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Amateur GardeningAmateur Gardening

Amateur Gardening 16-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.

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51 Edities


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get to grips with seasonal problems

1 Honey fungus is the name for several species of Armillaria fungi that attack and kill the roots of woody and perennial plants. Symptoms include white growth between bark and wood and clusters of honey-coloured toadstools in autumn. There is no control – all you can do is remove the tree, stump and root, so there is no plant tissue left to feed the fungi. 2 Aphids are small sap-sucking bugs that weaken, stunt and distort plants and exude sticky honeydew, causing sooty mould to form. Rub them off with your fingers, encourage predatory insects such as ladybirds, or control larger colonies with a natural pyrethrum insecticide. 3 Moles are active in spring and will disfigure lawns and borders, and disrupt and hinder plant growth by leaving roots dangling in empty air…

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start tender tubers into growth

DAHLIAS and big blowsy begonias, which take centre stage in many summer gardens, come from humble beginnings. Both shoot from tubers, though dahlias can be left in the soil in milder areas while begonias need lifting, drying and storing somewhere frost-free. Early spring is when healthy stored tubers will start sprouting again, and newly bought ones can be started off. The bulbous ‘fingers’ of dahlia tubers should be potted up in general-purpose compost, and the rounded begonia tubers are set hollow side up on pots of dampened compost. Both tubers should soon shoot and you can use these to make more plants for free. In the column, right, I show how to propagate dahlias using this spring’s new shoots erupting from the tubers. Below, I start off this year’s tuberous begonias for containers…

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how to pot up begonia tubers

Tuberous begonias are the stars of the summer’s baskets and containers. Their tender tubers should be dried and overwintered somewhere frost-free and then started back into growth the following spring. Simply fill pots with dampened multi-purpose compost and nestle the tubers into the top, their hollow sides facing upwards. Place them somewhere light and warm – a windowsill is ideal – and keep the compost damp. Leaf shoots will soon start to appear and the tubers can be planted up.…

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rockery and alpine care

EARLY spring is the perfect time to renovate your rockery, add new stone, give the plants some love and replace any that didn’t survive the winter. Check that the stones are securely set in the soil and firm in those that have worked loose, replenishing the gravel in between. If you are adding more stones, use locally sourced ones in keeping with the surroundings, and buy reclaimed or salvaged natural pieces of differing sizes, so your rockery looks as naturally created as possible. Alpines are sturdy little plants suited to hostile, high-altitude environments. They are not, however, typically happy in our mild, damp winters. These low-growing beauties can be swiftly swamped by weeds that grow all year round, and sitting on cold, constantly wet soil can cause their foliage to rot. Use the…

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what’s on

16: Orchid Days with Ian Parsons of the British Orchid Council: Brimsmore Garden Centre, Tintinhull Road, Yeovil, Somerset, BA21 3NU. ✆ 01935 411000, thegardeneronline.co.uk 16: Plant Hunters’ Fair: Carsington Water, Ashbourne, Derbyshire.planthuntersfairs.co.uk. 16-17: Sweet Pea Workshop: RHS Harlow Carr, Crag Lane, Harrogate, North Yorks HG3 1QB. ✆ 0203 176 5830, rhs.org.uk/gardens/harlow-carr 17: Rare Plant Fair: The Bishop’s Palace, Wells, Somerset BA5 2PD. ✆ 01278 661352, rareplantfair.co.uk 17: Plant Hunters’ Fair: Alderford Lake, Whitchurch, Shrops SY13 3JQ.planthuntersfairs.co.uk. 19: Photography Talk and Slide Show, Ruislip Central Hort Soc, St Lawrence Church Hall, Bridle Road, Pinner, HA5 2SJ. (7pm for 7.30pm, £5 plus concs) 19: Grafting for Beginners: RHS Garden Rosemoor, Great Torrington, Rosemoor, Torrington, Devon EX38 8PH. ✆ 0203 176 5830, rhs.org.uk/gardens/rosemoor 19: Plant Pests and Diseases: RHS Garden Hyde Hall, Creephedge Lane, Rettendon, Chelmsford, Essex CM3 8ET. ✆…

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the art of pruning fruit trees

THERE are two basic things you need to know when winter-pruning trees. First, the harder you cut a healthy tree, the stronger it is likely to grow. This means that if your tree is too large for the space available, pruning back is not likely to help. Second, when pruning apples and pears, you need to be able to distinguish been fruiting and growth buds. Our aim is to get the right balance between the two, if we are to get the best harvest each year. “Think twice before you cut once, and if in doubt – don’t” It is both a science and an art. The science comes in understanding what makes the tree grow, flower, set and produce fruit. The art is in achieving a tree that and advice cut looks…