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Amateur Gardening

Amateur Gardening 21-Mar-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.

United Kingdom
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51 Issues

in this issue

2 min.
gardening for wildlife

I WAS writing last week’s AG upstairs when I was told to “look outside, quick!” There, on the garden fence, sat a large sparrowhawk, happily shredding a smaller bird. She sat there for a good 15 minutes, leaving just a scattering of damp feathers on the lawn. It was a wonder and a privilege to see, and proof – if proof were needed – that creating a wildlife-friendly garden is worth doing. It is no secret that our native wild animals, including birds and insects, are under threat from roads, housing developments, pollution and careless use of agricultural and garden chemicals, so it is up to us gardeners to help. Spring is the perfect time to start a wildlife-friendly garden in any sized plot. Start by growing insect-friendly plants, ideally native kinds. If…

3 min.
bring on the mammals…

WE all know that hedgehogs are one of our most endangered native species. With their natural habitats disappearing and the proliferation of dangerous roads they have to cross to forage, our gardens are becoming essential havens for this endearing mammal. There are lots of things we can do to help them, so start by leaving an area of the garden to grow wild. This will invite other wildlife to move in – including many hedgehog food species – and give the hedgehogs somewhere to hide, mate and rear their young. Other ways of helping them can be found in this week’s news pages (pages 6-7). It’s really important to think about the structure of your garden when you’re considering wildlife. Resist the temptation to Tarmac your front garden for extra parking. It…

6 min.
the latest stories from around the uk

Garden memories THE world-famous Botanic Garden of Wales turns 20 this year, and former volunteers and employees are invited to get in touch with their stories of the site and pay it a nostalgic visit. The garden, near Swansea, was opened to ‘conserve, educate and inspire’ its visitors. It was built on land originally owned by the Middleton family in the 1600s, who made their wealth through the spice trade. In the ensuing centuries, it included parkland designed by Capability Brown’s apprentice Samuel Lapidge and was divided into seven farming leases in the 1930s. The gardens were opened in May 2020 with the Lord Foster’s Great Glasshouse as its centrepiece. Now anyone who has been part of the garden’s history is invited to send in their memories and attend a celebration on 24 May. Garden spokesman…

1 min.
book review

RHS Gardener’s Quiz & Puzzle Book: 100 brainteasers for gardeners who know their onions By Simon Akeroyd and Dr Gareth Moore (October Books, £14.99) IN which Italian city was the first botanical garden established in 1545? Which herb has popular types that include spear, apple and garden? These are just two of the questions in the beautifully illustrated RHS Gardener’s Quiz & Puzzle Book, with brainteasers that range from fairly easy to the downright difficult. With this book, you can test your own horticultural and botanical knowledge or that of your friends, and it’s ideal for gardening quiz nights. There are questions covering subjects such as weeds, plant anatomy, wildlife, fruit and veg, and gardening through the ages. They range from anagrams, odd one out and multiple choice. This is a great book to test your…

2 min.
getting your roses ready

EARLY spring is when our roses return to life after their winter sleep, as new leaves and growth shoot forth. This is a vital time for making sure plants stay healthy and reach their full potential in the summer. I am also replanting two roses that I lifted and potted up before Christmas. The roses are growing well, so I need to get them back in the ground as soon as possible. Because roses are prone to replant disease, which can cause them to falter if they go back into the soil where they grew before, I refreshed their bed with lots of new compost and manure before winter. I will use fresh topsoil and compost when planting. You can also plant new roses now as the ground is moist and warming up. Check…

2 min.
bigger, better begonias

THERE are three distinct types of begonia: those grown from tubers in upright and pendula growing forms; the fibrous rooted Semperflorens begonias for bedding; and rhizomatous houseplant types. Cross breeding amongst the many hundreds (1,800, in fact) of different species in recent years has brought a wide array for indoor and garden use. It took 15 years of intensive crossing and selection to add fragrance to the tuberous types as in Begonia ‘Aromantica’ (upright) and B. ‘Sweet Spice’ (pendula). The latter makes an excellent basket plant, and at head height in a hanging basket, it is in a good position for you to savour the rose-like perfume on warm summer afternoons. “It took 15 years of intensive crossing and selection” Getting begonia tubers into growth is easily done by enclosing them in a…