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Amateur Gardening

Amateur Gardening 22-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.
late winter greenhouse jobs

THIS winter has felt like the longest, greyest and soggiest in living memory, and when the garden has been too wet to contemplate, the greenhouse has provided an excellent refuge. For the past few months it has been packed with plants jostling for space, including a lemon tree, an olive tree, winter salads growing in last summer’s growbags, plus lots of cuttings and tender plants lifted and brought in out of the cold. By visiting regularly I have managed to keep most of the plants healthy, and hopefully they will be ready to start the move outside when the weather warms up. There have been one or two casualties (in this case, old pelargoniums) that I’ve consigned to the compost heap. There’s no point being sentimental, because once the surviving plants start putting on…

1 min.
greenhouse checklist

1 Removing dead and damaged plant material makes the plant look better and also removes any potential entry points for pests and diseases. 2 Most dormant plants get through winter without water, but if any look lacklustre or are starting to ebb, a drink now won’t hurt them. 3 I use a houseplant 2-in-1 insect spray and invigorator to help keep overwintering plants in tip-top condition in the greenhouse. 4 Pests often have better access to your coldframe than the greenhouse, so look over your plants regularly for signs of trouble.…

3 min.
where to put your greenhouse

Colour me beautiful: Cheer up the chilly days by planting summer-flowering bulbs now, while the best choice is still available. In next week’s AG we show you what to buy and how to get the best results. IF you have room in the garden for a greenhouse (and sufficient finances), but haven’t yet made the move to get one, do so – it’s the best investment you can make. If you don’t have the room or a budget that stretches that far, a coldframe or mini greenhouse are excellent alternatives. You can’t just plonk a greenhouse down anywhere and expect success, though. Siting your greenhousee involves care and thought. Ideally, place it on an east-west axis to maximise winter sunlight. It needs to be somewhere sheltered and not close to hedges, which can…

1 min.
decline in bee species

THE number of bee species is in steep decline, according to the Global Biodiversity Information Facility. Scientists have discovered that they are collecting almost half the number of species as in the 1950s, when around 1,900 species were logged. The main threats to bee biodiversity are pesticides, monocrop cultivation leading to a smaller variety of plants, and pathogens spread by the global bee trade. “This is the first study suggesting that bee decline is a global process, and that the most significant changes have occurred in recent years,” says Margarita López-Uribe, a bee evolutionary ecologist at Penn State University. Previous bee studies have reported falling populations, but evidence has often been limited to Europe and North America. Numbers of western honeybees (Apis mellifera) decreased in USA and Europe. In the 1950s, collectors noted…

5 min.
grow your own washing-up scrubs

Got a story? Call 01252 555138 or email ruth.hayes@ti-media.com AMATEUR Gardening readers are being asked to follow the National Trust’s example and grow their own washing up sponges! The team at the Trust’s Knightshayes estate in Devon have harvested their first crop of loofahs, which staff and volunteers are using to wash up in the property’s kitchen. Compost them after use The loofahs are much more environmentally sound than plastic pan scourers and can be added to the compost heap when they wear out. Kitchen garden supervisor Bev Todd said: “Many people think loofahs are sea sponges but they’re actually the fruit of Luffa cylindrica, a vine in the cucumber family. “Once they’ve matured, you can turn them into sponges for doing the washing up.” Bev continued: “We have 80 volunteers and nine staff in our outdoor team, so…

1 min.
book review

Regrow Your Veggies by Melissa Raupach and Felix Lill (Companion House Books, £14.99) AS plant-based diets are the bandwagon du jour and more people start growing their own, this timely book explains how you can increase your crops – by growing from scraps and peelings! While it won’t add up to your entire vegetable quota, it will go some way towards it. Armed with growing tips from the front of the book and following the simple guides for each variety, Regrow shows you how to get a second flush from several herbs as well as potatoes, onions, spring onions, Chinese cabbage, pineapple, avocado and mango (do note that this is an American book and you are unlikely to get these to fruit in the UK). Most of the instructions are variations on taking cuttings…