Q: Robert John Walker – I live in a limestone gorge in Matlock bath on a steep sloping site that gets limited sun from 8:30am to 3pm max. I love roses and tulips and grow some. What long flowering items would you suggest? Would azalea and rhododendron work?
A: Hiya Robert, for a really long-flowering shrub, try Abelias or fuchsias, they both flower over a very long period and don’t mind a bit of shade. Azaleas and rhododendrons probably won’t work for you if your soil is over limestone, as they need acid soil. If you like the glossy-leafed, evergreen look of rhododendrons, try daphnes; or brighten your garden with a splash of variegated foliage from a euonymus such as the Japanese spindle.
Q: Linda Wilkins Why does my ivy looks like it’s dead?
A: Hi Linda – impossible to tell without seeing it. If it’s up against a wall, has there been any building work near it that might have cut the roots? If it’s in a pot it may have dried out completely: many evergreen plants are very drought tolerant but if they’re in a pot and the totally dry out they can die quite quickly.
Q: Mal Dicks Why can’t I grow gladioli or lupins, try as i might?
Hi Mal, gladioli and lupins are both quite greedy plants; they enjoy lots of sunshine, lots of water and lots of food. If they’re in a spot that’s too shady or dry, or the soil is too poor, they tend to dwindle pretty quickly. For more info on feeding plants check out my blog: http://blog.