Click here to print this page

Planning Retirement Online

Your Gardening queries - 31

November 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.


November 2005     

Q:   Geranium cuttings

I read in an old gardening book that you can take geranium cuttings now, dry them out and then store them in newspaper and plant them in the spring to bring them into life. Have you heard of this and can it be done?

  I have never heard of that method, but it sounds a great idea because I tend to lose cuttings taken in the autumn.. I prefer to keep the whole plant in the greenhouse over winter and take cuttings the traditional way, but in the spring.. Let me know how it goes..




Q:  Moving established honeysuckle

I need to move a Honeysuckle plant which has been in the same spot for 11 years due to building work being done at our next door neighbours house. What is the best way of doing this or is it unwise to move established plants?

A:   It is unwise to move such a well established shrub because the root system will be so big and many of them will get chopped off in the move, thereby reducing it`s chances of survival..

If leaving it is not an option, then follow these directions:

  • Wait until the autumn when all its leaves have dropped (or in the case of an evergreen, it is dormant)

  • Prune it right down to bare minimum to give the plant more chance to establish itself. Honeysuckles can be pruned back to almost nothing!

  • Water it well, leaving the hosepipe on it for about an hour, so the roots get a soaking.

  • Dig a new hole and mix in some good moist compost with the soil.

  • Dig up the honeysuckle retaining as much root as possible and plant it in its new position.

  • Water in well and tie onto a stake if you think it might get blown over.

  • Next spring feed it and keep it moist for its first year.


Q:   Hydrangea in poor condition

I recently planted 3 hydrangea. The 2 mop caps are doing fine but the lace cap's flowers have gone all soggy and bedraggled looking. have you any idea why, or what i can do about it?


A:   Because I don't know the conditions your hydrangeas are growing in, I have put a link here for you to see for yourself what the problem might be and what you can do about it.

Q:   Pruning roses


It is my first time of growing a rose bush. It is so beautiful to see the roses but now they seem to end and I would like to know what to do now, please could you advise me.

A:   Pruning roses is easier than you think, but takes a while to explain.. Have a look at the excellent instructions on the RHS site, which also has illustrations to make your task easier..



Q:  Caterpillars on my clematis

How do I get rid of caterpillars on my clematis plant? I sprayed then with soapy liquid and it did the job, but they`re now back again. They`re very small green ones. 

A: Do you have a gardening book to look up the type of caterpillar it is, or perhaps you could use the internet to find out? Once you have identified the culprit, spray your clematis with an appropriate pesticide. You will probaly have to leave it until next spring now the autumn is here.


Q:  Moving a young tree

We have purchased about 18months ago a Pea tree, but we have planted it to close to the fence. Can we move it and when is the best time?

A:   Always move trees and shrubs while they are dormant which stresses them less and they can spend the winter putting down better root systems.. Ensure you don`t damage too much of the root when moving it and keep a close watch on it for its first year after the move..


Q: Saving petunia seed


I'm a new gardener, and I had a lovely show of petunias this summer, many of which are still in bloom. However I have no idea what to do with them, should I leave them to sow seed or should I cut them back and take them out?

A:  You could save the ripe seed to grow next year, but they will be straggly plants with weak colours and not like the hybrid plants you have this year...
It is best to throw them away once they are past their best and buy new fresh seed for next year, or buy the small plug plants that are so popular now and are sold in supermarkets and garden centres..



Q:  Cucumber & Tomato problems


I have had great success with cucumbers this year, grown outside the first time for ages that I have had an opportunity to grow them. However, I have just had to throw 17 large cucumbers away as they had gone yellow. At first they were green and very nice and I kept the neighbours going as well. There are still about 7 large green ones left on the three vines. I fed and watered them as instructed, with rain water.

My lovely tomatoes are also going black, I have had pounds of fruit from the 9 plants and they are still heavy with greeny amber toms. some of which are suspect? Blight?




A: I wonder if you left it too late to harvest them, which should be done before any signs of yellowing and before they reach full maturity. You should expect around a dozen fruits per plant.

If this is not the reason, I wonder if the recent early frost we had in the UK damaged them and your tomatoes? 




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 31

Edition 26

Edition 28

Edition 30



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

Back to laterlife today

Site map and site search


Advertise on

LaterLife Travel Insurance in Association with Avanti