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Planning Retirement Online

Your Gardening queries - 14


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  - June  2004    

Q: Margaret has three questions:

  1. Last Autumn I covered my borders with well-rotted manure. Do I have to reapply this now or is there something else I should be putting on the soil?

  2. Could you please tell me when bonemeal is necessary.

  3. I believe it is a good idea to put a foliar feed on daffodil leaves
    at this time of year.  Can you advise me of a good one and what else I can use this foliar feed for.  Is Tomorite a foliar feed? The soil where I live is very manageable but is quite shaded by trees and shrubs.


  1. Perhaps you can make your own compost and apply this to the borders each year?  Try mixing horse manure in with the contents of the compost heap. Alternatively, look in your local paper for spent mushroom compost for sale, which can go straight on your borders to bulk up the soil.
    If your trees are taking the goodness out of the soil an annual mulch will
    help keep it fertile and moist.

  2. I am not sure about using bonemeal since the BSE scare. I use
    Phostrogen for all my garden plants.

  3. Liquid feed your daffodils with Phostrogen or similar liquid fertiliser
    every fortnight until the foliage dies down. I use a phostrogen dispenser
    attached to my hosepipe and everything in the garden gets a foliar feed!

Q: From Barbara: I have a few wallflowers in bloom in my front garden, but unfortunately because the garden is near the road people walking past have stolen a few plants ( not the wallflowers) and because of this my husband has now put grass seed down. Will I be able to move the wallflowers later on and keep them for next year? Can I put them in pots or is it better in the garden. 

A: Most Wallflowers are Biennials, which means you plant them one year to flower the next..  I suggest you enjoy them for now and throw them away once they have finished.. You can either buy some more in the autumn to flower next spring, or sow some seeds in a couple of months time. They are happy planted in the ground or in pots.


Q: From JulieI am trying to plant a small flower bed along my fence. Since I have a 1 year old son, I'm trying to make my flower bed as low maintenance as possible.  My husband and I bought weed fabric to put down but according to the instructions it doesn't work like we thought. I am not planting flowers that are already grown, I am starting from seeds.  Can I lay the weed fabric down, then cover with soil and plant the seeds on top or do I ditch the weed fabric idea altogether? 

A:  Weed suppressing membrane is best used in areas that are to be gravelled or barked, (chippings) where shrubs are planted at intervals and are not going to be disturbed. For flower borders containing perennials and annuals you will have to do it the hard way I`m afraid and put up with the weeds. If you were to lay the weed fabric down, then cover with soil and plant the seeds on top, the weeds would still germinate and the weed fabric would serve no purpose at all. However, if you have a hoe, it won`t be a huge job and if done regularly, the weeds will get the message they`re not welcome and stop being so persistent!  



Q: A problem for Ann:   We have about 150 impatients plants in the greenhouse and every plant is surrounded by moss. The temperature in the greenhouse fluctuates wildly - last night we had a frost outside and at the moment it is stifling with the sunshine. Do you think that it is a temperature problem? I know that the ideal would be to pot them into three inch pots but we are bursting at the seams and do not have anymore room.

AI would suggest that as you stated, the fluctuating temperatures are causing the moss to grow on your plants. Is there a chance you could put a greenhouse heater in for the cooler nights?  I don`t heat my greenhouse, but I do cover the plants with horticultural fleece and bubble wrap to keep the frost off the young seedlings, and keep the place well ventilated in the warmth of the sun. This seems to keep the moss and algae off the young plants.


Q: Jed wants to know:  I planted a plum tree last year and now want too move it, when is best time of year too move it to another part of the garden. 

A: Wait until the autumn now as the tree is in it`s growing season at the moment. Officially, October - March are the safe months for moving smaller trees: after the leaves have fallen and before the new season buds open.. Give it a good watering before you move it and mix in  some compost in it`s new position to boost the soil. Keep it watered until it is established and growing.  

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

Edition 13

Edition 14






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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