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Your Gardening queries - 20


Colour for Adventurous Gardeners 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.

A selection of this month`s gardening problems  - December  2004    

Due to the amount of post I am receiving from readers, I am choosing for this page mainly those problems that haven`t been printed before..


Do please keep writing in with your problems.  



  * This month I had another undeliverable email whose recipient wanted to know how to harvest petunia seeds. If it was you, please email me again with a valid address.


Q:   From Philip:  We have a garden near to a large hill containing a thriving rabbit colony. Although we have a fence, buried 2 feet, around the garden perimeter -both to contain our border terrier and exclude the rabbits- they have managed to gain entry this summer and have been snacking on the grass for a few months.
As I have been unwell and my border terrier can't be bothered to chase them any more we have let them be -and they are quite cute.

However the creeping buttercup inherent in the lawn has now got out of hand forming large clumps which together with the moss are both apparently unappetising to the bunnies and more than a match for the grass which has now become a threatened minority.

Being almost on first name terms with the rabbits I don't want to poison them and wonder which autumn grass "feed and weed" preparations would be suitable to rectify the situation .

A:   Animals are pretty cute and usually detect what is bad for them... But I would err on the side of caution and ask the makers of the weed & Feed application for their advice as to whether it will harm the rabbits..

One of the most popular preparations is Scott's Weed & Feed - try emailing them for their opinion..

Q:   From Florence: I have a  problem with fungus growing on the roots of the   plum tree which is over 30 years old and these roots are showing on the surface of the lawn surrounding the plum tree. Would welcome any advice.

A: From your description this could be one of several problems, and without seeing your tree it would be very hard to make an accurate diagnosis..
It has been a very wet summer and some lawns seem besieged with fungal problems, and it could be that simple.
I have found a website here that - although not a UK site - might help you recognise what ails your plum tree.

Q:    Joe asks:  Is it ok to use roundup before or after the flowering season to kill off any weeds that are growing? Do you have another solution to weed problems?

A:   When the weeds start to grow for the new season is the best time to treat
them with Roundup..

We stopped them growing on a raised patio area that was to be planted with
shrubs, by first digging out the weeds, then putting down a layer of weed
suppressant membrane, finally topping it with a thick layer of pea-gravel.
To plant something, an area is cut out with a X so the four flaps can be
lifted to plant the shrub, then finally cover it with gravel.

Q:   Jenny wants to know about moving plants:  We are going to have an extension built to our house, which means I shall have to move an established St Johns Wort bush and many flowering perennials. The building work will start in January. When would you recommend moving them and would you recommend replanting them elsewhere in the garden or putting them into pots?

A:   I would leave them where they are until the week prior to the work
commencing, then at least you won`t have three months of looking at a messy
garden. There is the possibility of frost however, which would make digging them up difficult, so I suggest keeping an ear open when the weather forecasts are
I would loosely dig them in another part of the garden so they won`t dry
out. Take care with perennials that die down completely: it might be worth
marking where they are.

Previous editions of your gardening queries: 

Edition 1

Edition 11

The new complete book of self sufficiency









Edition 2

Edition 12

Edition 3

Edition 13

Edition 4

Edition 14

Edition 5

Edition 15

Edition 6

Edition 16

Edition 7

Edition 17

Edition 8

Edition 18

Edition 9 

Edition 19

Edition 10




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..  


       Alan Titchmarsh - How to be a gardener    Amazon Book - The Healing Garden    Amazon Book - RHS Plant Finder 2001 -2002    Amazon Book - "Home Front" in the Garden

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