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Amateur GardeningAmateur Gardening

Amateur Gardening 16-Feb-2019

Every week, Amateur Gardening is the first choice for both beginners and knowledgeable gardeners looking for advice and easy-to-follow practical features on growing flowers, trees, shrubs as well as fruit and vegetables. Be inspired, by our beautifully illustrated features covering plant and flower groups, both home grown and exotic, and take a sneak peek into some of the most beautiful private gardens around the country. Plus, every week we feature expert opinion and tips from some of gardening’s most influential exponents including Toby Buckland, Bob Flowerdew, Anne Swithinbank, Peter Seabrook and Jo Whittingham.

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51 Edities


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“There is much about gardening in the Victorian era that might not entirely suit modern tastes, but there is one idea from that period that I think is positively brilliant. Have you heard of an auricula theatre? It is a lovely visual way of displaying a series of auriculas, which were hugely popular with the Victorian gardener (see pages 32-34). Rather than getting lost in borders, the plants are displayed on a set of shelves at head height. Engaging, colourful, and fun. If you have some wall space to fill, then what about an auricula theatre?” Garry Coward-Williams, Editor…

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last-minute pruning

THERE are signs of spring everywhere you look, so use these last days of dormancy to finish off your deciduous winter pruning. Leave evergreens alone until mid-spring, as trimming them in freezing conditions can damage or kill them. Also leave grape vines and figs, as their sap starts to rise early and they will bleed excessive sap if cut now, which may weaken them and leave them vulnerable to disease. I have used these last days of winter to start to tackle our front garden, which is full of inherited shrubs that were planted so close together than none of them is thriving. The idea was obviously to create a privacy screen, but the plants are jostling for space, light, air and nutrients, and several of them are looking decidedly peaky. One poor Photinia…

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stay safe at work

Pruning can be dangerous and it makes sense to take adequate protective precautions. If you think the task is too big, call in reputable professionals to do it for you. If you do it yourself, enlist someone to help, steady your ladders, hold tools, make the tea, etc. Don’t injure yourself bending awkwardly or reaching too high. Wear appropriate clothing and safety gear – a hat and goggles if working high up or with whippy, thorned branches. Make sure your tools are well maintained; they should be clean, oiled and sharp.…

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what to cut back now…

1 Cut out 20% of old, congested wood when pruning shrubs such as weigela and philadelphus. They will flower much better afterwards. 2 Reduce buddleja stems to their base (this is known as stooling) – otherwise, it will become thuggish, straggly and flower less. 3 Take out 30% of old wood from established soft fruit bushes (like blackcurrants and gooseberries), making room for productive new growth. 4 Cut back woody herbs such as sage and thyme to emerging healthy shoots, removing tatty stems. Hang the off-cuts to dry for cookery. Confused by compost? Buy next week’s AG (in the shops February 19) for everything you need to know about compost. Which one to use, how, where and when.…

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getting rid of brambles and ivy

Whenever you come to thin a hedge or cut back a shrub, the chances are there will be ivy or brambles lurking. Ivy is relatively easy to tackle as it has no thorns and its roots lie shallow, so it can be pulled off as long as it isn’t too intertwined with other plants. It doesn’t directly damage trees or shrubs, and is good for wildlife, but its presence can indicate ailing or elderly trees. Brambles are more of a problem, as they have vicious thorns and root where their stems touch the soil. Cut them off just above ground level and carefully pull them free. Cut each length into sections to make removal easier. Cut up and compost the growth and either dig out the roots or kill them off with a weedkiller such…

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sowing your hardy annuals

ONCE the weather warms up, you can start sowing hardy annuals in situ. You could sow them now, but cold snaps are still likely and the longer they lie dormant, the greater the risk of being eaten by birds or mice, or rotting in cold wet soil. What you can do now, however, is prepare your seed beds so that when the weather bucks up you are ready to go! Decide where you want to sow your seeds and clear the soil of weeds and stones. Rake it one way, and then the other, to create a fine tilth – particles of soil with the consistency of crumble topping. You will need to weed it again before sowing if you wait for a few weeks, but the hard work is done. There are…