there are over 4000
species of worms, and all have their own 18 Tend to pot fruit, sow asparagus
spit of soil and only encountering the way of doing things. The important thing Graham Clarke
occasional wriggler. Worse, I’ve found
the dreaded earthworm-guzzling New
I needed to know was that the worms
will come back to my allotment and
21 Why shrews are good for gardens
Tamsin Westhorpe
Zealand flatworm on my plot
OMG Paniiiiiiiiiiiiiic! Was this the end
garden when spring warms the soil.
As for the other problem, I’ve decided
22 Border care, sow hardy annuals
of the world? Was I tilling dead earth? to commission the All-Blacks rugby team Christine Walkden
Well, I had wonderful crops last year and
the patch is still yielding excellent leeks,
to perform a flatworm-charming dance
on my plot. Soil compaction may be an
35 How to keep pond water healthy
Toby Buckland
parsnips, purple sprouting and spinach.
So something else must be going on.
issue afterwards, but I’ll be able to pick
off the pesky predatory worms to leave
59 In support of hardy geraniums
A little research revealed that different our native wrigglers to burrow in peace.
earthworms deal with winter in different Have a great gardening week. Regulars
We test six pairs of long handled
Get in touch! Q amateurgardening@timeinc.com
Experts helpline:
Freephone
40 lawn shears and pick a winner
Q Westover House, West Quay Rd, Q 0800 915 9891
Q 01202 440840 Be inspired by a tropical planting
Poole Dorset BH15 1JG (12-1 Monday - Friday)
54 style in South Gloucestershire
Q Cover picture: Lathyrus odoratus ‘Gwendoline’ / GAP
22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 3
Gardening Week
with AG’s gardening expert Ruth Hayes

Sweet pea season


is here again!
It’s time to plant your sweet peas, sow new ones in situ,
and care for those not quite ready to go out, says Ruth
Large containers offer enough

I
F you have successfully coaxed the conditions should be perfect for
your autumn-sown sweet pea successful germination. room to grow sweet peas
seedlings through the I have three lots of sweet peas
winter, pinching them to deal with this week.
out and keeping them The first lot was sowed
pest free, you can last October, and after
plant them in the germination grew on
ground now. in our cold frame.
If you live in I pinched them
the north, or out occasionally,
somewhere and have been
particularly rewarded with
exposed, it may robust, bushy plants
be worth waiting that should grow
another week or so, Sweet peas are the sight well up a willow
but they are hardy of summer wigwam support.
plants and can survive I also sowed a second lot
outside in most areas. earlier this year. They are not
Late April is also a good time to sow quite as advanced, so I am continuing
to pinch them out and will plant them
in the garden in the next few weeks.
The third batch is seeds of a dwarf
“Soil conditions variety that I plan to sow directly in a
bed for colour and ground cover.
now are ideal for When planting out and sowing,
remember that sweet peas do best in
germination” well-drained, fertile soil that has been
enriched with well-rotted organic
matter, and is in either full sun or very
sweet pea seeds directly where you light shade. Plant out seedlings,
want plants to grow. On poorer soils, dig in lots of garden or sow sweet pea
seeds now
All TimeInc

The soil is being warmed by the sun compost or well rotted manure and
and dampened by spring showers, so scatter a little growmore fertiliser.

Plant care and direct sowing

Second batch sweet peas that are not Initially secure seedlings to supports Help seeds to germinate by roughing
1 ready to plant out should be pinched
out to encourage bushy growth.
2 after planting out. As they grow, they
will support themselves with tendrils.
3 their hard casing with a nail file
before sowing.

4 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017


Pest watch: Aphids love sweet peas! Deal
with them immediately by squishing them in
your fingers, or use an organic spray

Step p Planting
by ste out your
seedlings
Choose a sunny, fertile position

Set your support in the soil, and


1 anchor it firmly to stop it blowing
away, taking the seedlings with it!

Remove plants from their root


2 trainers/pots, plant them against
TopTip the support and tie them on lightly.

If you raised seedlings over


winter in a warm, sheltered
spot you may need to ‘harden
them off’ to acclimatise them
to the cold outdoors. Stand
them outside in the day for
five days, bringing
them in at night.

Water the plants, and keep them


3 watered at all times. Mulch with
well-rotted compost or manure.

Sow seeds direct in well prepared Rake soil over the seeds, and water. Seedlings are vulnerable to
4 soil. Set them 1in (2.5cm) deep, 3in
(7cm) apart at the base of supports.
5 Deter birds and cats by laying a
lattice of twigs over the sowing area.
4 slugs and snails, so protect with
pellets, grit mulch or slug pubs.

22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 5


Gardening Week
with AG’s gardening expert Ruth Hayes
Step p
by ste Planting
TopTip my bulbs
Don’t worry if plants don’t Using borders and containers
reach their full potential
this year. They should
increase in size and
splendour each year
as they grow
and mature.

Unusually, nerines are planted


1 with the tip of the bulb showing at
the surface of the soil. Improve wet
soil with garden compost and grit.

Nerines grow best in either


All TimeInc

full sun or light dappled shade

Bulbs for autumn


Ruth plans ahead for some after-summer colour Set bulbs 4in (10cm) apart, firm
2 soil around them leaving tips

T
HERE is no time like the present bulbs there is still time. However now
to think about planning for the is the right time to plant hardy Nerine exposed. Water well and label. Slugs
future – in this case planting bowdenii which produce stunning pink and snails are not usually a problem.
bulbs that will bring colour to flowers before the strap-like leaves.
the garden when summer ends. Flowers appear in September, or even
You can plant autumn-flowering later, so to fill the gap between summer
bulbs from now until late summer, and their arrival, I am also planting
but the earlier they go in the ground, Gladiolus murielae in containers.
the better chance you have of an These produce elegant white flowers
impressive show. from late summer until autumn, and
It’s getting a bit late to plant summer should be lifted after flowering, and
bulbs, though as long as you can find over-wintered in a cool, dry shed.
I’m planting my gladiolus in a

Taking basal cuttings – here’s how! 3 pot. Place a layer of crocks at the
base, start to fill with multi-purpose
compost – I add a little John Innes 2.
■ Basal cuttings taken from the base
of a newly-sprouting perennial are When cuttings have taken
an easy way of creating more plants. successfully, they will start to grow

■ Cut young shoots from around the


edge of the main plant’s crown, with
a few roots attached. Remove lower
leaves, and pinch out the growing tip.
■ Dip the end in rooting powder,
and insert into a pot containing
seed compost and perlite. Set the bulbs so they’re 6in (15cm)
Water, cover with a plastic
bag, and place somewhere
4 deep and 4in (10cm) apart, and
cover with compost before watering
light and warm. and labelling. Raise the pot on feet.

6 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017


Gardening Week
with AG’s gardening expert Ruth Hayes

TopTip Step p Potting on


Designs ‘drifts’ of grasses by
by ste plug plants
drawing patterns on the soil
with sand. Most grasses Fresh compost will boost growth
thrive best in damp soils, so
make sure you keep them
well watered during
dry spells.

Water your plug plants well, to


1 saturate the rootball and make
them easier to slide from their pots.

Grass heads move


attractively in the breeze

Annual grasses are an


interesting contrast to Carefully tap the little plants
flowering plants 2
All TimeInc

from their pot, keeping the


rootballs as intact as possible.

Sowing annual grasses


Add interest with varied shapes and textures, says Ruth
HEN planning sowing for brilliant white, fluffy seedheads from

W the year ahead, gardeners


often miss a trick by
ignoring the merits of
annual ornamental grasses.
They make a wonderful
dense clumps of deciduous leaves, and
black millet (Sorghum nigrum) will add
height and structure to borders, with
striking flowerheads that range in
colour from greeny-gold to Place the plants in one size larger
addition to borders and
containers, and once
distinctive bronze.
Sow seeds in drifts
3 pots, and carefully infill around
the roots with John Innes No 2.
they have produced and spirals for the
their seedheads they most attractive
can be cut, dried, effects. Rake
and used to them over, and
supplement indoor protect with
arrangements. twigs, mesh or
The most popular Grass seeds are attractive to a chemical
birds, so protect after sowing
include bunny tails deterrent to keep
(Lagurus ovatus), hungry birds and
which produce fluffy fouling cats away.
and soft tufty seedheads, Thin out seedlings
and quaking grass with Firm them in, water, and place
its delicate, divided, raindrop-
shaped pendulous heads.
when they are large
enough to handle, so
plants have enough room to grow and
4 somewhere light and frost-free.
Harden them off before planting out.
Stunning Pennisetum produces look their best.
22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 7
Gardening Week
with AG’s gardening expert Ruth Hayes

Boost fruit trees


Check tree ties are secure Young specimens need extra help
and not biting into bark

Fruit trees will benefit from a


1 balanced springtime feed of
a slow-release fertiliser such as
Growmore. Sprinkle it around their
roots, and fork it in.

Slow-release feed and well-rotted


All TimeInc

manure are good for shrubs

Care of trees and shrubs


Larger plants need some post-winter TLC, says Ruth

I
F you haven’t already done so, new growth that will bear this year’s In addition, mulch young trees
this is a good week to spend some
time looking after your trees and
blossom and fruit.
However, you can remove any frost-
2 with a layer of well-rotted
compost or manure each spring
shrubs. They will benefit from damaged shoots from evergreens, for their first 3 or 4 years to retain
being fed and mulched, and you should and cut back buddleja, cotinus (smoke moisture, feed soil and deter weeds.
also check that they are still securely bushes) and elders (Sambucus). You
planted after winter storms and frosts. can also give lavenders a light trim to
Start your overhaul by firming stop them becoming leggy
any ground around the
roots that may have been
and shapeless.
Feed trees with a slow- Getting the best
cracked, loosened and
lifted during spells of
release fertiliser such
as growmore, or blood,
from your roses
frosty weather. fish and bone meal, ■ Look after roses now, and they
At the same time, then mulch with should be more robust, and less
check that supporting well-rotted organic disease-prone, in summer.
stakes are still matter to keep the soil ■ Weed carefully around them
embedded in the damp and weeds at (their roots are shallow and easy to
ground, and make sure bay. Don’t let the mulch damage), and feed with a general
tree ties are doing their Pull out rose suckers touch the plant, as it or rose-specific fertiliser before
job. If they have perished from ground level can soften the trunk and adding a layer of mulch.
over time, replace them, and encourage rotting. ■ Pull out suckers from the wild
if they have worked loose tighten Also take a moment to look rootstock the rose was grafted on,
them up... but not so much that they over climbing roses and shrubs from below the grafting point.
are too tight and biting into tree bark, such as honeysuckle. Tie them in as ■ Feed container plants with a
as this can provide an entry point for horizontally as you can, to restrict sap general liquid feed until buds form.
disease such as canker. flow and encourage the production of Then change it to a high-potassium
This is not a good time to prune most side shoots that will eventually lead to liquid tomato fertiliser.
deciduous trees, as you will cut away more flowers.
8 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017

 
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Listen to Peter's

Gardening Week
free podcast every
Thursday. Search for
'This Week In The
Garden with Peter
Seabrook' on

with Peter Seabrook, AG’s classic gardening expert iTunes

The appropriately named Viola x


williamsiana ‘Bunny Ears’ has flowers
Peter’s pansy
shaped like the ears of a rabbit
and viola tips

Time Inc
Regular dead heading of seed
1 raised pansies and violas extends
flowering. Check closely as opening
flowers look similar to fading ones.

I’m not quite sure about the


taste of Pansy ‘Tasty’ flowers
Both PJS

Pretty tasty blooms


Today’s bedding plants have lots more to offer says Peter

T
HE search mounted by when they are battered the sheer
presenters of BBC Gardeners’ quantity of blooms mean more soon
World for plants making the replace damaged ones. Even so
greatest impact over the past breeders are thickening the petals

PJS
half century is a tough one. When of large flower cultivars, such as
they kicked things off with ‘bedding Pansy ‘Prim Up’, ‘Felix Mix’ and To reduce the chance of wilt
plants’ it was a cop out. Do they mean
spring bedding, or summer bedding,
Pansy ‘Colossos’.
One Dutch breeder is concentrating
2 disease it is advisable not to
replant the viola family in the same
or autumn or winter? We didn’t have on edible pansy flowers with his Pansy site you used last year.
winter flowering Pansy ‘Universal’
50 years ago and given some dead
heading both Universal and their
successor Pansy ‘Maxim Series’, with “Smaller flowered
over 30 different separate colours, will
flower pretty well year round. violas are now
A case could certainly be made for
Pansy and Viola F1 hybrids being the outstanding”
plant that has made a great impact on
our gardens and public plantings. Last
month at Meadow Croft Garden Centre Tasty Series coming in six different
Pansy and Viola Festival there were colours. My sense of taste is not very
just short of 500 different cultivars on sharp and others attending the trial
display and available for customers found some of the small violas peppery
Alamy

to buy. The smaller flowered violas enough to liven up a salad. Choosing the
are now outstanding, with series such best from this array was difficult, Pansy Flower size reduces in high
as Bel Viso, Floral Power, Rocky and
Sorbet Xp very free and long flowering.
‘Matrix Black’ is the best large black
flower I have seen and small flowered
3 temperatures and colours
lighten, so grow in cooler, shaded
The smaller flowers are better able Viola x williamsiana ‘Bunny Ears’ (T & M) positions for summer flowering.
to withstand rough weather and even is eye-catching and aptly named.
10 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017
  
     
 
 
  
   
      
 

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Gardening Week
with AG’s gardening expert Marc Rosenberg

Start runner beans from seed indoors


The days of stringy runners When growing runner beans, my first
are long gone, says Marc priority is to choose a stringless variety.
(circled, below) I’m adding well-rotted

I
T’S a great British tradition – a bit manure to the veg patch, ahead of
like moaning about the weather: we planting-out time in early-June
regard runner beans as a summer
essential, then end up complaining
about stringy, tasteless crops!
Thankfully, chewy runners are history
if you choose a stringless type. Modern
runner beans are flavoursome and
tender. Plus, their flowers look as good
in borders as they do on a veg plot.
Runner beans can be sown indoors or
in a heated greenhouse from April until
early-June, so now’s a perfect time to
get crops going (see below).
I’m sowing ‘Firestorm’ – the first
completely self-fertile scarlet-flowered
runner bean. I trialled it last year and
it lived up to its RHS Award of Garden

All TimeInc
Merit, setting heavy, continuous pods
even during periods of wet weather as
well as hot spells. My ‘Firestorm’ seed meantime, add well-rotted compost young runner bean shoots.
came from Suttons (£2.99 for 30 seeds), or well-rotted farmyard manure to the And finally, stringless varieties only
but it’s available from most suppliers. planting site and dig it into the soil, remain tender and tasty if you pick
Young plants will need to be before building rows or wigwams of ‘em young. Not only will this keep
hardened off before being planted bamboo canes, to support the plants. more beans coming, but it’ll guarantee
out from early-June onwards, after Have some organic slug pellets handy no more: “Yuck, these beans are all
all danger of frost has passed. In the at planting-out time, as molluscs love stringy!” comments at the dinner table.

Step p How to sow runner beans


by ste

Empty the packet of seed into your Fill small 2.5in (7cm) pots or Holding the bean seed vertically,
1 hand and pick the biggest, fattest
bean seeds to sow. Discard any tiny,
2 a tray of modules with seed
and cuttings compost and firm the
3 push it into the compost so it’s
about 1.5in (4cm) deep. Cover the hole
shrivelled or damaged seeds. compost gently. with compost.

Using a hand-held sprayer, Put the tray in an unheated Germination takes seven to 14
4 lightly mist the compost using
tap water. Do not use water from
5 propagator on a windowsill. Make
sure that night temperatures don’t drop
6 days but can be quicker in warm
spells. Use plant sticks (pictured) to
garden water butts. below 10oC (50oF). support fast growing seedlings.

12 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017


Gardening Week
with AG’s gardening expert Ruth Hayes

Step p Sow your


by ste free seeds

TopTip Start them inside…

Keep your violas flowering


for as long as possible
by regular deadheading,
and feeding them with a
liquid tomato feed every
fortnight during the
summer.

Sow viola seeds thinly onto sieved,


1 fresh seed compost, that has been
dampened and allowed to drain.

Cover them with a little compost,


Sow violas directly onto raked soil
2 and place somewhere light and
warm. They will grow in 2-4 weeks.
All TimeInc

in areas of sun or dappled shade

… or sow directly outside


Violas inside and out
Ruth decides to sow these perky perennials two ways
HIS week’s batch of free Mr However, if you live in the north of the

T Fothergill’s seeds – Viola


‘Comedy Mix’ – should cheer up
everyone’s garden.
Violas are hardy perennials,
though they are best grown as
country, or somewhere exposed, you will
have more success sowing them
undercover, and moving them out when
they are large enough.
Sown now, they will be
Clear the sowing area of debris,
a biennial or annual, with
an easy-going nature and
ready to flower in the
autumn and, with careful
3 rake well, and water the soil
using a fine spray. Sow seeds thinly.
jolly character. They are pest control and regular
happy growing in beds, deadheading, should
as edging plants, and survive the winter and
in containers. come into flower again
They will tolerate sun next spring.
and dappled shade, and Cheerful colours of I prefer neat little
come in a variety of Viola ‘Comedy Mix’ violas to their larger
velvety colours. ‘Comedy cousins the pansies,
Mix’ come in cheerful shades because their petals are less
of purple, pink, yellow and a likely to be damaged by weather.
creamy white. They are a more compact, clump-
At this time of year, they will be fine if Rake a little soil over the seeds,
sown directly where you want them to
grow, and then thinned out when large
forming plant, and although they self-
seed extremely freely, the clumps of
seedlings are easy to lift, gently break
4 and firm gently. Protect from cats
with twigs or a chemical deterrent.
enough to handle. apart, and replant elsewhere.
22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 13
Gardening Week
with AG’s indoor plant expert Anne Swithinbank

TopTip Step p Thin citrus


Stand citrus plants outdoors
by ste fruit and
for summer, probably from
the beginning of June, in a pot on
sheltered, shady spot to start
with, out of the wind.
Move into strong
sunlight gradually.

Citrus are self fertile and small

A Tahiti lime can grow to 6ft (1.8m) tall and ours had grown a long stem. This was pruned
1 fruits are setting. On a small
tree, these should be thinned to
All TimeInc.

back by half to encourage a bushy shape. The removed stem made three cuttings. just one or two per cluster.

Citrus spring care


Give lemons and limes a little spring attention, says Anne

C
ITRUS including lemons, limes peratures plants go very dormant and
and various oranges, are popu- can be slow to wake up. A better bet is
lar indoor plants but need good to aim for a minimum of 50˚F (10˚C) in
This existing mature fruit has
regular care to thrive. So for
everyone who owns one of these
a cool, bright room indoors.
Our lime lived out the winter
2 not grown or changed since the
autumn so is best removed, or it
rewarding tender fruit trees, parked at the end of a dining
could slow the set of new fruits.
here’s a timely follow-up table, sharing a humid
on the Tahiti Lime fea- microclimate with other
tured last September. plants. Fed roughly once
Also known as Bearss a month with a citrus
or Persian lime (Citrus x winter feed, the lime
latifolia), our plant was was a cheering sight
bought at the end of last all winter with glossy
summer with no blos- leaves and a succession
som but one small lime in of scented, cream-white
place. Most citrus are durable flowers (inset). But now all
plants able to survive tempera- citrus need a little attention to
Citrus need well-draining, neutral
tures close to freezing, but at low tem- keep them flowering and fruiting.
3 compost. I used 4 parts of 50:50
soilless and JI No 2 plus composted
Summer citrus care bark and leaf mould, and 1 part grit.

Q Keep plants indoors for now in flowers are self-fertile and will set
good light but not harsh sun. In June, fruits without a pollinator.
weather permitting, move citrus Q From a month after potting, apply a
outdoors into a sheltered, shady spot summer citrus feed or well-balanced
at first, while the plant acclimatises to liquid feed every 2-3 weeks to keep
outdoor light.
leaves green.
Q Water (ideally using rain water but Q Continue to examine leaves
tap is better than nothing) when the regularly with a magnifying glass to
check for outbreaks of pests like spider Remove the lime from its pot
compost surface starts to dry out.

Q Citrus plants carry both flowers and


mite, mealy bug or scale insects and
treat immediately with something like
4 and use this to ‘pot’ into the new
larger one. Removed, it leaves a
maturing fruit at the same time. The SB Plant Invigorator. tailor-made hole for the rootball.

14 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017


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Gardening Week
with Bob Flowerdew, AG’s organic gardening expert

Bob’s top tips


for the week

If you’ve an apple or pear that


1 flowers well but never fruits, hang
blossom sprigs from the apple trees
of neighbours to aid pollination.

Really cold water can shock the roots


of seedlings and tender specimens
GAP

Alamy

Nurture seedlings 2 Use your grass cutting waste as


mulch under fruit trees, bushes,
shrubs and roses in thin layers,
topped up weekly.
Water plants undercover with warmed water, says Bob

H
ERE'S a simple way to help than colder. So don’t risk chilling your
your plants – don’t chill them. plants. Rather than water from a cold
Warm the water before giving water butt outdoors or straight from
it to your plants, especially the mains, have a smaller water butt
the more tender ones under cover. standing in the greenhouse where
Of course plants are going to prefer the water can at least warm up a bit
warm water to cold, wouldn’t you? beforehand. Paint it black so that it
True, water will warm up once in the
pots but surely water warm to start
Spray everything growing with
with must be better than cold (except
during a heat wave in summer). Warm “Warm water wets 3 diluted seaweed solution, it only
does good and works miracles on
roots means growth can proceed more
quickly, that’s why we use ‘bottom heat’ compost much plants suffering nutrient shortages.
in propagators. Plus, warm water wets
compost more readily than does cold. more readily”
So how can you have warmer water
without plumbing in a water heater in
the greenhouse, or fitting an outside absorbs more warmth from the sun.
hot tap, which would be expensive? Likewise, I paint all my watering cans
Obviously, if the house taps are within and metal jugs with black paint – it’s
range it’s easy enough to half fill your amazing how much warmer their water
watering cans with hot water before is when they’ve been standing in the
Alamy

filling up with cold. However, I do sun a while. Fill them up again when
understand some partners do not like you’ve finished, and they’ll warm up Dust wood ashes amongst onions,
us traipsing in with muddy boots on the ready for the next time. garlic and shallots – it adds valuable
kitchen floor and ‘getting in the way’. Oh yes, and as to when to water, there potash, discourages, diseases and
Although warm is going to be best, really is only one answer and that is: also deters molluscs.
a bit warmer is going to be better ‘whenever your plants need it’.
16 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017

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Gardening Week
with Lucy Chamberlain, AG’s fruit and veg expert

TopTip Step p Pot fruit


Don’t use peat or peat by ste care
substitute composts to pot up
fruit trees. Use a loam (soil)
based John Innes No 3. It is
heavy so pots won’t blow over,
and it won’t rot down and
shrink like peat.

Never neglect watering. Pots can


1 quickly dry out, so water at least
once a week – more in dry weather.
Given the right attention fruit trees
If plants get drought-stressed at fruit
All TimeInc.

grown in pots will produce good crops


set you’re in for a poor harvest.

Care of fruit in pots


You can grow almost any fruit in a pot, says Lucy
AST month I was encouraging attention to get the best yields later. You

L you to pot up a selection of fruit


trees and bushes – they’re such a
handy way to grow a wide
selection of crops in a small space that
everyone should treat themselves to a
have to remember that these plants are
relying heavily on us for food and water
– much more than plants grown in the
open soil. Shortfalls in this department
will result in considerably reduced yields
few containerised plants. and poor quality fruit. To get over this
Well, now that they’re fully entering problem follow my step-by-step guide to
into growth, it pays to give them a little their care: Feeding is important. Potash is
2 an essential nutrient for fruiting
crops as it encourages flowering and
Stake broad beans to protect crop fruiting. Give high-potash liquid feeds
throughout the summer.
THESE delicious pearl-like beans are
I’m weaving hooped making good growth now that the
supports out of flexible weather is warming.
stems pruned from Regardless of whether you sowed in
shrubs autumn or spring, plants are definitely on
the move. It’s time then, to jump in and
support them so you’re not faced with a
tangled mess come June. I’m staking
these overwintered ‘Aquadulce Claudia’.
They can easily grow 5ft (1.5m) tall and
the brittle stems are not strong enough to
support themselves. Even compact
varieties such as ‘The Sutton’ and ‘Robin
Hood’ benefit from a few twiggy pea
sticks to hold them up. Re-pot root bound plants. Choose
My ‘Aquaduce Claudia’ require heavy-
duty stakes, so I’ve pruned a few whippy
3 a one size bigger pot and loam-
based John Innes No 3 compost. Opt
Attention now
will ensure a stems to weave into tall hoops around the for an ericaceous blend for acid-
good harvest edge. Bamboo canes and string work just loving crops.
as well if you haven’t got prunings.
18 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017
Next week: Lucy looks at slug and snail control, deals
with pests and diseases on gooseberries, sows leeks and
French beans, and plans for continual harvests of salads

Leaf lettuce grows


well in cool periods

In a couple of years these little Harvest long-


seedlings will yield delicious
spears of asparagus (inset) season lettuce
HAVE you come across the term

Grow asparagus from seed ‘loose-leaf’ lettuce? Essentially it


applies to varieties that don’t develop
a tight central heart, and they’re
YOU might recall me writing about this under £6 for my two packets – now that’s incredibly useful. Because there’s no
luxurious vegetable back in March, when what I call a bargain! heart, you can harvest leaves over an
I urged you to plant some of the fleshy Germination needs no fancy exceedingly long period of time.
roots or ‘crowns’. Well, for those of you on requirements – just set one seed per I planted these ‘Red Salad Bowl’ in
a budget who don’t want to miss out, I’ve module of well watered seed compost, the greenhouse border in February
got some good news: you can start them place in a propagator at 18-20°C, keep and am now picking every few days.
from F1 hybrid seeds. well watered and wait for emergence. You simply harvest the outer foliage
It’s incredibly easy, far cheaper than Once the roots fill the modules I’ll pot and leave the centre to carry on
crowns and there’s plenty of time to start these seedlings on, growing them growing, which it will do for weeks or
them off now. I sowed a modular tray of indoors until I plant them out in early even months if you’re lucky! Sowings
F1 ‘Ariane’ asparagus three weeks ago – June. You can take a very light harvest can be made all spring and summer.
just look at the results! Every one of the from them next year, then pick for eight Look out for varieties like ‘Navara’,
twenty seeds has germinated. If I’d weeks in 2019 and for ten weeks ‘Lollo Rossa’, ‘Catalogna’, ‘Mazur’,
bought these as crowns they would have thereafter. Sadly patience is a virtue I ‘Relic’ and ‘Black Seeded Simpson’.
cost me around £25 but instead I paid just don’t possess, so wish me luck!

Sow winter brassicas


SAVOY cabbages, Brussels sprouts, dries out quickly. I space mine 32-
winter caulis, curly kale and other 40in (80-100cm) apart each way.
winter brassicas should be sown now In smaller gardens closer spacing
to ensure good harvests. They need (50cm) gives smaller yet perfectly
time to bulk up before autumn when harvestable ‘mini’ heads of cabbage and
growth rates slow. cauliflower, and kale will merrily crop if
Sow seeds one per module of well crammed in, too. Only Brussels sprouts
watered seed compost, now. Pop them and purple sprouting might suffer.
in a propagator at 16-18°C and they’ll Many modern kale varieties are cut-
germinate within a week. Grow and-come-again crops – just chop down
seedlings on in a cool, bright spot the top growth and it sprouts again. If
under cover to plant out in June. clubroot is a problem on your soil don’t Winter brassicas need
Classic varieties need quite wide fret, grow resistant varieties such as a long growing season
spacings, especially on light soil which sprout ‘Crispus’ and cabbage ‘Kilaton’.

22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 19


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"    

Gardening Week
with AG’s gardening wildlife expert Graham Clarke
s
What’ April 22
On - April 29
■ 22-23 April: Spring Plant Fair:
RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Creephedge
Lane, Rettenden Common,
Chelmsford CM3 8ET; 0203 1765
The pygmy shrew is on a 830, rhs.org.uk/gardens/hyde-hall
permanent hunt for food ■ 20-23 April: Harrogate Spring
Flower Show, Regional Agricultural
Centre, Great Yorkshire Showground,
Harrogate SG2 8NZ. Tickets from £17.
01423 5461578 flowershow.org.uk
■ 22 April: Introduction to
Polytunnels: RHS Garden Rosemoor,
Torrington, Devon EX38 8PH;
0203 1765 830; rhs.org.uk/
gardens/rosemoor
■ 22 April: Springtime Bird Walk:
RHS Wisley, Wisley Lane, Woking,
Surrey GU23 6QB; 0203 1765 830,
Alamy/Alarmy/Getty

A common shrew tucks


into a woodlouse lunch
rhs.org.uk/gardens/wisely
■ 22 April: Starting from Scratch
(Propagation): RHS Garden Hyde

Garden friendly shrew Hall, Creephedge Lane, Chelmsford,


Essex CM3 8ET; 0203 1765 830,
rhs.org.uk/gardens/hyde-hall
The shrew is cute and a garden helper says Graham Clarke ■ 23 April: Bosworth House,
Arthingworth, Market Harborough,

I
F you think of garden creatures as of the two, it is just as frenetic in its Northants LE16 8LA. Three acre
being either ‘good’ or ‘bad’, then search for slugs, worms and spiders. garden open in aid of the NGS.
shrews are on the side of ‘good’. Both shrews have small ears, which Herbaceous borders, orchard, cottage
Hard-working animals, often are often not visible. They like lots of garden and little spinney. 2-6pm,
labouring for 24 hours a day, they grab undergrowth and leaf litter to give admission £4, children free. Mr and
little catnaps here and there. Most them cover and are highly territorial. Mrs Irving-Swift 01858 525202
importantly they serve gardeners well A common shrew can lay claim to an  ngs.org.uk
by consuming many pests, including area of some 5,400sq ft (500sq m), and
slugs, beetles and other invertebrates. will fight other shrews if they stray into ■ 23 April: Spring Plant Fair, Arley
There are two commonly seen its territory. The fights can be pretty Hall & Gardens, Northwich, Cheshire
shrews in the UK. The smaller of the vicious too; the shrill squeaks during CW9 6NA. 10am-4pm Adults £1.50
two is the pygmy shrew, which grows an affray can give away their presence, (£1 booked in advance) 01565
to about 2¼in (6cm) long, with a tail but only people with very good hearing 777353  arleyhallandgardens.com
of some 1¾in (4.5cm) long. It has can discern them. Talking of enhanced ■ 25 April: Flower Crowns,
grey-brown fur, a lighter belly and a senses, shrews rely on hearing and Buttonholes and
pointed snout. This tiny creature is on smell to locate their prey as they have Wrist Corsages:
a permanent hunt for food because it abysmal eyesight. RHS Garden
needs to eat more than its body weight The shrew breeding season is Harlow Carr, Crag
each day. Insects, woodlice and small starting now, and carries on until Lane, Harrogate,
spiders are its preferred diet. August or September, peaking in June North Yorks HG3
The common shrew is a touch larger and July. Females produce between 1QB; 0203 1765
– 3¼in (8.5cm) long, with a 2in (5.5cm) two and eight young per litter, and they 830,  rhs.
tail. Dark brown with an off-white can have up to five litters during their org.uk/gardens/
belly, it has a near-hairless tail and a breeding season. harlow-carr
similarly pointed snout, with curious Young common shrews, rather like
Q Please check that the event is still going ahead before leaving
red tips to its teeth. This shrew needs elephants, form a caravan behind the home. If you have an event that you would like us to consider
about three-quarters of its body weight mother, each carrying the tail of the please email details to: amateurgardening@timeinc.uk

a day, but as it is the slightly larger sibling in front with its mouth. Cute!
22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 21
Gardening Week
with Tamsin Westhorpe in her country garden
Take care when weeding amongst
plants like the ground covering
Cardamine quinquefolia

We have carpets of
chionodoxa at Stockton Bury
All TimeInc. unless credited

Caring for spring borders


Tamsin explains a damage limitation method for weeding
O you remember the couple of top of your borders in spring. Weeds are Hepaticas have

D warm days we had in March?


They were responsible for the
sudden arrival of so many spring
flowers in my garden. It seemed that
overnight the primroses, corydalis,
very active. Leave them be and you’ll have
an army of them showering your garden
with seed later in the year. My spring
weeding technique is to use a very small
hand rake and an old kitchen knife. I tiptoe
added colour to
a shady spot
under a conifer

forward into it. Stand on emerging


hepaticas and peach blossom appeared. into each bed, carefully rake out any peonies or trilliums and you can kiss
These plants have continued to decorate leaves and moss and remove perennial goodbye to this year’s flowers. The trick is
the garden into April along with a host of weeds like dandelions with the knife. Use not to be in a hurry – it’s far more
daffodils. The down side is that it’s so a less targeted technique and you’ll cause beneficial to work one small area well
tricky to weed and prune in a border with damage to the many emerging plants. than race through and risk entering the
tiny gems at your feet. Try not to move backwards as you work. flowerbed again and again.
However, it is vital that you do keep on Start at the front of the bed and move Happy weeding.

Cover magnolias Stay on weather watch


with fleece if a
frost is forecast HAVE we had the last frost of the year? mature, so find a helper if you can.
Let’s hope so. It is wise to remain glued to Garden fleece is reasonably priced
the weather reports in late April as so and can be bought off the roll at most
many of us have precious and tender garden centres. Keep a few metres in
plants in the garden that will suffer if hit the shed and hopefully you’ll never
by frost. need it!
If frost is forecast, move tender My uncle recently told me that a
potted plants to a sheltered spot. Larger May frost damaged the emerging
garden plants such as my mature flowers of the wisteria. Being such
Magnolia stellata are harder to protect. a mature plant there was nothing
All I can do is throw a large piece of he could do – fingers crossed Jack
garden fleece over the plant in the Frost is well away from our gardens
evening. This is tricky when plants are by then.

22 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017


This week: If you’re not very good at keeping garden
records put a pin board in the allotment shed and pin up the
seed packets of what you’ve sown this year.

Getty
Sowing hardy annuals
Forget about seed trays and propagators – sow direct now
IF you’re unsure about sowing seed
then choose hardy annuals. These can
be sown direct into the garden now Sprinkle your hardy
and there’s no need for greenhouses, annual seeds evenly
propagators and seed trays. It’s so easy over the soil surface
to do that it’s likely you’ll forget you’ve
sown them and you’ll have a wonderful
surprise later in the year.
In my April 8th column, I shared the
planting of my new herb bed. As the
herbs will be immature this year I have
plenty of space for some easy to grow
plants with edible flowers. First on my
list is calendula (pot marigold). The
petals of this vibrant orange annual
are a delicious peppery addition to
salads. I’ve chosen Calendula officinalis
‘Candyman Orange’ from Thompson
and Morgan. According to the seed
company it is the longest flowering,
double pot marigold they sell.
Use a garden rake to make
Calendulas enjoy full sun and almost a fine tilth before sowing
any garden soil, so they should be very
happy in my south-facing herb garden.
To sow, I simply raked over the to thin them out, but other than that it’s Cosmos bipinnatus, Helianthus annus
seed bed until it had a fine tilth, then job done. and nigella (love-in-a-mist). Treat
scattered the seeds and lightly raked If you’re not looking for edible yourself to a few packets and you can
over a little garden soil. Once the flowers then the list of hardy annuals create a summer garden for just a few
seedlings start to appear I might need to try is endless. My favourites include pounds and very little work.

Creating a hive of activity


I HAVE spotted far more bee activity
in the garden now that we have hives.
If you don’t have hives in your garden
there is no need to despair as bees
travel a long way to collect pollen – all
you need to do is grow plenty of single I wore a bee suit to
flowers to draw them in. take this image as
Earlier this month Seggin Bees there is certainly lots
( segginbees.co.uk) who own the of activity here!
bees, came to do their spring health
check and see how the bees had fared
over the winter. They chose a warm day
and there was lots of bee activity.
This check involves seeing if the
brood boxes are full of bees. If this is
the case they could look to split them
and start another hive. They also look
to see if there is pollen stored in the
hive – with the delights of our garden Beekeeper Louise lifts
there was plenty! Lastly, they are the brood boxes out of
looking to see if a queen is active. With the hive to inspect the
a clean bill of health, it looks like we number of bees
will have plenty of honey this year.
22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 23
Gardening Week
with Tamsin Westhorpe in her country garden
Make life easy
with mail order
SHORT on time? If so, I strongly
You can hire petrol recommend buying your plants via
lawn scarifiers but mail order. This way you can enjoy
Tamsin prefers to buying from specialist nurseries
get the experts’ in without having to run up the mileage
on your car. Last week I had great fun
unpacking a delivery from Crug Farm
Plants, which arrived first thing in the
morning after ordering at 3pm the
day before.
The trick with mail order plant
shopping is to be at home when it’s
expected to arrive and to be ready to
plant as soon as possible. Ask the
nursery for an expected delivery time
and date.
Moss and thatch is
raked up and put on I’m a great
the compost heap
All TimeInc

fan of mail
order plant
shopping

Scarifying your lawn


A MOSSY lawn is far from unusual. Don’t worry about how your lawn will
It can be caused by a wet year, poor look afterwards – it will soon recover.
drainage or too much shade cast over Given the size of lawn at Stockton
it. A thick layer of thatch (dead grass) Bury we hire in help and a petrol
or moss on a lawn will restrict the powered scarifier. In one morning, they
movement of water and air to the roots remove enough moss to fill an entire
of the grass, resulting in poor growth. tractor trailer load. An added benefit is
To remove it from small lawns you can that it makes an ideal addition to the
scarify with a spring tine rake now. compost heap.

Get ready for watering Nextk Martyn Cox


wee
IT’S well worth checking if you have all
Now’s the time
AG’s City Gardener
the attachments and hoses you need
ready before the weather warms up. to unravel Fence facelift
Follow my tips for easy watering those twisted Transform natural wooden fences
and knotted
this summer: into the perfect backdrop for plants
hose pipes
with a lick of paint
Q Unravel your hosepipes and make
sure they are long enough to reach Boost your
where you have chosen to place your bamboo
container displays. Bamboos
are greedy
Q Invest in automatic watering
plants that
systems now and work out how to
require lots of
install them.
feeding. Martyn
Q It’s not too late to install a water butt. shows how
Q Invest in a new watering can if the
Q Ensure you have suitable wands to old one has a hole in it – who wants
Pretty and productive
make hanging basket watering easy. water running down their leg!
Fuchsias are renowned for their
Q If you’ve moved house since last Q It might be worth getting an outside flowers, but Martyn is growing one
summer, do you have the right tap tap fitted to save slip hazards on the with edible berries.
Alamy

connector for your hose pipes? kitchen floor.


24 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017
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Gardening News Got a story? Call 01202 440848
or email marc.rosenberg@timeinc.com
The latest stories from around the UK
In demand: nice gardens can
increase the value of properties City gardens
across the UK
Town/city % of properties
on the market
with a garden
Liverpool. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .59.6
London . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .60.5
Manchester . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62.8
Glasgow . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .68.5
Bradford . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .71.0
Leeds . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .75.0
Birmingham. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .76.7
Sheffield . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .77.5
Edinburgh. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .78.5
Bristol . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .79.6
Alamy

Gardens can boost The study comes a week after separate


research found that an average of two in
five properties on the market in London
have no green space.

house prices by £82k Big surprise


The worst London boroughs are Tower
Green space boosts house values around the country Hamlets, Westminster and Hackney,
with fewer than 40 per cent of

B
RITS are so desperate to have an additional £49,600. But the Welsh properties having a garden. Buyers have
a garden that house-buyers were least concerned about having a to go out to Bexley and Bromley to find
would pay an extra £35,000 on garden, stating they were willing to part more homes with gardens.
top of a property price just to with just an extra £13,200, possibly due Housesimple.com’s research may not
own a little bit of England. to having valleys on their doorsteps. come as a big surprise to those familiar
A survey of 2,000 adults nationwide with London, but new that only half
found that properties with gardens Grow-your-own of properties for sale in Gateshead,
or outdoor space can command a big The research, by Colourfence, found Salford and Bootle (all in the North) have
premium. Londoners hankered the most that grow-your-own remains a driver gardens will dismay buyers.
for greenery. They’re prepared to fork- in demand for properties with gardens, But it’s not all bad news. More than
out an average of £82,700 on top of a with one in 10 Brits growing food. 90 per cent of properties for sale in
property value if it had a garden. Those in the East Midlands and Grimsby and Hastings have a garden
Those living in the south east would Yorkshire and Humber are most likely to while Bristol, at nearly 80 per cent, is
mortgage themselves up to the tune of have a vegetable plot. the city for homes with green space.

Chris Evans to broadcast live from RHS Chelsea show


THE Royal Horticultural Society is to Asked if the RHS had secured
plug the gaps at Chelsea Flower Show sponsorship for the gardens, an RHS
by teaming up with BBC Radio 2 to spokeswoman said: “The industry is
stage ‘Feel Good Gardens’. pulling together by donating
Just nine Main Avenue plants and materials
show gardens are set to and working with the
be staged at Chelsea RHS to help us deliver
(23-27 May) compared to these gardens.”
17 in 2006. The Feel Good Gardens
The five ‘Feel Good Gardens’ will sit will comprise the Chris Evans
on Royal Hospital Way. They’ll Taste Garden, the Jo Whiley Scent Garden,
celebrate Radio 2’s 50th anniversary the Anneka Rice Colour Cutting Garden,
Heading for Chelsea: and will be named after presenters. On the Jeremy Vine Texture Garden and the
BBC’s Chris Evans 22 May, Chris Evans will present his Zoe Ball Listening Garden. Mary Berry
Alamy

Radio 2 breakfast show from Chelsea. will help Chris Evans with his garden.
26 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017
Q Great British Bee Count Q Lawn-mowing survey
Gardeners are being urged to create Mower maker Cub Cadet wants gardeners
bee-friendly gardens for the Great to take part in a survey of when they mow.
 cubcadet.co.uk for details.
both Alamy

British Bee Count (19 May to 30 June).

Beechgrove plans a budget veg bonanza A BLOOMIN’


HELPING families to grow
veg on a budget will be a
GOOD WEEK
highlight of top TV gardening
show The Beechgrove
Garden this season.
Scotland’s national
gardening show has a

Alamy
growing audience south
of the border now that it’s Health awareness
repeated nation-wide on Alan Titchmarsh, Toby
BBC2 on Sunday mornings. Buckland and Joe Swift are
Low cost veg gardening supporting Watch Your
Back, a campaign that raises
will be high on the agenda awareness of melanoma.
for 2017. A spokeswoman
said: “One of the things we
have been asked for again
and again is more ‘gardening
Top team: Beechgrove has
on a budget’ tips.

BBC/Tern TV
a growing national fan base
“Presenter Carole Baxter
is the queen of getting
something for nothing, According to Beechgrove, will celebrate its 40th

NP
recycling, saving seeds and the National Allotment anniversary in 2018. Bursary winner
growing plants for free.” Society found that gardeners Plans for 2017 include Horticulture student Gabor
spend an average of £200 a trial of the best trees Lukoviczki has won the
£1,000 Peter Seabrook
Saving money growing fruit and veg every for small gardens while Bursary. He hopes to become
She added: “Last year, year, that would sell for presenter Chris Beardshaw a professional grower.
Carole showed a family £1,500 in shops. It’s claimed will create a “proper old
in Aberdeenshire how to that grow-your-own can Scottish” rose garden.
garden on a budget. This help a family of four to save Presenters will focus on
year, Carole takes that a up to £1,300 per year. the big problem of box blight,
step further and delves into Beechgrove, which passed looking at alternative low
budget grow-your-own.” its 1,000th episode in 2016, hedging plants.

Gardens benefit as Brits holiday at home Alamy


Daffodil pickers
PUBLIC gardens across the UK celebrated visitor attractions benefitting from a 7.2 per A father who let his daughters
bumper rises in visitor numbers last year, cent average annual rise in visitors. pick daffodils from a roadside
according to the Association of Leading Some of the biggest winners included Kew verge for their mother had
the blooms confiscated by
Visitor Attractions (ALVA). Gardens in London, which saw numbers soar police officers.
Brits flocked to big name gardens and by 18.6 per cent to 1,828,956. And Inverewe
country estates to seek inspiration – with Gardens in Scotland benefitted from a 62.2
per cent rise, taking numbers to 91,576.

Tough economic times


UK tourist attractions often perform better
during tough economic times, when families
Alamy

take ‘staycations’ (holidaying at home).


Cornwall’s Eden Project saw visitor Cabbage haters
numbers burst through the one million mark Cabbage, once a staple of
(1,000,363) with a four per cent rise, while hated of school dinners, is the
new cool, says a report. It’s
a two per cent jump in attendance at RHS increasingly being served-up
Garden Wisley in Surrey took numbers to in trendy restaurants.
1,110,050 during 2016.
It was good news at the National Trust’s
Bodnant Garden in Wales (up by eight per
A BLOOMIN’
Garden inspiration: visitor numbers were cent to 242,506) and Audley End House and BAD WEEK
up at Audley End House and Gardens Gardens in Essex (up by a healthy 10.1 per
TimeInc.

cent to 165,799).
22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 27
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Enjoy a garden filled


PLEASE USE BLOCK CAPITALS
with fragrance and Signature
colour this summer with
(Mrs/Miss/Ms/Mr/Title)
this Perfumed Pinks
Address
Collection. Mounds of
silver-green foliage
produce an abundance Postcode
of perfumed flowers Telephone Date of birth
that are also perfect Amateur Gardening is published by Time Inc. (UK). Your personal information is collected by Time Inc. (UK) in order to
for cutting for a vase process your order.
Q Please tick here if you would prefer not to be contacted by Amateur Gardening or Time Inc. (UK) by post or telephone for the purpose of research or
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22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 29
Beginner’s Guide to...
Growing Fuchsias
Whether you want to grow tender types in pots or larger, hardier varieties in the border,
there's a fuchsia to suit everybody's taste. Graham Rice tells you all you need to know
HE first fuchsia was discovered

T in what is now the Dominican


Republic at the end of
the seventeenth century.
Unfortunately, those earliest specimens
were lost in a shipwreck in 1695 and
When buying fuchsias for hanging
baskets, look for trailing types

it took another hundred years for live


plants of Fuchsia magellanica to reach
London. A Hammersmith nurseryman
was soon selling them for twenty
guineas each – well over £2200 in
today’s money.
Fuchsias grow wild from Mexico to
south Chile and Peru, a few are also
found in New Zealand. Most feature
distinctive flowers in which the bud
splits into four long slender sepals
surrounding four short broad petals
from which the reproductive parts
protrude. Flowers are often coloured
red and purple, colours that appeal to
the hummingbirds that pollinate the
flowers in their indigenous countries.
Their long and prolific summer
flowering season, and their ease of
cultivation and propagation from
cuttings, has ensured their popularity.
There are upright, bushy and trailing
types and, while some are reliably
hardy in much of the country, most
need frost protection in winter. As well
as varieties with single flowers, there
are many double flowered forms with
a mass of petals as well as some whose
flowers face upward, and some striking
varieties with variegated foliage. Q
Pictures: GAP/Alamy/Garden Photo Library

Tender fuchsias mix well with


Flamboyant fuchsia ‘Blacky’ in a other bedding plants such as
showy urn creates a focal point lobelia and bidens

30 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017


6 tender varieties to grow in pots
Planted now, these will last all summer until the first frosts – then move them undercover

‘Golden Marinka’ ‘Harry Gray’ Swingtime’


Naturally cascading and ideal as This prolific, double flowered and well- A classic basket variety, with good
a specimen in a basket, the whole branched trailer has green tipped white vigour and tolerance of less-than-
flower is bright red, the petals slightly sepals and fluffy white petals veined perfect-care. The bright red sepals
darker, and makes a lively contrast in pink towards the base changing to flutter above a skirt of rippled white
with the narrowly yellow edged palest pink as the flowers mature. The petals that are prettily veined in
foliage. Also very pretty with trailing short growth between leaves gives red. The variegated version, ‘Golden
blue lobelia. masses of flowers. Swingtime’, has golden-edged foliage.

‘Thalia’ ‘WALZ Jubelteen’ ‘Winston Churchill’


A bold and upright variety with rich, Very distinctive, producing a long and An upright double, good as a container
bronzed green leaves held in threes. prolific succession of upward and centrepiece, the confection of double
Clusters of distinctive, long and slender outward facing flowers that you can ruffled, pink-veined, purplish blue
flowers in vivid orange open towards the look right into. Pale rose, sometimes petals is topped by green tipped pink
tips of the branches. Ideal as a container green tipped, sepals flare above neat sepals which stand up smartly. The
focal point. ‘Firecracker’ (aka ‘John magenta pink petals. The flowers are flowers are not large, but come in
Ridding’) is a variegated version. not large but there are masses of them. huge numbers.

lantin
YOU can buy fuchsia plants in three When potting up, tap pots to settle
basic formats. compost, do not firm, and feed with
tips ■ Small: Plug plants, or cuttings half strength Chempak Fuchsia Food
rooted in compost blocks. Move into or Phostrogen at every watering.
3½in (9cm) pots, grow on frost-free.
Large plugs can be planted direct into Plant up baskets and other outdoor
containers. containers from early May, keep
■ Medium: Young plants in pots – them frost-free and move them
grow frost-free, then move into larger outside after the last frost in your
Plant four in a 16in (40cm) basket, pots as necessary. area. A multipurpose compost that
three at the edge, one in the centre ■ Large: Plants in flower – grow frost- includes added John Innes compost
free, move outside after the frosts. is ideal.

22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 31


6 hardy varieties
Although labelled hardy, these may still be nipped by frost, but they will bounce back.

‘Alice Hoffman’ ‘Dollar Princess’ ‘Genii’


A small and cheerful variety with rosy A small flowered, but very prolific Its rich yellow foliage from spring
red sepals and a semi-double skirt double-flowered variety with cerise to autumn makes its cherry red and
of white petals. Makes an upright to sepals and a mass of rich purple petals. deep purple flowers pop out. Good in
rounded plant which looks well on Over a hundred years old and still the a mixed border, the sun enhances the
a rock garden to take over when the most popular double-flowered hardy foliage colouring. A little less hardy so it
alpines have faded. 2ft (60cm). variety. 17in (45cm). appreciates good drainage. 31in (80cm).

‘Lady Boothby’ ‘Sharpitor’ ‘Versicolor’


Sometimes described as a climber, this Twiggy, bushy plants produce small, Huge numbers of slender flowers open
vigorous, tall and upright variety is dainty flowers amongst neat, cream- for many months amongst greyish
happy to be tied to a trellis. Has deep edged pale green leaves. Pale pink green foliage. An eye-catching variety
red sepals and petals in rich dark violet. sepals fade to white and feature green that blends well with other perennials.
Originally introduced eighty years ago, tips, while the tightly rolled petals are Vigorous and one of the very hardiest.
and recently popular. 6ft (2m) the same shade of pink. 3ft (90cm). 4ft (1.2m).

Planting ideas
for hardy
fuchsias
■ SOFTLY variegated ‘Versicolor’
fuchsia with mature clumps of
agapanthus and peachy hemerocallis
create a weed-smothering display that
lasts for months (pictured far right).
■ PLANTS grown as long-term
specimens in pots are better in John
Innes Number 3 compost. Hardier
fuchsias will be less hardy when grown Hardy fuchsias are less hardy Don’t cut border fuchsias
in a container– move pot undercover when grown in pots back till springtime
over the winter months.
32 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017
Beginner’s Guide to...
Growing Fuchsias

How to take
fuchsia cuttings

TENDER fuchsias are short-lived


so take cuttings from them every
couple of years, in spring and
through summer. Take cuttings
from strong new growth.

Fuchsias do not like drying


out, so keep on top of watering

Dealing with potential problems


■ GALL MITE – a new but damaging snip off any remaining leaves, and keep
and increasingly widespread pest that moist at about 3-5°C (37-41°F). SNIP off the lowest leaves and
seriously distorts the foliage and flower snip through the stem just below
■ RUST –fuzzy yellow spots appear on the
buds, often with yellow or red colouring. the leaf joint. Each cutting should
upper surface with rusty pustules below.
Snip off and burn infected shoots; there is be about 3in (8cm) long, with two
Leaves eventually drop off. Nip off leaves,
no chemical control. pairs of leaves and a growing tip.
spray with Scotts Fungus Clear Ultra
■ HOLIDAYS – fuchsias like constant although this may damage some varieties.
moisture so when you go away, even for a Eliminate the weed willow herb from the
long weekend, ask a friend to water your garden as this carries the disease.
fuchsias regularly.
■ WHITE FLY – tiny, sap-sucking white
■ OVERWINTERING – keeping plants insects gather under leaves of indoor
through the winter can be challenging for plants and fly up in clouds when disturbed.
those without a frost-free greenhouse or Use biological control, or organic (e.g.
conservatory. The simplest approach is Defenders Bug Killer) or inorganic (e.g.
cut back to a short framework of shoots, Westland Resolva Bug Killer) sprays.
PUT three cuttings in a 3in (7.5cm)
Suppliers pot of multipurpose compost with
Lockyer Fuchsias: ✆01454 772219, lockyerfuchsias.co.uk the lowest leaves on the compost.
Other Fellow Fuchsias: ✆01594 844452, otherfellow.co.uk Water and cover with a clear plastic
Potash Nursery: ✆01449 781671,  potashnursery.co.uk dome or polythene bag. Keep at
Brookside Nursery: ✆01543 481860,  brooksidenursery.co.uk about 18°C (64°F).

5 tips for a fantastic show of fuchsias this summer


Feed regularly Water regularly Deadhead Pay attention Try a standard
1 Use a liquid feed such
as Chempak Fuchsia
2 Fuchsias hate
to dry out and may
3 Nip the flowers off
container-grown plants
4 to P&D
Be alert to early
5 When visiting a
flower show, look
Food, Vitax Tub & need watering every as they deteriorate. signs of gall mite and out for standard
Hanging Basket feed, or day in the height Some will drop off rust, in particular, fuchsias which are
any liquid tomato feed. of summer. Be (and need tidying up) as both can take not usually available
Apply at half strength sure to give them a but some will make hold quickly and mail order. They’re
at every watering. thorough soak. energy-sapping berries. ruin the display. impressive!

22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 33


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Ask Christine!
Christine Walkden’s Masterclass on pond maintenance

Which pond plants


should I grow?

Alamy
Marginals: try Iris laevigata (above).
One of the best aquatics, producing
large, clear violet-blue flowers in
June on plants that grow to 24-35in
Introducing the correct balance of (60-90cm). Also consider Caltha
aquatic plants will keep ponds healthy polypetala, the largest-growing
TimeInc

marsh marigold. It bears big single


flowers up to 16in (40cm) tall in May.
Why does my pond go green?
I have a small pond containing
Q goldfish but every year the water
goes green - why? Can I introduce
salts while floating plants and water
lilies cut off light at the surface. When
you have the right number of plants,
plants to keep the water clear? algae dies and the water clears.
Gordon White, Aylesbury Oxygenators are vital for pool clarity
but they are also food for fish. When
The correct number of oxygenating you introduce them, protect with a
A plants, marginal plants, deep small piece of netting to keep fish away

Alamy
marginals, floating and waterlilies to until the plants are established.
introduce is dependent on your pond’s Spring maintenance helps to keep For the shallows: Aponogeton
surface area. Visit an aquatics specialist ponds clear. Check the pH is between distachyos (water hawthorn, above)
to establish the correct number. 6.5-8.5. Kits are available from water has snow-white fragrant flowers
Green water is caused by algae – gardening specialists who will advise with black anthers, standing 1in
microscopic plants swarming in the on appropriate treatments, if required. (3cm) above the water from early-
water. Other kinds of algae produce Find a new home for surplus frog or spring to late-autumn. Orontium
blanket weed. Algae thrive in sunlight toad spawn. If you have a pump or filter aquaticum produces blue-green
and dissolved mineral salts. To create a in the pond, now is the time to increase foliage and spikes of tight-packed
balanced ecology, introducing the right the rate of flow. Remove any winter yellow flowers on white stems.
number of plants is critical. Don’t allow netting put in place to capture leaves.
contaminants such as fertilisers, grass Protecting fish from cats and birds
clippings and leaves to build up. can be done by fitting grids which sit
Oxygenating plants absorb mineral under the surface of the water.

Christine’s tips
When removing
pond weed and
blanket weed,
Alamy

always leave the


TimeInc

debris on the side


Floating plants: Stratiotes aloides
of the pond for 24
hours. This gives Always build a pond away from trees looks like the top of a pineapple
insects and other and shrubs such as willow, horse with spiny rosettes of green leaves.
wildlife time to chestnut, laburnum, rhododendron, It has small white flowers. This
crawl out and cherries and plums as these can act floating plant sinks to the bottom of
Alamy

return to the pond. as hosts for water lily aphids. ponds in winter.

22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 35


Ask Christine!
With her team of experts John Negus, Anna Toeman, Dr Jane Bingham

Goji plants are easy to grow

Goji goodness
I recently bought a goji berry bush.
Keep container trees well watered Q
S. Langley

How can I store the fruits?


Miriam Watson, Leeds

How do I care for my potted tree? A Goji bushes (Lycium barbatum)


develop arching shoots, which are
What is this small tree, and how should I care for it? It is in a 15in normally thick with small, red fruits.
Q (38cm) container.
Sarah Langley (via email)
Preserve the berries by drying them
indoors in an oven heated to 90-95°F/32-
35°C. Check them regularly to make sure
I’m pretty certain it is a pear tree,
A and it looks very healthy.
When growing trees in containers,
years. If you do decide to pot it up use
John Innes No 3 compost. This is also
the compost to use to top dress the pot
they have not burned. When processed,
the fruits have a raisin-like texture.
keep them well watered, and feed each spring.
them. Lightly fork some general- Pruning can probably be kept to a
purpose fertiliser into the compost in minimum, but you may need to trim it
spring, or liquid feed monthly. in late summer, to encourage the tree
The tree should be fine in its pot, to put its energies into ripening any
and won’t need a larger one for a few fruits that are developing.

What can I do to help my lawn?


This area of my lawn isn’t
Q regularly used, and is partially
in the shade. How can I encourage
Aerate and feed sparse
areas of lawn Thuggish cuckoo pint
better growth?
Rhys Long (via email)

Start by spiking the area with


Unwanted lord!
A a garden fork. Push it into the
soil at least 3-4in (7-10cm) deep Q This came from a flower pot with
another plant – what is it?
every 6in (15cm), then top-dress Celia Nigel (via email)
with topsoil or loam. Brush it into
R. Long

the aeration holes to improve rooting It is cuckoo pint or lords and ladies
conditions below the surface.
Over-seed the area with a grass set the mower as high as you can and
A (Arum maculatum). A thuggish
weed, its monk’s cowl spathe in which
mix suitable for shady conditions, don’t cut too often. In the autumn, flowers appear, is followed by a spike
which will give the best chance of feed the lawn and continue to fertilise of bright orange berries.
a good quality lawn. Once the seed it in spring and autumn for the best Dig it out (if any root is left it will
has germinated and is ready to mow, results. Reduce shade if possible. produce another plant), or smear leaves
with Roundup Weedkiller Gel.

AG Expert hotline Freephone


WRITE TO US:
Ask Christine,
Amateur Gardening magazine,
EMAIL US:
amateurgardening@timeinc.com
EXPERTS HELPLINE:

0800 915 9891 Westover House, West Quay Freephone


Call weekdays
from 12-1pm Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 1JG 0800 915 9891 (12 to 1pm weekdays)

36 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017


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7sweet peas ways to grow

Hazel Sillver looks at how to get the best out of these gorgeous scented climbers
NE of the simple joys of

O gardening is snipping a
bunch of sweet peas on a
summer’s evening. These
colourful annuals are cut-and-come-
again plants, which means they thrive
1 As a column
Columns are not as
decorative as hazel
wigwams, but the growth on
them is usually more even. With
on being cut for the vase. Even just
wigwams, sweet pea growth
a small bunch with fill a room with
can be too gathered at the top.
delicious scent, and it doesn’t matter
Plant tall stakes, bamboo canes,
that the flowers only last a few days
or long hazel sticks (about
because the plants outside will have
4ft/1.2m high) into the ground in
produced more when your vaseful
a 2ft/60cm wide circle. Weave
is spent.
your canes through pig or
chicken wire. These columns
Sow or plant now
can be planted in sunny
There’s still time to get them in the
borders, but ensure they have
ground. In fact - according to expert
space around them to prevent
Roger Parsons, who holds the National
powdery mildew.
GAP

Collection of sweet peas in West Sussex


- they can be sown as late as early June.
Of course the later they are sown, the
later they will flower, so get them in
the ground as soon as possible for a
summer show. Ideally, sow them direct
within the next two weeks, and they will
bloom from mid to late summer.
2 Up trellis
Sweet peas can be sent
blooming up trellis, so long as
the trellis openings are large enough
If you would like flowers sooner, to ensure good airflow and lots of
there is the pricier option of purchasing light. Your trellis must also be facing
ready-sown plants from garden centres south or west so the plants receive
and, likewise, these should go into the their desired sunbake. For impact
Alamy

ground as soon as possible. choose one variety or one colour.

Sweet pea TLC


Sweet peas like a sunny position and a
rich, fertile, well-drained soil, so dig in
lots of organic matter, such as manure.
If soil is poor, a fortnightly feed with
a potassium-rich fertiliser, such as
3 In a hanging basket
Sweet peas trailing from a
hanging basket are glorious.
Make sure you select one of the
tomato food, is recommended. dwarf Cupid varieties, otherwise
When the plants are 4in the plants will grow too big. Bright
(10cm) high, pinch out colours usually look best in
the tips to encourage
Marianne Majerus

hanging baskets – for


side shoots. The instance, opt for ‘Cocktail
plants require Cupid’ (maroon and
supports to purple) or ‘Carmine
climb up, and
as they grow,
tie them to
the support.
Rose Cupid’ (pink).
Plant them alone or
pair with trailing
geraniums and
4 In a row
Edge veg beds with sweet
peas for a pretty potager
look. Either grow dwarf varieties
With happy foliage plants, such and use twiggy pea sticks to
plants, your as Dichondra argentea support them, or install picket
house will be full of ‘Silver Falls’; and hang fencing for taller varieties to
scented sweet peas in full sun. clamber up and over.
all summer long! Q
GAP

38 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017


7 Up a wigwam
The classic method of
growing sweet peas is a
great way to beautify the veg
patch or flower borders. Create
tee-pees of hazel sticks in an
open, sunny position, and if

TopTip your aim is to liven things up,


opt for fiery shades, such as
‘Prince Edward of York’ (pink)
Don’t stop picking! and ‘King Edward VII’ (red) for
To ensure a glut of bold cheer. You could also
deliciously scented underplant with miniature
blooms all summer long, squashes for an autumn show
cut flowers from your once the sweet peas are over.
sweet pea plants
every few days.
GAP

5 Over an arch or tunnel


One of the best ways to grow sweet
peas is up and over an arch or a tunnel
because the scent of the flowers will be
contained. Ensure you choose a sunny spot to
create it, as well as the right material: long
hazel sticks are best because they will bend
into an arch at the top. Opt for headily
scented varieties such as ‘Romeo’ (lilac and
white) or ‘Matucana’ (maroon and purple).

ting
Sowing & plan
GAP

If direct sowing,

6 In a container
Enjoy sweet peas on the patio or roof
terrace by growing short varieties in a
container. Sow or plant dwarf types (such as
there is no need
to soak the seeds.
Each seed or plant
should be two to
three inches (5-7cm)
‘Pink Cupid’) without support if you want them
to trail. Alternatively insert a ring of canes from its support, and
topped with a cane gripper ring into a large pot, almost a foot (20-
if you want an upright display of semi-dwarf 30cm) from the next
varieties (such as ‘Aries’ or ‘Westminster’). Make seed or plant. Don’t
sure plants are not over-crowded. forget slug control.
GAP
GAP
Tried&tested
We try before you buy

Long-handled lawn shears


Taming unruly grass should be easy
with the right shears. Consumer
editor Julia Heaton looks at six pairs

W
HERE the mower can’t reach you’ll need
to cut long grass and overgrowth with a
pair of shears. But bending or kneeling to
use a standard pair of hedge clippers can
ultimately be hard work on your back or your knees.
Long-handled lawn shears are the answer – the
longer handles allow you to stand upright, and the
cutting blades are at an angle so you can make a flat
cut. They’re also great for clipping right up to the edges
of walls or raised beds, and on small jobs can save the
bother of getting the powered strimmer out.
As with all garden tools, cleaning afterwards and
a light oiling will prolong their life and improve the

Peckham
overall performance.

Fiskars Long Handled Kent & Stowe Fixed Kew Razorsharp


Lawn Shears Handle Grass Shears Lawn Shears
£29.99 £19.99 £50.99 SSP
0345 077 8888 02887 721009 0114 281 4242
 homebase.co.uk  kentandstowe.com  spear-and-jackson com
Features Features Features
  
Heat treated Precision- Carbon steel
9in (23cm) ground 71⁄2in 8in (20cm)
carbon steel (19cm) steel blades, the
blades attached blades with upper one
to 36in (92cm) fixed 331⁄2in PTFE coated
oval tube steel (85cm) oval for smoother
handles with steel tube cutting action.
SoftGrip rubber handles, Lightweight
grips. Weight:
4lbs (1.9kg). 10-
13 comfort
moulded, with
1 oval aluminium
handles with
1
year guarantee. rubberised grip. non-slip rubber
Weight: 3lb 3oz grips. 361⁄2in
Performance  (1.5kg). Five year guarantee. (93cm) long. Weight: 2lb 8oz (1.3kg).
10-year guarantee.
Very definitely at the heavy end of
the shears tested – which could make Performance 
you tire more easily – but this was Moulded handles were comfortable to Performance 
compensated for in part by the steep hold and being fairly light in weight As the lightest of the shears tested
angle between blades and handles, could be used without tiring too quickly. this pair could be used for extended
which made them comfortable to use The sharp blades cut reassuringly, but periods without getting tired. The long
in a proper upright position. Blades the blade pivot was slightly loose to handles allowed for a proper upright
were the longest and among the start with – a quarter turn of the bolt posture – though may be too long for
sharpest, operating with a solid feel. and locknut with a pair of spanners did shorter gardeners. Sharp blades have a
the trick. reassuring ‘click’ in use.
Value 
A reasonable middle-of-the-range Value  Value 
price for a well-made set of shears, if a A no-nonsense pair of shears that do Expensive, but well made from
little on the heavy side. the job for not a lot of money. lightweight materials.

40 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017


{
{
Next week: Looking forward to
juicy summer fruits we try a
selection of strawberry planters
Amateur

Faithfull Telescopic Samurai


Lawn Shears £46.73 RRP Bestbuy Stay cosy Frosts may yet return to the spring
01322 321415
 faithfulltools.com for stockists 15 garden – so protect precious plants

Features 
Carbon steel non-stick coated 71⁄2in (19cm) blades and
aluminium click-stop telescopic handles, adjustable
to eight positions from 211⁄2in (55cm) to 35in (89cm).
Sliding outer handles have soft-feel rubber grips.
Weight: 3lb 3oz (1.5kg). Five-year guarantee.

Performance  Pop-Up Net Cloche


Great range of handle lengths. The blades worked
positively. Steeper than average angle between blades
£8.95 + £4.95 p&p
0333 777 3936
and handles allowed for close-up work and the overall
light weight made for better precision and less effort.  mr-fothergills.co.uk
Protect young plants against light frost
Value  and insect and bird attack. A useful 39in
(100cm) long by 16in (40cm) tall and wide,
Ideal if people of varying heights likely to use them.
this cloche has a powder-coated steel
frame and is covered in a woven net mesh.

Razorsharp Telescopic Bulldog Lawn Shear Gutter Mate Rhubarb


Lawn Shears (Long Handle) Forcer £69.99 free delivery
£38.49 SSP £38.12 01462 429765
 guttermate.co.uk
0114 281 4242 08715 088773 Traditional-looking but
 spear-and-jackson com  bulldoghandtools co uk made of UV-stabilised
Features Features plastic making it light in
weight and so much easier
  to move around, it’s pretty
well indestructible and a
Polished and British-made
fraction of the price of a
lacquered 71⁄2in 81⁄4in (27cm) clay pot of this size. Height
(19cm) hollow long carbon is 32in (81cm) including
ground carbon steel blades the lid and the bottom diameter is 221⁄4in
steel blades for with easy (56.5cm).
sharpness and thumbwheel
rust resistance. adjustment
Telescopic to tighten or
twist-and-lock
tubular steel
1 loosen the
blades. Fixed
1
handles with 351⁄2in (90cm)
rubberised oval tubular
plastic grips extend from 251⁄2in (65cm) aluminium handles with rubberised
to 441⁄2in (113cm). Weight: 4lb 1.9kg. 10- plastic grips. Weight: 3lbs 5oz (1.6kg).
year guarantee 12-month guarantee.
All prices correct at time of going to press and may vary at garden centres

Performance  Performance  Apollo Frost Fleece


Offers an unbeatable range of handle Fairly light to use and well balanced Grow Tunnel
lengths, but the steel tubes are weighty.
The mechanism unlocked fairly easily
with a steep angle between blades and
handles, so you can work close to the
£7.99 free click & collect
if you happen to inadvertently twist the body without having to extend your 03330 112112
grips in use, but the blades are sharp arms. Blades are particularly sharp, and  screwfix.com for store finder
and easy to clean and maintain. the thumbwheel adjustment useful. Features seven support arches and fixing
pins. Ideal for frost protection, and also to
Value  Value  ward off carrot fly, birds and other flying
pests. Measures 39in (100cm) long by
Great price if you’re tall. You’ll have a job For the taller gardener, a good all- 193⁄4in (50cm) tall and wide.
to find shears with longer handles. rounder for a fair price.

22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 41


Our early-flowering, self-fertile Japanese plum ‘Lizzie’ struggles to
set fruit in the face of frost and wind. To help pollination, I tickle
TopTip
flowers with a feather duster during mild spells. Almost next door, Avoid pot-bellied containers
later flowering, reliable plum ‘Marjorie’s Seedling’ always crops
for potted trees, as roots are
well and is a better choice for the site
almost impossible to remove
when re-potting. Wooden
half barrels are good at
staying put in wind
and gales.

How to grow...

fruit trees
Even the smallest garden can have a mini-orchard, says Anne Swithinbank

H
AVE you ever thought of You don’t need acres of garden for You can push these rules a bit. We
turning your garden into an fruit, as trees are easy to train into have a mini orchard of apples,
orchard? Apples, pears, plums shapes to cloth walls and fences, pears and plums on a gentle,
and apricots provide structure, as well as arches. rather windy, slightly
spring blossom and delicious fruits. ‘Stepover’ apples are frost-prone north
They attract plenty of wildlife and a great for edging beds. facing slope.
garden planted with apples or damsons Tiny gardens and yards They look great and
takes on a settled, established character. can have their orchard crop well as a group
Imagine crunching through delicious, too, but in miniature, but are bettered by
home-grown apple ‘Discovery’ (circled) with trees growing cordons (apples or
in August, or storing keepers like in containers. pears trained to fruit
eater ‘Ashmead’s Kernel’ and cooker Bear in mind that along straight stems
‘Annie Elizabeth’. most fruit trees need kept neat by summer
Technically, you can plant fruit trees well-drained soil, sun and pruning) growing in a
from pots at any time of year as long as good air movement to prevent sunnier, warmer uphill
Alamy
they are watered well, but I would plan, diseases. Wind tunnels are best part of the plot.
clear and condition soil now ready for an avoided, not least because they deter Where weather conditions veer
autumn planting from pots, or nursery- pollinating insects, while frosty hollows from the norm, choosing locally-bred
dug trees just as they lose their leaves. can see blossom destroyed. varieties makes sense.
42 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017
Amateur

How to grow Reader offer


fruit trees Save

in pots £45
Q Avoid potting tiny plants
into massive containers
where their roots will be
drowned by too much
empty, wet compost. Move
them on to a slightly larger
container every year in
late-autumn or in wetter
Mini Apple Mini Apple Mini Pear ‘Doyenne Mini Plum Mini Cherry
climates, late-winter. ‘Golden Delicious” ‘Gala’ Du Comice’ ‘Black Amber’ ‘Sylvia’

Create a mini orchard


Q A mix of 2 parts John
those
Innes No 2 or 3, 2 parts
setting and
soilless compost and 1 part
swelling Imagine being able to pick fresh fruit from your own
potting grit makes a good
fruit. Stop garden! These miniature fruit trees are specially-bred
compost for fruit trees
feeding by August. dwarf varieties which produce fruit on stems reach-
(pictured and circled).
ing just 3ft (1m) tall – perfect for patios. Supplied in 4in
Q Should a tree in its final
Q Water regularly and apply (9cm) pots. Grown to a height of 12-16in (30-40cm).
container lose vigour, turn
a slow-release fertiliser
for fruit to the surface in
it out in autumn or late ■ Buy 1 of any variety for £14.99
winter. Lean it over and
spring, followed by a top ■ Buy 5 (1 of each) for £29.95 (RRP £74.95) – Save £45
cut around the edge of
dressing of compost.
the rootball. Prune away
Q After six weeks, use a the outer 2.5in (6cm) from To order, call direct on 0844 573 2021 quoting AG778Z
general purpose liquid around the roots, remove (lines open 9am-8pm weekdays, 9am-6pm weekends), OR
fertiliser every three weeks some compost and re-pot, order online today  thompson-morgan.com/AG778Z
OR complete the coupon below in BLOCK CAPITALS.
All TimeInc unless credited

on developing trees and prodding new compost


All orders will be acknowledged by letter or email, advising you of the expected despatch date. This offer is
a high potash fertiliser on gently around the roots. subject to availability. Offer enquiry line 0844 573 2021. Order lines are open seven days a week, 9am to 8pm
(Mon Fri) 9am to 6pm (Weekends). All correspondence concerning this offer should be sent to: Amateur
Gardening Patio Fruit Trees offer, Dept AG778Z, PO Box 162, Ipswich, IP8 3BX. Please note your contract for
supply of goods is with Thompson & Morgan. (Terms and conditions available on request). Closing date: 31st May
2017. Fruit Trees despatched from May 2017.

Anne’s fruit tree buying tips ORDER FORM


Send to: AG Fruit Trees Offer, Dept AG778Z, PO Box 162, Ipswich, IP8 3BX.
Code Product Price QTY Total
TCB10395B Mini Apple ‘Golden Delicious’ x 1 £14.99 £
TCB42023B Mini Apple ‘Gala’ x 1 £14.99 £
TCB10617 Mini Pear ‘Doyenne Du Comice’ x 1 £14.99 £
TCB10617B Mini Plum ‘Black Amber’ x 1 £14.99 £
TCB10442B Mini Cherry ‘Sylvia’ x 1 £14.99 £
TCB56849PB Mini Fruit Tree Collection x 5 (1 of each) £29.95 £
Postage £1.95
Total £
I enclose my cheque no………............... Value £………...............
made payable to: T&M. (with your name and address on the back).
To pay by Mastercard/Visa/Maestro (delete as applicable) complete card details below.
My card number is

(Maestro only) Valid from Expires end Issue no.


FRUIT tree varieties are trees reaching around
rarely grown on their 12ft (3.5m) are spaced (Maestro only)
PLEASE USE BLOCK CAPITALS
own roots but are grafted 15ft (4.5m) apart but I
Name
onto specially developed also have three apples as
rootstocks. These regulate upright cordons (staked) (Mrs/Miss/Ms/Mr/Title)

height and vigour and and a cherry on dwarfing Address


help young trees begin stock, Gisela 5, planted Postcode
cropping sooner. just 4ft (1.2m) apart.
Telephone Date of birth
When buying, check to Some fruit varieties are
Amateur Gardening will collect your personal information to process your order and alert you of news, new products,


make sure you will end up self-fertile but others need services and offers available from Amateur Gardening and from Time Inc. by email, phone and post. You can
with the size of tree you a tree nearby that will unsubscribe from emails by clicking unsubscribe from within the email. Please tick here if you prefer not to be
contacted by phone or post Q.
want. In my mini-orchard, flower at the same time. Email
22 APRIL 2017 / AG778Z

22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 43


Gardener’s
Every week in
Amateur

,
.
( )

0
*

('
/
+

-
Tea break
((

(*
()
Prize Draw
Westland SafeLawn will appeal to
(+ (, households who love their lawn but
(- (.
don’t want to use chemicals. It’s an
organic fertiliser with 100 per cent
(/ (0 natural ingredients, containing lawn
seed for thicker, greener grass. Safe
Lawn also prevents weeds and moss,
)' naturally. We have three boxes
(enough to cover 80 square metres)
to give away, worth £7.99 each.

Crossword How to enter:


Send your name and address on the back of a postcard to Westland SafeLawn

...just for fun! Draw, Amateur Gardening, Westover House, West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset BH15
1JG. Or you can email your details to ag_giveaway@timeinc.com, heading the email
Westland SafeLawn Draw. The closing date is 24 April 2017.
ACROSS Project in Cornwall (4)
1 Tall men to visit a 19 To dig the soil is to lift a

Win
communal veg plot! (9) clod and to ____ it (4)
(anag)
20 Term used to describe
7 Mineral consisting of
silica, as in waterlilies
‘Perry’s Fire ____’ and ‘Pink
how a newly planted plant
settles in to a new home (9)
£30! Wordsearch No:
361

____’ (4) DOWN


2 Several insects – the S I L A T I G I D M
8 Norwegian capital and a This word search
rhododendron one of which comprises gardening-
cultivar of agapanthus (4)
9 Cuts off the top of
is held responsible for the related words beginning N L L I R D A D L U
fungal disease bud blast (11) with ‘D’. They are listed
anything, especially to
3 Dog in The Wizard of Oz, below; in the grid they O L D A R I A I D I
prune a small limb off a may be read across,
and a variety of rudbeckia
shrub or tree (3)
and a dwarf daffodil (4) backwards, up, down I I P A L M D A S N
11 Top ranking Royal, as in a or diagonally. Letters
4 Orange-flowered trailing may be shared between L D B H S O M Y D I
high rhododendron (1,1,1)
or climbing annuals, often words. Erroneous or
12 Ornate patio vase, as in favoured by blackfly (11) duplicate words may E A A O F P M O R H
furniture (3) appear in the grid, but
5 Popular variety of peach,
13 If a house plant is an and a Kentish town (9)
there is only one correct
solution. After the listed
D D N F I I W H E P
indoor plant, what type of
6 Water features that squirt words are found there N S A N R N N E E L
plant is a garden plant? (7) are six letters remaining;
and spurt (9)
14 In plants, the ascending 9 An expensive car, or arrange these to make
A D G D Y S I A D E
and descending juice or this week’s KEY WORD.
exotic waterlily (5)
circulating fluid essential to
10 Herbaceous perennial DAFFODIL D G N I F R A W D D
nutrition (3)
(with shrubby versions),
15 Camellia sinensis is the originally from China,
DAHLIA
HOW TO ENTER: Enter this week’s keyword on the entry form,
___ plant, or tree (3) and grown here for the DAISY and send it to AG Word Search No 361, Amateur Gardening,
16 Fundamental to large, blousy often scented DAMPING Westover House, West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 1JG,
coconuts, but sounding like summer flowers (5) to arrive by Wednesday 3 May, 2017. The first correct entry
koi! (3) DAMSONS chosen at random will win our £30 cash prize.
17 Replacement for Basil
18 Every gardener should Alpert & the Tijuana Brass! DANDELION
This week’s Keyword is ..................................................................................
at some time visit The ____ (4) DEER
Name.....................................................................................................................
DELPHINIUM
9 Lotus 10 Peony 17 Herb
DOWN 2 Leafhoppers 3 Toto 4 Nasturtiums 5 Rochester 6 Fountains DIGITALIS Address ................................................................................................................
15 Tea 16 Shy 18 Eden 19 Turn 20 Establish
ACROSS 1 Allotment 7 Opal 8 Oslo 9 Lop 11 HRH 12 Urn 13 Outdoor 14 Sap
DILL .................................................................................................................................
CROSSWORD ANSWERS DOWNY Postcode..............................................................................................................
DRABA
Email .....................................................................................................................
DRILL
KEYWORD TO WORDSEARCH 356 (AG, 18 MARCH) Tel no.....................................................................................................................


CAMELLIA DRIMYS
Time Inc. (UK) Ltd, publisher of Amateur Gardening will collect your personal
AND THE WINNER IS: ELAINE GORDON, ISLE OF MAN DWARFING information solely to process your competition entry.

44 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017


  

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Using different types of pond
plants creates balance
Alamy/GAP

and attracts wildlife in

All you need to know about adding

Pond Plants
Whether you’ve got an established pond or you’ve created a brand new pond, now is a
There’s a waterlily variety for
every pond – large or small

good time to start thinking about adding aquatic plants to it, says Louise Curley
AKING a pond is a great water in your pond is warming up and pond is ideal for a small back garden,

M way to add another element


of interest to your garden.
Not only is water soothing,
it’s fantastic for attracting wildlife and
opens up new opportunities to grow a
any new plants will establish quickly.
Nurseries will also have their best
selection of plants at this time of year.
So whether you’ve got an established
pond that needs a bit more colour
courtyard or balcony. If you’d like
something bigger then there are two
main choices for construction. Flexible
liners allow you to create a pond pretty
much any size or shape.
whole range of interesting plants. and interest or you’ve created a brand
Pond plants add colour, structure new pond and are looking for planting How to mark out a pond
and form to a pond and the area inspiration, there is a whole range of You need to mark out the shape with a
around it. They help a pond nestle into rope or hosepipe and dig out this space
its surroundings softening the edges leaving a couple of shelves around the
between water and soil. Pond plants edges at different levels to grow plants
are also vital for creating a wildlife “Now until early that require different water depths.
habitat, offering places for insects to
land, providing nectar for pollinators summer is the best Cover the soil with a layer of sand and
lay the flexible liner on top. Fold the
and areas where creatures can shelter
or hide from predators. Certain plants,
time to buy plants” fabric neatly then fill with water.
A quicker and easier method is using
known as oxygenators, are also a preformed rigid liner with built-in
essential to keep the water in your pond planting shelves but you’ll be restricted
fresh and clear, particularly if you don’t aquatic plants to choose from. You’ll on the overall size and shape. You need
have a pump circulating the water. find plants suitable for a tiny container to dig a hole to fit the shape of the liner
From mid-spring to early summer pond right up to those that need deeper and backfill around making sure the
is the best time to buy and establish water and space to spread out. pond is stable and level.
aquatic plants, according to Linda Smith If you don’t as yet have a pond you When choosing your aquatic plants
from Chelsea gold medal-winning pond have a few options depending on how Linda says, “Pond plants should be
plant specialists Waterside Nursery. The much space you have. A container sold in a mesh baskets and aquatic
46 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017
Different pond plants explained Top
tip

Clean pond water


organically
If algae or blanket weed is a
problem, use barley straw – either
mini bales that float in the water,
or stuff handfuls into an old pair
of tights for smaller ponds. 50g of
Water crowfoot Astilbe straw per sq m (1½ oz per sq yd) of
water surface area is ideal.
As the barley straw rots it produces
Oxygenating plants Bog garden plants a substance that prevents algae
These keep pond water fresh. They’re Moisture-lovers that like a soil and blanket weed from growing.
particularly important if you don’t have that doesn’t dry out, but equally Add the straw in spring and
moving water. Some are free-floating they don’t like their crown to be remove it when it has turned black
on or just below the surface of the submerged underwater. These add (about six months later). You can
water, others will sit deeper in a pond. structure and interest to the edge of purchase barley straw from aquatic
Examples: water moss, hornwort and ponds. Examples: Astilbe, trollis and departments of garden centres.
water crowfoot (Ranunculus aquatilis). Primula japonica.

Getting started

■ Choose plants that fit the size


and depth of your pond – check
labels and ask for advice from
Butomus umbellatus Frogbit specialist nurseries.
■ Check if plants come bare root or
Marginal plants Deep water aquatic plants potted up. Ready potted will
establish more quickly.
These sit around the edge of a pond in Can be planted in the deepest parts of
shallow areas of water from just below the pond at depths of 25cm (10in) plus, ■ Plant into aquatic compost in
the surface of the pond to a depth of although individual plants will have mesh baskets. Add gravel on top of
about 20–25cm (8–10in). Check labels specific requirements so check when the compost to hold it in place.
for the exact planting depths. Examples: buying as some need water 45cm (18in) Gently lower to the right depth.
Iris versicolor, marsh marigold, deep. Examples: Frogbit (Hydrocharis
■ In autumn trim back foliage to a
flowering rush (Butomus umbellatus). morsus ranae) and water soldier.
couple of cm above the water.
■ Thin out oxygenating plants now.
Suppliers
Waterside Nursery: ✆07931 557 082, Puddle Plants: ✆01558 615056, ■ Use aquatic fertiliser tablets
watersidenursery.co.uk puddleplants.co.uk pushed into the compost in spring or
Devon Pond Plants: ✆01548 521286, Anglo Aquatic: ✆020 8363 8548, a specialist liquid fertiliser like Eco
devonpondplants.co.uk angloaquatic.co.uk Pond aquatic plant food.

22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 47


Try 5 pond
it! plants to try
Nymphaea
pygmaea ‘Rubra’
A pretty pink,
miniature water
lily perfect for
tiny ponds and
containers. Needs
full sun and 5-10in
(13–25cm) of
water over the top
of the basket.

Caltha palustris
The yellow flowers
of marsh marigold
appear in spring
and are great for
pollinators. Plant
in a boggy spot
or with up to 4in
(10cm) of water
over the crown of
the plant.

Oenanthe
javanica Line barrels with thick pond
‘Flamingo’ liner before filling with water
Pretty leaves
and tiny white
flowers from
July–September.
Spring project - create a pond in a pot
Plant in boggy soil FILL a watertight container with rainwater – tap water should stand for a few
or with 4in (10cm) days before planting to allow the chemicals to dissipate. Use upturned pots to
of water over the create shelves to allow you to grow different plants. Pile up stones at the edge to
plant crown. allow wildlife to get in and out. Include oxygenators to keep the water fresh.
■ Plants to try: Thypa minima (miniature bullrush), miniature waterlily ‘Helvola’,
Mentha cervina( water spearmint) and Isolepis cernua (fibre optic plant).
Iris versicolor
Strap-like leaves
and purple flowers compost, which is brown in colour. up and develop into adults. And for
of the flag iris are Black compost is likely to be a peat- pollinating insects try marsh marigold
produced from based mix, which is not good for the (Caltha palustris) and purple loosestrife
May–June. Perfect roots of pond plants, and will become (Lythrum salicaria).”
for boggy soil or smelly when submerged below the
pond margins with water surface”. Planting balance is important
up to 2in (5cm) of Oxygenators are essential and Linda Achieving the right balance in your
water over the top recommends two portions of these pond can take a year or so as the plants
of the plant pot. plants per square metre of the surface establish and the water settles. If algae
area of your pond. is a problem Linda doesn’t recommend
Veronica If you’re looking to attract wildlife chemical treatments. “We prefer to use
beccabunga to your pond aim for a mix of plants. barley straw products – either mini
A rafting plant “Newts like to lay their eggs in water bales of straw that float in the water
which spreads forget-me-not (Myosotis scorpioides) or extract of barley straw for small
out over the or Veronica beccabunga as they can ponds,” she says. “The correct balance
surface of the fold the leaf over easily to protect their of planting helps too – oxygenating
pond. Pretty eggs. These are known as rafting plants plants and surface cover as well as
forget-me-not- as they spread out over the surface plants on the shelf areas – as does good
like flowers from of the pond and they also offer cover maintenance in autumn. Clear away any
May–July. Boggy for tadpoles. Dragonflies need upright plant debris and fallen leaves that could
soil or in water plants, like umbrella sedge (Cyperus rot down to the base of the pond as this
4in (10cm) deep. involucratus) and blue flag iris (Iris will release nutrients in spring that will
versicolor), which they can climb encourage pond algae to grow.” ■
48 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017
Your letters
with Jenny Bagshaw
Write to:
Jenny Bagshaw, Amateur Gardening, Westover House, West Quay Road,
Poole, Dorset BH15 1JG or email: amateurgardening@timeinc.com

Star
letter A sense of purpose
T
HANK you so much for the
article ‘How to create a
sensory garden’ (AG 25 March).
Four members of my family
have autism and, having taken on
a decent-sized but challenging
(bordering woodland, windy, partly
sloped) garden 18 months ago, I have
been desperate for inspiration.
We’re lucky enough to have water
close enough to hear, so I’ve ordered
some of the suggested plants and I
am hopeful that in a year or two we’ll
have created a real place of escape
and serenity for everyone.
Claire Peach, Newport,
South Wales

Jenny says: For information about


All TimeInc

assisting those with autism, don’t


forget the website autism.org.uk

Pure Beacon of spring


pleasure I THOUGHT AG readers might like to
see a picture of my dad with his
forsythia bush. I’ve pruned it over the
ONE of the best ever buys we past few years into a conical shape and
made for our garden was late this year’s flowers are just stunning.
blooming daffodils. Peter Dean, Gt Shelford, Cambs
This lovely white variety never
fails to pick up where our early

rs
yellow ones leave off, and they’re

Reade k
a delight all through April and

Quic
into early May. It seems to us
that gardening always gives you

Tips
so much to look back on, and so
much to look forward to as the
seasons progress.
John Livingstone, Jersey, I’M trying to
Channel Islands protect my
lupins at night
from slugs but

He’s a slow didn’t want to


spend £9 on
flimsy cloches
reader! from the local garden centre. So I
decided to make my own from 5 litre
MY tortoise Georgie water bottles at a fraction of the cost.
likes nothing more than Just cut the base off and they even
catching up on a bit of have a ready-made vent.
reading when the weather If you peg them down, they do a great
isn’t warm enough to job, leaving lots of space for the plants
venture outside. to grow without being attacked.
Miss Freya Giblin, Celia Holt, Bracknell, Berks
Penarth, South Wales

50 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017


Our Star Letter wins £40 in National Garden Vouchers can be bought and redeemed at over
Gift Vouchers; tip of the week, £10; other 2,000 UK outlets offering more than 90,000 garden plants
letters £5 (£10 if we use a photo you’ve sent). and products. Visit  thevouchergarden.co.uk for details.

Digi p
ic
of the
week

It’s a lovely
reminder
LAST year was our 25th wedding
anniversary and we decided to
Stone the crows!
plant a special shrub to mark the I THOUGHT Amateur Gardening readers might like to meet my new ‘friends’
occasion and be a living reminder. Jemima and Joe. I purchased these two lovely scarecrows at Dobbies Garden
So we chose this pretty hebe Centre in Stirling while out for lunch with my mum and sister.
because of its variegated leaves, all My sister got some funny looks walking through the shop with them and
year round interest - but especially someone even commented ‘Who’s the dummy!’. So we had a bit of fun with
its name ‘Silver Anniversary’! them at mum’s before they headed off to their new home and new job.
Mr & Mrs E Burgess, Manchester Margery McGowan, Clackmannan, Scotland

Editorial Complaints If you have a complaint about our editorial content, material you are complaining about and explain
We work hard to achieve the highest standards you can email us at complaints@timeinc.com or your complaint by reference to the Editors’ Code.
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22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 51


   
   

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Get the look
Ideas for gorgeous gardens

Words by Sue Bradley/ photography by Peter Chatterton


Tim Wilmot’s garden is a verdant
oasis of exotic-looking plants. Lawns
have been relegated to grass pathways
to add a further dimension to the planting.

A taste of the tropical


Subtropical plants have found a home in a South Gloucestershire garden

U
NUSUAL plants have always early days this meant replacing tender
held a fascination for Tim plants that he had lost with shrubbier
Wilmot, so much so that
he’s eschewed almost all
“I’ve never been specimens, but as hardy palms, such
as Trachycarpus fortunei and Butia
things native in favour of specimens
that indulge his love of the exotic. As
interested in capitata have grown, increasing the
protective canopy they provide, he
a result Tim’s garden near Bristol is
a subtropical paradise filled with no
flowers” feels more confident about trying
more exotic plants again. At the same
fewer than six varieties of palms, along time he does take steps to protect the
with ferns, bamboos, Indian bean trees after moving to his late 1980’s home in most tender parts of the collection:
(Catalpa bignonioides) and numerous Yate, designing his planting schemes potted specimens are brought into
tender succulents. around existing hard landscaping a conservatory to over-winter while
“I’ve never been interested in flowers,” features such as a patio and block permanent plantings are covered with
he explains. “As a hay fever sufferer I’ve paved pathways. Maintaining a garden a polytunnel-like structure or some
always reckoned that if I stay away from containing species originating from insulating straw.
flowers and grasses then I’ll improve warmer parts of the world isn’t without Tim’s predominantly green-hued
my chances – although in reality its challenges, however, and he’s garden is a picture of lushness
pollen is everywhere.” Plants with big suffered some losses during particularly throughout the year but the real high
leaves are his personal preference. harsh winters. point comes in September when banana
“Architectural plants, something with “We’re a few miles outside of Bristol palms and ginger plants are at their
a bit more interest than a flower that and unfortunately don’t get the thermal peak. Visitors can see it for themselves
will expire after a few days. I like the drafts from the Severn Estuary or when the garden opens later this year in
challenge of growing something a bit microclimates associated with being aid of the National Gardens Scheme on
different, he adds in a built up area; we’re in a bit of a Sunday September 10. See  ngs.org.uk
Tim set to work on his garden soon frost pocket here,” he explains. In the for more details.
54 AMATEUR GARDENING 22 APRIL 2017
Create curved pathways through a lush
planting scheme so that a walk around the Paint walls a bright colour so that
garden feels like a journey. Allow foliage to architectural plants, like hardy banana
extend over paving to soften the edges Musa sikkimensis, really stand out

Embrace the exotic by adding


eye-catching bromeliad
Fascicularia bicolor to the mix

Consider erecting a Go for green: bring together a


conservatory to over-winter mixture of leaf shapes to create a
delicate subtropical plants calming and lush environment.

Meet the owner


OWNER Tim Wilmot
ADDRESS
Beechwell House,
51 Goose Green,
Yate, South Glocs
BS37 5BL
GARDEN SIZE 80ft
(24m) by 100ft
(30m)
ASPECT South west
SOIL Clay, alkaline to neutral pH
VISITED September
SPECIAL FEATURES Subtropical
Celebrate the unusual: Tim brings garden filled with six varieties of palms,
indoor plants like this Sedum tree ferns, yuccas, agaves, bamboos,
rubrotinctum outside over the bananas, aroids and other architectural
warmer summer months plants. Also wildlife and fish ponds.

22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 55


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Toby Buckland
Nurser man and former Gardeners’ World host

Toby’s top tips


Alamy

Geranium ‘Rozanne’

Alamy
(circled) is one of
the hardest- ■ Cranesbills get their name from the
working varieties shape of their seed pods that resemble
the pointed beaks of the birds.

TimeInc

Born survivors

TimeInc
■ If geraniums become leggy in
summer, prune hard. They bounce
Tough, reliable and hard-working, there’s a cranesbill back, often flush with flowers.
geranium for every garden situation, writes Toby

M
Y old accountant never tired with paler blooms and larger white growers that out-compete the grass
of telling me that only two centres while pale-pink ‘Blushing and froth with flowers right through
things in life were certain: Turtle’ flowers for nearly as long but the summer.
death and taxes. Having a has the added feature of finely divided, Two new varieties have caught
sunnier disposition, I prefer to think handsome foliage. my eye: an aptly named ground
there’s a third one that’s more cheerful. Being pink it’s an ideal cover for the hugger called ‘Tiny Monster’ which
Cranesbill geraniums are as reliable boring bare earth under roses and it’s bears vermillion-pink flowers and
as a bookkeeper’s calculator and come here or on the edge of borders that ‘Dreamland’ which is covered in
in so many guises that there’s one for cranesbills are commonly planted. marshmallow pink-and-white blooms
every situation, from baking sunshine In my garden though, I have other from May to autumn.
to shade. With weed-smothering ideas. After a chance seedling popped They already look great and will save
foliage they’re as tough as Trojans with up in the dry soil at the edge of my a lot of time with the edging shears.
a flair for smuggling themselves into a lawn I’ve been inspired to plant more Who knows, maybe they’ll cross to
garden via spreading, ground-hugging and I’m collecting vigorous low- create some exciting new hybrids, too!

Job
stems or self-sown seed.
These chance seedlings often differ
from their parents because cranesbills Choose the right geranium
readily hybridise and they can be the of th
progeny of two, three or even more
crosses of the natural species. Over
■ Good varieties for shade:
Geranium phaeum ‘Samobor’ and
weeek
the years, chance finds have played a ‘Kashmir Purple’ (both pictured).
major part in developing cranesbills ■ Good to grow in long grass: ‘Orion’
into must-have garden flowers. and ‘Wisley Blue’.
Geranium ‘Rozanne’ was discovered ■ Summer-long flowerers:
in a Somerset garden and launched ‘Dreamland’ and ‘Rozanne’.
at the Chelsea Flower Show in 2000. ■ For surpressing weeds in wild areas
Prized for its blue flowers from May to G. thurstonianum and macrorrhizum.
October, it’s considered to be one of the ■ For growing under roses: ‘Pink ‘Kashmir Purple’ ‘Samobor’
Alamy

Alamy

most hard-working geraniums of all. Penny’ and ‘Kashmir White’.


‘Azure Rush’ is a mini-me version
22 APRIL 2017 AMATEUR GARDENING 59
 
   
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