It is probably best to avoid the word rockery, for this is apt to encompass all that is unsatisfactory about most small garden efforts in this field. A pile of soil is made — no doubt left over from something else — then scattered at random with bits of stone or even (horror upon horrors) broken concrete. The result is not a rock garden
and it must be hoped Read more [...]
How to Grow Lettuces
An indispensible crop and the epitome of summer, though they can be grown nearly all year round. No garden should be without a few.
Nothing in particular but avoid land that is too firm or waterlogged. Plenty of organic matter leads to rapid growth and the tastiest lettuces
12-24 lettuces per 10ft (3m) of row; Read more [...]
Growing Brussels Sprouts
Sprouts have always been one of the most popular winter green vegetables. They can be grown to give you a supply of sprouts from September to March. Unless you want to strip the plants at a single pick and then freeze the harvest, pick-over varieties should be grown.
The soil should be well-supplied with organic matter and must, Read more [...]
How to Grow Strawberries
These are probably the most rewarding of all fruits — there is nothing like the taste of your own first fresh-picked strawberry
, or the second, or the third . . .
Strawberries need a very rich soil, full of humus, and benefit from slow- release sources of phosphorus, such as bonemeal. The site must be free of weeds and prepared well with additions Read more [...]
The willow is the only deciduous
tree which has dwarf forms, but as these form little spreading bushes rather than trees, they may be appropriately included in the present section. Like their larger fellows, they bear catkins, which are usually more conspicuous on the female plants. They enjoy a moist and leafy, though well drained, soil, and do not mind full sun. Although Read more [...]
To the herbaceous veronicas mentioned in the previous section can now be added a few dwarf shrubs from New Zealand. All are perfectly easy in light soil and full sun, but it is worth remembering that the poorer the soil, the smaller and more compact they will remain. Only the smallest are included in the list below.
V. Astoni makes a dwarf tuft of small golden yellow leaves, Read more [...]
My friend seems to spend half of his gardening
life dealing with rose pests and diseases. I want to grow roses too, but is it possible to buy varieties that are likely to be trouble-free?
It is certainly true that some varieties are inherently healthier than others. However, it is not possible to be very precise about the healthiest roses, for their resistance to disease Read more [...]
What is the best way of getting chives established?
You can raise chives (Allium
) either from seed or by dividing old clumps. Sow seed in the spring, and when the seedlings are several inches high, plant them out in clumps of up to half a dozen seedlings together, spacing the clumps about 225 mm (9 in) apart. They soon spread into larger clumps. Mature clumps can be divided Read more [...]
Do you recommend the all-female varieties of cucumber
which are now available?
Yes, these are a very useful development. With the old-fashioned varieties of greenhouse
or frame cucumbers
you have to remove all the male flowers because, once the flowers are pollinated, they become mis-shapen, swollen at the ends, and bitter. This is not necessary with the all-female varieties, Read more [...]
My French beans
often fail to germinate. Any advice?
The commonest cause of such failure is sowing in cold, wet soil
: the beans rot or are attacked by pests and diseases. It really pays to start beans off indoors, sowing them in potting compost in seed trays, in single pots, or in the individual cells of polystyrene trays. Put the seeds on damp newspaper for at least 12 hours Read more [...]
I want to make good use of my cloches
. Can you suggest a cropping plan?
The most economic way of using cloches is ‘strip cropping’, in which cloches are moved backwards and forwards between two strips of land. (It is easiest, of course, if the strips are adjacent.) Start by sowing dwarf hardy peas
or dwarf broad beans
under cloches in October or November on Strip A. Leave Read more [...]
The Ornamental Peppers make excellent indoor pot plants, growing short and bushy and bearing their pointed fruits which change from yellow to crimson during winter. Sow the large seeds individually in small pots in gentle heat in February and move to larger pots containing the John Innes Potting Compost early in summer. At all times, do not allow the Caragana seeds to lack Read more [...]
What are the advantages of using roses rather than other shrubs for hedges
Mainly that they will provide almost continuous colour throughout the summer and well on into the autumn. If you are using upright-growing roses
of the cluster-flowered type, staggered planting will be of advantage if you want a substantial rather than a purely decorative hedge, but with most of the Read more [...]
should I choose, and when should I apply it?
Any of the proprietary, ready-mixed rose fertilisers
will be perfectly satisfactory, with bone meal as a good alternative. They are easy to apply, but use gloves (preferably rubber) when handling them. About a month before spring pruning , sprinkle a small handful of fertiliser evenly around each rose bush and lightly Read more [...]
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