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Q&A - Question & Answer about gardening

Gareth Richards - Q&A Gardening-w850Thank you you everyone that took part, below are Gareth’s answers to the questions asked on Facebook earlier this week!

Q: Linda Heaton How can I stop squirrels digging my bulbs up, they do it every day and leave them on top of the soil!!!

A: Hi Linda – there are a couple of tricks you can try. Best one is to put some wire mesh (e.g. chicken wire) over the bulbs when you plant them in the autumn. For bulbs which are already planted in the garden, mark them with canes and wait for them to die down. Once the leaves have disappeared in summer, scrape away the soil and put wire over them. The other option would be to sprinkle chilli powder over the soil where the bulbs are – squirrels hate it. Grab a big bag of it from your local market.


Q: Julie Lewis Why are my Trachycarpus fortunei leaves going yellow ?

A: Hi Julie – this depends. If all the leaves are going yellow as much as each other, then your plant is short of food. Give it a liquid feed such as phostrogen to perk it up, and add some slow release fertiliser for a longer term boost. If it’s just the lower leaves going yellow, don’t worry, they do that naturally!


Q: Vivien Martin What can I do with the part of my garden where nothing but weeds will grow because of neighbours conifers?

A: Hi Vivien – dry shade is a tricky situation! You’ve inspired me to write a blog about it soon (see http://blog.spaldingbulb.co.uk/) As a sneak peek of what’s coming up, I’d say dig plenty of compost into your soil and try some tough ground cover plants such as periwinkles, mahonias, bergenias, variegated ivy  – the variegated leaves will help to brighten up the space. Cyclamen does really well in dry shade and has pretty pink flowers too.


Q: Sue Ryder Can I compost the moss from my lawn? 

A: Hi Sue – yes, absolutely. Try and mix it in with other materials, as if you just put it in in one go it won’t rot down as well. You can also use it to line your hanging baskets – and try leaving a bit of it on the lawn – the local birds may come down and take it for their nests.


Q: Rhonda Jhallahan Some of the leaves on my pear tree have bubble like crinkles on some of the leaves? Please can you advise me,thanks.

A: Hi Rhonda – sounds like pear blister mite https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=661 but without seeing it I can’t really say any more – sorry!


Q: Rosie Wood Which magnolias will cope in a chalky soil please?

A: Hi Rosie – try Magnolia wilsonii – it’s a beautiful late-flowering magnolia (misses the frosts which can strike many others). Most magnolias you’ll find for sale are ok on chalky soil, provided you dig in lots of compost and keep them well watered in the summer and early autumn.


Q: Chris Hinds How can I treat peach curl affecting the leaves on my peach tree so badly. 

A: Hi Chris – Peach leaf curl is spread by rain splash in the winter and spring, so if you can, cover the tree at those times of year. Many gardeners will use a bit of clear corrugated plastic or plastic sheeting to stop the rain hitting their tree (if like most of us they grow their peaches against a wall or fence). For more info see https://www.rhs.org.uk/advice/profile?pid=232. Or choose a resistant variety like ‘Avalon Pride’


Q: Kristina Jenkin What are the best shrubs for a clay garden please?

A: Hi Kristina – good news, you have a wide choice. Viburnums (especially the winter flowering variety ‘Dawn’), hydrangeas and roses do really well. Try to avoid plants with fine, silvery leaves as they tend to be the ones that suffer in clay soils.

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