Home & Garden
Amateur Gardening

Amateur Gardening 27-Jul-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 Issues

In this issue

1 min.

“I am fascinated by the names we give to flowers in addition to their official botanical monikers, which you rarely hear spoken. Many of these ‘local’ names are charmingly rustic or fun, and some are simply strange. My mother grew swathes of antirrhinums, and as a child I loved squeezing their sides to make their ‘mouths’ open. However, I didn’t know them as ‘snapdragons’ but as ‘bunny rabbits’. I’ve no idea where that name came from! Does anyone else know of obscure names for popular flowers? I’d love to hear them.”…

2 min.
baskets and containers

CONTAINER growing is at its peak now, and whether you are cultivating colourful patio pots, single shrubs, fruit or veg, there will be a lot to keep up with. Containers are a brilliant and convenient way of growing things, but they do need extra love and attention as they carry limited supplies of food and water, and the plants can become sitting ducks for pests and disease. Feeding, watering, evening pest patrols and regular cutting back and deadheading are all part of the summertime pot routine, and although we are well into summer now it isn’t too late to create a basket or pot for late summer/early autumn colour. The basket I chose to plant up is faux-rattan, and apparently extremely weatherproof and durable. It came lined with plastic and had circular holes…

1 min.
four jobs for top pots

1 Give annual pots a fortnightly dose of potassium-rich tomato feed. Container trees such as lemons may need a more constant fertiliser, such as slow-release granules or a dripper feed. 2 Deadhead container roses after flowering and feed with a granular fertiliser such as Toprose. Keeping them healthy helps them to ward off problems such as black spot. 3 Stand plants in water before planting. I add liquid feed if they look a bit peaky. Water-retaining grains reduce the amount of watering needed in pots of standard compost. 4 Good hygiene is essential. Wash pots before re-using them, to remove contaminants. Standing pots on feet lets excess moisture escape and reduces the risk of waterlogging.…

1 min.
pests and problems

Containers can be a magnet for pests and disease. Most prevalent of these is vine weevils. Adults eat the leaves while their creamy grubs gnaw the roots. First sign of a problem can be the rapid wilting of plants, which will recover if the problem is treated at once with a chemical or nematode. Slugs and snails also home in on pots and hide under leaves and around the rim. Overcrowded plants and poor airflow can lead to fungal problems such as Impatiens downy mildew. Plant thinly – plants soon grow to fill any gaps – and keep plants well watered and fed. Deadhead promptly and remove dead or damaged foliage before it attracts disease.…

1 min.
planting up a late summer basket

1 For ease of planting, stand your basket on a stable pot or bucket. Use fortified container compost for the best results. 2 Make holes in the side to accommodate trailing plants. The basket I used had ready-made holes and easy-to-cut plastic lining. 3 Add some compost, then place trailing plants first, wrapping their rootballs in clingfilm and feeding them through the side holes. 4 Once side plants are in, scatter a little more compost and carefully add the top plants without damaging any of the rootballs. 5 Infill between plants with more compost, firming it down as you go to give support to the plants and knock out air pockets. 6 Wet compost is heavy, so wait until you have hung your basket before watering well. Keep compost damp and check regularly for pests.…

1 min.
time to sow perennials

MANY of the seeds we sow are for seasonal fruit and veg or annual/ biennial plants for the border. It is a satisfying way of gardening without massive financial outlay. But what about perennials? Usually, they are sourced from garden centres, nurseries or online for varying prices and at different stages of maturity. Smaller types can be bought for a couple of pounds and may take a year or so before they start to flower. Larger plants are more expensive – sometimes eye-wateringly so – but are more likely to settle in fast and perform during their first year. Up until now, I have bought perennials, usually for pennies from a local nursery that has a stand at our local weekly market. But this year, I decided to grow a selection from…