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Your Gardening queries - 25

May 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.  


A selection of your gardening queries.


May 2005     

Q:  Miriam has a query about her yew tree:

We have a problem with a yew tree which is dangerous and needs to come down. It is about 400 years old. I have heard that they will re grow if you take them down to about 5 feet high. Is there any truth in this?

A:  Yew trees become hollow with age, and perhaps this is the reason you need to fell it.. But I wouldn`t be surprised if it did sprout new growth from the
stump - why not try it and see?



Q: Susan`s pond needs repairing:

When thinning out the vegetation at the edge of my pond, I went a bit mad with the fork and stabbed holes in the butyl liner at the edge. The pond water level has since dropped by a foot despite heavy, continuous rain.
Would it be possible to put a patching piece of butyl under the holey one and what could I fix it with? What other alternatives do I have for fixing my well-loved wildlife haven?  

A:  I`ve found a website that supplies repair kits for butyl liners here:-
I hope you can get away with not replacing the whole liner and at least it is at the edge and not in the middle..

Q: Animal mess in Roy`s garden: 

Please can you help, its the cat and mainly DOG dirt getting into and onto a garden and path. I would be very pleased if you could recommend a good chemical that will stop them coming anywhere near my plots. I must tell you that there is no danger of the public coming into contact with what you might recommend, so it can be just as strong as need be to clear my problem.  

A: You could try putting down some of the deterrents that are freely available from DIY shops.. Have a look at this link:  There is also a dog deterrent.

Apparently animals hate the smell of it.. They also hate pepper, the white powder type. It is most unpleasant to find animal mess in your garden. I hope you use gloves when touching the soil..



Q: A couple of identical Jasmine problems from readers, one of which is here:

I have had a jasmine plant in my garden for about a year, it looked lovely and climbed up the side of my window but three weeks ago it started to go brown, it looks very sad now, can you help?

A: It has generally been a mild winter and lots of early new growth on many plants seems to have been caught by frost.. Whereas the older growth will withstand frost, tender new growth is likely to get burnt..

If you don`t feel this is the problem, have a look in your gardening book, or online, to find out if it is growing in the correct conditions and aspect.
If cold weather is forecast, cover tender plants with horticultural fleece.



Q: David asks about laurel hedges:

Could you please tell me if Laurel bushes can be kept small like a hedge, and is it better to take cuttings or layer the branches and letting them root.

A: Yes you can easily keep Laurel hedges small. Prune them using secateurs. Avoid using a hedge trimmer or shears as this leaves the laurel's foliage looking shabby if the leaves are cut in half.
Take 15 - 20cm cuttings of mature wood of the current season's growth, any time between September to February. Cuttings root easily, even small branches.
Layering in autumn takes 12 months. I personally think cuttings give a much better result.



Q: Jon wants to make his stream safe for children:

I have a small stream at the bottom of the garden at the house I have just bought. I have two small children. What can I do to cover the stream and then grass over it so its not a danger to the children.

A: Try this website
The kit they supply can be put together to form any shape and is by far the safest way to protect your children.. If you grass over your stream perhaps the water will backup, causing problems elsewhere..


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
Edition 25

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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