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Planning Retirement Online

Your Gardening queries -

April 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. 


April 2005     


Q: Diane says: We have a large green cordyline and we have to move it. We were wandering when and how best to do this

A:   I am assuming it is an outdoor plant.... It should be moved before seasonal growth starts. Follow the instructions below and it should be fine...

  • First water it thoroughly

  • Partly dig up the plant, to get an idea of the rootball size.

  • Next, dig the new hole, at the same time mixing in some fresh compost and slow release fertilser granules.

  • Then finish digging up your plant, ensuring you get as much of the root as you can, and transfer it to its new home.

  • Stake it for one season to ensure strong winds don`t blow it over.

  • Water frequently for the first year until it settles in its new home


Q:  From Paula:- I have a 6-7 ft yukka and just recently the leaves seem to be dying all the way up one, do you have any ideas how I can prevent this killing the whole plant?

A:   The condition in which it is growing cannot be suiting your yukka.. It needs
plenty of light, the very minimum of water during the winter months and it
must be kept away from draughts..
When the days lengthen and warm up, try repotting the plant and feeding it
with some slow release fertiliser. It can live outside for the summer
months, once the danger of late frosts has past.
If one of the stems has died just cut it down to its base and you may find
new shoots appearing from the stump when the weather warms up.



Q:  Have you ever heard of Milgorite? I may have  mis-spelled it.You sprinkle it around your flowers but not in the pots.

A:  Perhaps you are thinking of a fertiliser with a similar name... If so it could be this one:
If I am on the right track there is plenty of information at the link above




Q:   Diane says:- I live in Enniskillen in Northern Ireland and I bought two fig trees which both died. Is my climate too cold for them?

A:    It may well be too cold and damp where you had the trees planted. All the
fig trees I have seen growing in the UK are placed up against a south facing
wall, away from the worst of the frosts and colder conditions...
Try looking at the link below, which gives plenty of helpful information
about fig trees:-


Q:   A reader asks: I have tried several times to grow Lobelia seed, but every year they just seem to flop over and die when they reach about 1/2" in height.

I place the seeds in lines just on the top of the soil, in compost, but as soon as they get to the above heightthey just flop over. I have tried to spray them with a spray but they still flop.

A:   It sounds as if your lobelia seedlings are dampening off.. Perhaps they are being started off too early when the days are dark and cold!

Damping-off is a fungal disease that can kill seedlings overnight. The fungus rots the stems at the soil surface, causing the seedlings to fall over and die. A way to control this problem is with improved circulation.

Try these tips below and see how it goes. Let me know if you are successful:-

  • Use quality, sterile potting soil to start your seedlings.

  • Before planting, make sure the compost in the seed tray has been well watered.

  • Sow seeds thinly. Crowded seedlings tend to damp off

  • Sprinkle a thin layer of sand or perlite on the surface of the soil. This step will keep the stems dry at the soil surface where damping-off occurs.

  • Prop the top of the seed-starting tray up a few inches to allow for air circulation.

  • Avoid over watering seedlings. A light misting may be enough if the soil was saturated thoroughly prior to planting.

  • Water around the base of the plants once they emerge from the soil to avoid wetting the foliage

  • Ensure good air circulation and avoid fluctuating temperatures

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

Edition 21 Edition 22
Edition 23 Edition 24

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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