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Amateur Gardening

Amateur Gardening 29-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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United Kingdom
Future Publishing Ltd

in this issue

2 min.
bright bulbs for summer

WHEN you think of a perfect summer garden, what image does your mind’s eye present you with? For me, it’s a riot of floral colour, shapes, heights, scents and textures, all set against a soundscape of singing birds and buzzing bees. And what really catches the eye are the borders, packed with a combination of plants, both annuals and perennials, their colours contrasting and complementing to create a glorious palette. No matter how long you have been gardening, the thought of creating such a spectacle can sometimes seem rather intimidating as you wonder how you can create this effect in your own garden. The good news is it’s relatively easy and doesn’t have to cost the earth. Annual plantings can either be grown from seed or bought in bargain multipacks and once your…

4 min.
planting up pots and borders

SUMMER is the high point of the gardening year when we enjoy our open spaces the most, so when planting up our gardens we need to make sure there is seamless colour from late spring to the first frosts. When choosing bulbs for your garden, buy a selection that will give you a succession of colour, I have chosen a selection of alliums that will flower in early summer, some Hymenocallis x festalis (also known as spider lilies and Peruvian daffodils), which will put on a show in July and August, a pink ‘Pretty Woman’ dahlia with bronze foliage for summer-long colour and some nerines for the autumn. Most of the bulbs will go straight into a bed or containers, but I am potting up the dahlia first, until it shoots, and then…

2 min.
planting a hazel tree

APART from those that fruit, two of the most useful trees in the garden are hazel and willow. They are beautiful and their wood can be cut time and again for a range of uses without killing the tree. Several years ago we planted a native hedge using little bare-root whips, including a number of hazels. One was left surplus to requirement and we were obviously loath to ditch it so we planted it up in a large pot where it flourished. We didn’t want this to be its ‘forever home’, so when an ancient viburnum died in the front garden, leaving room for something new in another area of hedge, we decided it was the ideal spot for the hazel. It has adequate space to grow, though it was quite a job…

3 min.
late-winter soil care

ALTHOUGH large expanses of our garden soil have been lying fallow for the past few months, that doesn’t mean it has been neglected. At the start of autumn we removed the past-it annuals, weeded and added a thick layer of compost to condition and supplement the soil through the winter. It was hard graft, but it has paid off now. Hardly any new weeds have come through among the spring bulbs and shooting perennials despite the mild winter, and those that have appeared are easy to remove as their roots are poorly anchored in the loose compost. All we need do is run a hoe through the small weeds and leave them to rot down on the surface. Larger perennials weeds such as teasels, dandelions and creeping buttercups should be completely removed with…

3 min.
restarting your begonias

TUBEROUS perennial begonias are the stars of summer baskets, containers and borders. Although they should be overwintered somewhere frost-free, they are not particularly fussy and in a sheltered, sunny spot will flower from summer right through to the first frosts. These are the big, blowsy begonias that produce a wealth of blooms in shades from deep pink to the palest apricot and yellow. Some varieties are trailing, which makes them perfect for hanging baskets, window boxes and tall containers, while others are more upright, thus providing mounds of colour for borders and containers. In the autumn, they are left to die back before the tubers are lifted, dried and stored in trays of barely damp sand in a frost-free (and pest-free) greenhouse, porch or shed. We had a couple of large pots…

2 min.
new plants on the way!

WHAT a difference a day makes! One fine Saturday this month, with a fresh breeze, a sizeable patch of my vegetable patch was dug, ready for sowing and planting next month. I needed that spell of fresh air and healthy exercise, having spent two long days at International Plant Fair in Essen, Germany, working through eight halls of the latest plants, horticultural equipment and, of course, thousands of visitors from all around the world. I saw a seed-raised ‘Adessa’ potato from Germany, which goes on sale as a 3½in (9cm) pot plant here in the UK in May. Several companies have been working on this – just think of all the transport costs and fossil fuel that would be saved if in future we did not have to transport tubers. Growing…