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Planning Retirement Online

Your Gardening queries - 30

October 2005   

Amazon book - The Royal Horticultural Society: Colour Your Garden

Gardeners like to share their tips and information with others, so each month I put 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.


October 2005     

Q:   Box plants turning yellow.


Could you tell me why my box plants have turned yellow? They are still green in the middle but are bright yellow on the ends. They are being grown in pots.

 Yellowing of lower leaves of box plants is the earliest symptom of nitrogen deficiency. It will be a rather uniform yellowing that is more pronounced on the older leaves inside the plant. The leaves then become smaller and thinner and turn quite bronze in winter. Boxwoods may turn brown in winter as a result of winter injury also. Boxwood leaves will normally stay on the plant for three years. If they fall off earlier, this may be a symptom of nitrogen deficiency. If the box plants begin to show symptoms of nitrogen deficiency, then it may be time to fertilize.



Q:  Fungus growing through tarmac driveway

I hope you can help me. I am just about to have my driveway resurfaced with tarmac but over the past few months the original tarmac has been lifted in a couple of places by a fungus/mushroom type plant actually pushing up the tarmac. Naturally I wish to eliminate this problem before having work carried out on the drive. Can you advise on any solution I can buy to kill such a plant/fungus?

A:  You will undoubtedly have something organic growing underneath your driveway that the fungus is growing on.. It is possibly an old tree root that is rotting away.. As you will have seen, the toadstools are strong enough to lift the tarmac, but it will push back down once the spores die down..
The usual way to eliminate the problem is to dig the root out.


Q:   Difficulty growing parsley from seed.

They grow splendidly and make strong plants with masses of lovely dark green parsley - then a single sprig will begin to turn yellow and quite soon afterwards almost white, occasionally pink! This single sprig is soon joined by all the plants. It matters not the in the least whereabouts in the garden I grow my parsley the result is always the same. Any green sprigs which do escape seem to shrink until they are quite useless.

A:  Parsley prefers an open, sunny, well-drained position and rich soil. If it is to be grown in a pot, it needs a tall container as it has a long tap root. The seed is not easy to germinate, though if left to run to seed, self-seeding is possible. Soaking seed before sowing can assist germination. The addition of side dressings of blood and bone throughout the growing season will keep the plants lush and healthy. It is not generally bothered by pests.


Q:  No berries on my mistletoe

I have a 35 year old bunch of mistletoe growing on an Elison Orange apple tree. I started this from a berry growing on mistletoe on an apple tree in my father's garden. The big problem I have is that I never have any berries on it.
Any ideas as to what I can do to remedy this?

A:  You need at least two plants to produce berries.. See the website  Click on Conservation then Grow your own..



Q: Squirrels digging up my lawn.

We have a problem with squirrels digging up our lawn. Yesterday it was worse than usual,
so I filled in the 8 holes and reseeded, today I find they have dug it up again in the same place
and more.  

A: Squirrels are very difficult to get rid of. Apart from the two links at the bottom, I found the paragraph directly below this, which might explain why they are digging up your lawn...

 "Lawn damage that resembles golf divots in your lawn is an indication that your lawn is infested with grub worms. "Grubs" are the larval form of several species of Beatles. Animals dig up your lawn in order to find these grubs to eat. The solution to this problem is to treat your lawn in order to kill the grubs. If left untreated, the grubs will feed on the root system of your grass and may eventually kill the lawn completely."




Q: No flowers on my Philadelphus (mock orange)

I have a Philadelphus (mock orange) in a very large pot. It is two years old and about 4 foot high but it still hasn't flowered. Can you please tell me what I am doing wrong.

A:  The following information taken from one of my gardening books makes me wonder if your plant is growing in compost that is too rich and therefore making too much leaf at the expense of flowers.. Or it could of course, be one of those shrubs that takes a while to establish itself and flower..

Exposure: Full sun, partial shade
Hardiness: Hardy
Soil type: Clay/heavy, chalky/alkaline, dry, well-drained/light



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

Edition 27

Edition 29


Edition 26

Edition 28




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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