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Planning Retirement Online

Your Gardening queries - 22

February 2005


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. 


February 2005     


Q: Wendy wants to know: 

When plant leaves die from the bottom up rather than sporadically throughout a plant, does this mean it is being over-watered or under-watered? I can’t remember which is which,  please help


A:  When lower leaves dry up and fall there are three common causes - too little light, too much heat or underwatering.
When several leaves turn yellow at the same time and then fall, the most likely cause is overwatering or cold draughts..




Q: From Isobel:

I have bought two indoor jasmine plants this year - one from a florist and one from a plant nursery. In both cases there were lots of buds but they died rather than coming into flower. I kept the plant watered, and in an even temperature, not too hot. Do they need a lot of light?


A:   I think your Jasmine plants were probably kept too dark..
When they are grown indoors, they need to be in very bright filtered light. Keep the soil moist, but not soggy.
Place them on a pebble tray... it will help to increase the humidity..



Q: Sue asks:

We have a well established rambling rose (I think Dorothy Perkins) which
has been rambling in profusion over our now rotting shed roof for many many
years. We prune the straggling bits each year but nothing serious.
There are many shoots on the ends of the much entwined branches but the shed roof needs replacing. What and when would you recommend to do something about this? Should it be cut right back to almost nothing to start again (it could be as old as 20 years), or could we carefully try and unpick it
from its current entwined position, replace the roof then try to replace the
rose? What would be best?

A: This is a job I have recently done for my parents, with their twenty year old deep pink climbing rose scrambling over the summerhouse at the bottom of
their garden!

First I cut all the support ties so the rose came away from the shed,
then laid it against some nearby shrubs to avoid snapping the stems. I
untwined each stem in turn, pruned it to an acceptable length and tied it back into the newly refurbished roof. I took the opportunity to cut out all
the dead or very old wood and removed some of the stems that were not a good

It should be done no later than March and I wouldn`t recommend cutting the
whole bush down to the ground unless you are prepared to wait for it to
regain it`s former glory.. Don`t forget to give it a good feed and mulch for
the next season.



Q: Nancy in Florida asks:

We live in Florida and have a large oak tree in our backyard. It is lifting up the bricks on our patio. I began to pull up the patio bricks with the intent of cutting the roots and relaying the bricks. The roots are quite large and I am wondering
if it is safe to cut these roots without harming the tree. I fear that if they are not cut, it will pull up our spa and our florida room. I will await your reply.

A:  It sounds as if your oak tree is too big for the space it is in and you
could well have future problems. Usually when tree roots are near the
surface the tree is searching for water and I would say this is the case
there in hot and dry Florida. If you cut out these roots you risk killing
the tree, or more roots surfacing over a period of time..

I am sorry I cannot be more positive. Perhaps you should get a tree surgeon or arboriculturist to come out and see how serious the problem is.



Q: Nuisance flies for a reader:

For the past few years sometime in the fall-winter I am finding black horse flies in the house, my husband swears it is from all the house plants I have, is this possible????

A: Certainly in the right conditions little flies can breed in the houseplant compost in the UK. But they are tiny little things that don`t cause any problem at all.

Did you mean horse flies or house flies? I ask because you might have something called Cluster flies which are an autumn-winter nuisance in the UK.. Try putting Cluster flies in Google, the search engine..

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

Edition 20



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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