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Amateur Gardening

Amateur Gardening 17-Aug-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 Issues

In this issue

1 min.
keeping potted trees healthy

Trees and shrubs in containers can only access finite levels of water and nutrients, so they need more care than those in the ground. Feed monthly with blood, fish and bone or Vitax Q4 between April and September, forking it into the compost and then watering well. Acid-loving plants such as blueberries, azaleas and rhododendrons should be fed with an ericaceous fertiliser. In spring, repot, topdress and root-prune potted trees and shrubs.…

2 min.
look after trees and shrubs

IN summer, it is easy to devote all our time to getting the best from flowering plants and edibles. But do make time to look after trees and shrubs, especially those growing in confined spaces. Although most established ones growing in the ground can largely be left to their own devices, those planted within the past five years and any growing in containers will need help to stay healthy and productive. They also need regular checking for pests, especially vine weevil grubs that kill container plants by eating their roots. We have a potted willow that was growing fantastically until, literally overnight, its leaves shrivelled and it started to look very sickly. Watering and feeding did nothing to revive it so I treated the soil with a vine weevil drench. It is now…

1 min.
caring for woody herbs

WOODY, shrubby herbs such as lavender, sage, hyssop and rosemary can be cut back now after flowering to prevent them becoming sprawling, straggly and unproductive. Simply remove the spent flowers and up to a third of old stems, reducing them to a healthy pair of leaves. Next year and the year after, tackle another third so the plant is gradually regenerated and remains shapely. English lavender can be treated in this way now as new shoots will soon come through and harden off before the coldest days of winter arrive. French lavender is less hardy and just needs a gentle trim. This variety is relatively short-lived, so it is worth taking cuttings in autumn as an insurance policy for next year. Once these herbs have become woody and unsightly, it is almost impossible to…

1 min.
take cuttings of woody herbs

1 Fill a 4in (10cm) pot (ideally clay) with cuttings compost and perlite and water well. 2 Remove 4in (10cm) pieces of this year’s healthy, non-flowering growth using sharp secateurs. 3 Strip away all the large leaves from the length of the stem, leaving just the top tuft of foliage. 4 Dip the cut ends in hormone rooting compound, gently tapping off any excess. 5 Insert the cuttings around the edge of the pot so they don’t touch each other. 6 Seal the pot in a clear plastic bag or half a plastic bottle and place in warmth and light out of direct sun.…

1 min.
largest garden is a show highlight

THE largest show garden ever created was one of the centerpieces at this year’s hugely popular Game Fair at Hatfield House. Designed and created by students and lecturers at London’s prestigious Capel Manor College and stretching over more than an acre, the site was made up of themed gardens providing ‘an immersive and interactive experience’ outlining the history and heritage of our countryside and its estates, gardens and traditional skills. The garden was designed and built over a two-month period by the college’s RHS gold medalists, with each area designed by a different college student or apprentice. Create beautiful gardens The landscape included a herbaceous border complete with sculptures, a potager garden full of fruit and vegetables, a floristry and rose border with the finest British flowers, prairie planting, a leather workshop and an…

1 min.
alan’s new heritage potato quartet

ONE man’s mission to revive heritage potato varieties is giving shoppers more variety for their table. Hampshire-based potato expert Alan Wilson is growing four more rare heritage spuds after he successfully produced seven varieties last summer. The first of the varieties being introduced this summer will be ‘International Kidney’, which dates from 1876 and is used for popular ‘Jersey Royals’. Two more are top French salad potatoes: ‘Roseval’ is red-coloured and Alan says it’s his first choice for making potato salad, and the other is the oddly-named ‘Ratte’, dating from 1872, which is long and finger-shaped. The fourth variety, ‘Red King Edward’, was first produced in Scotland in 1916 and was always in the top 10 UK maincrop varieties until the 1960s. It’s a treat for the traditional Christmas roast. Varieties sold well last year His…