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Planning Retirement Online

Your Gardening queries - 13


Mary Mary, quite contrary,

How does your garden grow?         

With silver bells and cockle shells,                    

And pretty maids all in a row....                     


If only gardening were as simple as that little nursery rhyme. But it isn`t, so we are putting some of the solutions here to problems you have written to us about, so everyone can have the benefit.


Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife.  Click here for previous editions of Gardener`s Diary.



This month`s gardening problems  - May  2004    

Q: Linda asks:- I have just found your web site.  We are in the process of having a new drive laid and have decided to put chippings over the rest of the garden. How much coverage does a 5 kg bag cover.

A:  As there are so many different types of chippings and decorative sufaces, I looked for a website for you to search out the type you will be using and calculate how much you will need...  If you are still unsure, ask at your nearest builders` merchant or DIY store.You will need to measure the area that requires chipping..   

Q:  From Joan:- My front garden is mostly paved and faces NE.  It gets early morning sun but is cold and exposed.  I'm looking for a hardy plant to place in a tub by the front door, something striking but tough! Any ideas please.  

A: Why don`t you have a pair of nicely shaped box plants either side of your front door in stone pots? They are tough, easy to care for and always look smart!


Q:   Gayle asks:- Would it be OK to break a leafy section off the top stem of my yukka to re-grow in a pot?  If so does it need to go into the soil straight away or left to dry out for a day or two?

A:   Yes you can certainly use the top section of a Yukka for a cutting.
Take the cutting by making a clean, straight cut with a sharp knife or saw,
then leave the cutting somewhere fairly cool and dry so the cutting will dry
out for a few days before potting it up..
You can buy pieces of Yukka stem from some garden centres that will, when
potted up, start growing.


Q:  Melissa from Kent asks:-I purchased a cordyline last summer and it thrived in a pot in my front garden.  Unfortunately it was battered by some rather vicious North Easterly winds in the autumn and started to look a little the worse for wear.  I removed it to the comparative shelter of my rear garden and it seems to be okay but it still looks really tatty.  Can you trim cordylines, and, if so, how do I go about it?

A:   You will find the lower leaves go brown and die as the plant gets taller. Pull these dead leaves off, or allow them to drop off naturally (I pull them off each spring) and the plant will gradually smarten up as it gets new growth from the top..

Q:   From Donna in Brighton:- We have just started work on our garden and have quite a few shady areas. I would like to know what plants grow best in shade. I would like some colour and some climbers and maybe some big shrubs. I have looked in plenty of gardening books, but every plant seems to need sunshine!

A: I tend to disregard gardening books to an extent and go for the plants I like. There are some of course that need plenty of sun to look their best, but at the same time they will grow quite reasonably in shade. I would be more concerned about the soil being very dry if you are going to plant shrubs underneath large trees or hedges that will take all the moisture.

Have a look at my gardening column for October 2002, the Spotlight section, where I have listed many of my favourite plants and shrubs.. Then test your soil to see what will grow in it and whether it needs bulking up with some decent compost.  Have a walk around your favourite garden centre and see which plants you like the look of,  writing down their names to look up later. Finally ask the assistants what they would recommend for your soil type and aspect.. 

Container grown shrubs can be planted any time of year.

Previous editions of your gardening queries: 

Edition 1

Edition 2

Edition 3

Edition 4

Edition 5

Edition 6

Edition 7

Edition 8

Edition 9 

Edition 10

Edition 11

Edition 12




Please e-mail me with your garden problems, comments, or ideas for this section of  laterlife.

Click here for previous editions of Gardener`s Diary..  



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