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Amateur GardeningAmateur Gardening

Amateur Gardening 9-Mar-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.

United Kingdom
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51 Edities


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time for a spring container

I LOVE this time of year, when there is a sense of expectancy and optimism in the air. The weather is warming up, the garden is starting to fill out with fresh colour and verdant greenery, and the garden centres are packed with spring plants begging to be bought. There’s something to suit every outdoor space, even if you only have a patio or room for hanging baskets and windowboxes, because all the bulbs and bedding on offer are perfect for planting up in small spaces. As an added bonus, once they start to fade, the bulbs can be stored and dried for next year and the bedding nurtured through until autumn, when it will start to grow again. If you have room, plant them straight out into borders and re-use containers…

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best spring containers

1 Succulents and sempervivum (house leeks) make wonderful container arrangements, especially when offset against shells or coloured glass. 2 Evergreen shrubs such as skimmia with flowers and berries are sure to make striking, low-maintenance creations. 3 Don’t limit yourself to dwarf varieties. Taller tulips mixed with other bulbs and bedding add height and contrast to containers. 4 For head-height colour and fragrance, hang baskets by your front door or plant up windowboxes where space is at a premium.…

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care for existing containers

CONTAINERS planted up last autumn will have borne the brunt of winter weather and need some care and attention. Bedding and bulbs will probably have lain quiet and not done much during the coldest weeks, but will be getting back into their stride now. Make sure they stay healthy by removing dead and damaged flowers and leaves that can attract pests and disease if left in place. If any plants have died off, remove them and check the compost is clear of soil-dwelling pests, then replace with new ones. Check under leaves and around the rim of the pots to make sure there are no lurking slugs or snails. Lift up pots that are standing straight on the ground, as pests can crawl underneath and make their way into the compost, where they may…

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plant a spring container of bedding and bulbs

1 Dunk your plants in water for an hour or more before planting, to saturate the roots and make them easier to slide from their pots. 2 Place crocks at the bottom, followed by container compost that is free-draining, moisture-retentive and packed with added nutrients. 3 Start with your central plant, teasing out any circling or congested roots, and placing at the same depth as its rootball. 4 Add the rest of the plants, taking care not to damage their roots. They will soon grow to fill any remaining gaps. 5 Raise your container on feet to let excess water escape, then water it well to firm the soil around the roots.…

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free seeds

Oh, happy day! This week’s free seeds are for one of my very favourite summer plants – Cosmos ‘Seashells Mixed’. The plants have fluted petals in shades of pink and delicate fronds of foliage. In a sunny, sheltered spot and with regular deadheading, they will flower right through the summer. Sow them into dampened seeds and cuttings compost, then cover with a fine layer of compost. I find modules the easiest way to go, with one or two seeds per space, so the growing plants are easy to pot on when large enough. Add a lid and germinate them somewhere light and warm. Alternatively, sow them directly into well-raked soil once the threat of frosts has passed.…

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battle lines drawn over slug pellets

PLANT growers are divided over the banning of the chemical metaldehyde, a key ingredient in non-organic slug pellets. Defra secretary Michael Gove banned the chemical after advice from the UK Expert Committee on Pesticides (ECP) and the Health and Safety Executive (HSE) that it posed an ‘unacceptable risk to birds and mammals’. The ban comes into force in 2020. It will be legal to sell metaldehyde products such as Doff Slug Killer Blue Mini Pellets, Westland Eraza Slug and Snail Killer for the next six months, and they can be used for a further 12 months. The government recommends that gardeners use non-chemical or ferric phosphate products including Vitax Slug Rid, Doff Super Slug Killer, Sluggo Slug & Snail Killer and SlugClear Ultra3. “The ban gives an edge to farmers from abroad” Metaldehyde pellets kill…