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Amateur Gardening

Amateur Gardening 11-Jan-2020

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

2 min.
keep the colours coming

THE days are slowly getting longer, but the promise of rich spring colour still seems some way distant. Don’t let that get you down, though, because there’s plenty you can do to give your garden an instant lift. Garden centres, DIY stores and supermarkets have plenty of spring bedding plants ready to get in the ground or in patio pots. Before planting up your borders, make sure the soil isn’t frozen or waterlogged. It’s a good idea to work off a plank or board at this time of year as the wood distributes your weight so the soil doesn’t become compacted. Have a good friend on hand to grab you if you think you’re likely to overbalance! If you are planting up a container, make sure any being reused are clean and whole…

1 min.
bedding and shrubs

1 There’s still plenty of bedding available, including violas, cyclamen and little pots of spring bulbs already bearing shoots to rapidly brighten up the garden. 2 Don’t worry about any spring bulbs poking through as they will be fine. Protect them from the worst of the weather with fleece held up on sticks. 3 Colourful grasses, such as this Phormium ‘Baby Bronze’, add structure and interest. Remove dead fronds when necessary. 4 Plant a shrub for winter colour. It may not do much this year, but it will look stunning from next winter onwards.…

2 min.
look after last year’s plants

BEDDING that went in last autumn should still be healthy, though it may have stopped flowering and its top growth may look as though it isn’t doing much. The roots will have kept developing right up until the end of last November, which means that come the warmer weather your plants will put on new growth and flower buds to give you a fabulous show right through until summer’s decadence takes over. You can get the best from your plants by checking them over every now and then, removing dead, damaged and diseased leaves, and deadheading where necessary. Check for pests and diseases. The leaves of low-growing pansies and bellis provide cover for slugs and snails, and if it is damp but too warm for frosts, fungal problems such as pansy/viola leaf…

1 min.
planting a pot of long-lasting winter colour

1 Line your pot with bubble wrap for insulation, making sure it doesn’t cover any drainage, and add crocks. 2 Almost fill the pot with container compost or John Innes No2 mixed with multi-purpose. 3 Place the central plant and tease out the roots. Place it at the same depth as its rootball. 4 Arrange other plants, with trailers on the outside and taller ones further in, that will grow to fill any gaps. 5 Protect the pots from slugs and snails by sticking copper tape around the outside. 6 Raise your pot on feet and then water it well to settle the compost around the roots.…

1 min.
prepare hellebores

Stunning Helleborus niger, also called Christmas or Lenten rose, will be starting to get ready to flower. Look out for this year’s new shoots poking through the ground within the circlet of old leaves. Make room for them and help keep them healthy by cutting away last year’s tatty foliage. This tidies the plant and reduces the risk of hellebore black-spot spores infecting the new growth. Mulch around the crown to feed the plant and lock any lurking spores in the soil so they can’t be splashed up onto the plant by falling rain.…

3 min.
join our peat-free scheme, says charity

LEADING organic garden charity Garden Organic is calling on AG readers to make the change to peat-free compost – and encourage their local retailers to do the same. The Coventry-based gardening charity has launched its ‘For Peat’s Sake’ campaign to highlight the depletion of global peat bogs, which it describes as an ‘environmental catastrophe’. The move follows in the wake of Defra’s announcement that it is considering taking action if the gardening industry fails to make changes. Gardening Organic says that the reduction in peat harvesting must be made mandatory. Peat is one of the globe’s most effective natural storage facilities for carbon gases, much more so than our forests. Cutting them up and draining them for growing materials and to fuel power stations releases vast amounts of greenhouse gases into the…