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Amateur Gardening

Amateur Gardening 15-Feb-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.
feeding for the future

THINGS are stirring in the garden, so it’s time to give your plants their first feed of the year. Hopefully you haven’t fed anything since last summer because even though it’s been pretty mild so far this winter, fresh new shoots generated by autumn feeding will swiftly succumb to snap freezes and rot away in waterlogged conditions. In any case, plants that are dormant won’t take up nutrients from the soil, so feeding in winter is simply a waste of time and money. But now the sap is rising and growth has resumed you can help your trees and shrubs by giving them a generous feed with slow-release fertiliser as they are getting started. Gardeners used to rely on well-rotted organic matter supplemented by traditional fertilisers such as Growmore or blood, fish and…

1 min.
best use of fertilisers

1 Clear the ground around the plant you’re feeding so the fertiliser will benefit the plant and not the surrounding weeds. 2 Scatter the required amount of feed around the plant’s root area (this extends to roughly the same spread as the branches). 3 Fork in the pellets or powder so it is incorporated into the soil around the plant, which makes it harder for it to be washed away or eaten by animals. 4 Adding a layer of compost or manure helps keep the fertiliser in place and adds extra slow-release goodness to the soil.…

1 min.
giving plants what they need

YOU want the best products for your plants, but there are so many available now that the purchasing process can be a daunting one. Basically, the faster a plant is growing, the more feed it needs, which is why liquid feeds that are easily taken up are so popular in summer when plants are growing, flowering and fruiting. Foliar feeds are also useful when plants are in growth. They give an instant boost via the leaves and quickly counter nutrient deficiencies. They do require regular applications, though. Granular feeds, such as Growmore or Vitax Q4, last longer than liquids but still need to be re-applied every six weeks or so in summer. Start using them now and continue until late summer as they encourage plants to flower more vigorously and for longer. Powdered organic…

1 min.
the choice isn’t as confusing as it seems!

1 There are many reliable all-round fertilisers available that are updated and improved each year. 2 Miracle-Gro all-purpose comes in several formats including cones pushed into the soil (great for pots). 3 One application of Osmocote can feed for a season. It releases its nutrients as plants need them. 4 Rose feeds can be used in pots or borders. They are applied from February to June and forked in. 5 Ericaceous feeds help lime-hating plants such as rhododendrons, camellias, azaleas and blueberries. 6 Some feeds are applied at planting to boost roots and flowers and regulate water uptake.…

1 min.
fertilisers versus organic matter

We are always saying how beneficial compost is to your plants, but it shouldn’t be confused with using fertilisers. Commercial feeds give a prescribed boost of nutrients, either for strong growth, roots, or flowering and fruiting, whereas compost is better used as a healthy growing medium or soil improver. The exceptions are the specialised brands for houseplants, cacti and container plants, as these have the necessary supplements needed for the relevant growing conditions. Adding well-rotted compost, manure or leafmould to your borders now will feed the soil and create a better habitat for plants. It also improves the soil’s structure, making it more free-draining and able to hold on to nutrients better.…

2 min.
gifts for a loved one

1 Rose ‘Darcey Bussell’ is the ultimate romantic Valentine’s Day gift. Named after the dame and retired ballerina, this deep-pink shrub is a repeat-bloomer and is happy in containers and borders. The scent is light-medium. (£18 bare-root, £24.50 potted, davidaustinroses.co.uk, or call ✆ 0800 111 4699). 2 We all want to help beleaguered bees and Sally Coulthard’s latest book The Bee Bible: 50 Ways to Keep Bees Buzzing is a great place to start. Sally explains why their numbers are declining and lists 50 ways to help them, starting with turning your garden into a bee haven. (Anima, £10). 3 If gardening plays havoc with your hands or you have a loved one with dry skin or eczema, try Balmonds Skin Salvation. A natural soothing balm that moisturises and relieves soreness, I’m…