Amateur Gardening 24-Apr-2021

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 Números

en este número

1 min.
editor letter

“There is something special about making the first cut of the lawn in spring. While a lot of time was spent in the garden over winter, it was primarily to accomplish tasks of preparation: building compost sites; clearing old roots and plant debris; pruning roses; and planting umpteen flowers, shrubs and a tree. At times the garden seemed more like a workplace than one of joy and wonder. But it is that first cut of the lawn, preceded by some vigorous edging work, that turns a workplace into a garden. Now daffs, primroses, hyacinths and just-opening tulips truly come to life as though refining the lawn was the final part of the puzzle, bringing the garden into sharp focus. The next step is scarifying and seeding – the work is…

3 min.
the pleasures of a pond

A GARDEN pond is a brilliant way to waste time! Since we put ours in two years ago I have spent countless hours gazing into it, watching the snails and water beetles, admiring the plants and sadly searching in vain for frogs or at least a newt or two (we need to encourage our neighbours to put in ponds as well, I think). Ponds are a great addition to any garden. They add a calming, soothing element for us and are also a major attraction for wildlife. Flying aquatic insects soon find their way in (exactly how they locate a new pond is beyond me), followed if you are lucky by frogs, toads and newts. Birds will probe around the edges for food and nesting materials and mammals will use it as…

3 min.
where to position a pond

WHEN decided where to place your pond there are a few things to take into consideration. It needs a sunny spot out of the prevailing wind, so that aquatic plants will flourish and to attract wildlife. Ideally position it away from overhanging trees and shrubs, which give too much shade and may clog the water with fallen leaves and twigs. However, wildlife does like a quick escape route for protection, so grow ornamental grasses or build a habitat pile close by where amphibians can hide and hibernate. If you want a wildlife pond think twice about adding ornamental fish, as they will eat aquatic insects as well as amphibian eggs and spawn. They are also likely to become a fish supper for the neighbourhood herons! Putting in a pond takes a fair amount…

2 min.
give houseplants a boost

OUTDOOR gardening may be taking up most of our time now (so much to do!) but let us not neglect houseplants. They are growing again after winter just like their outdoors counterparts and need just as much care. Restart feeding, and water them whenever their compost feels just dry to the touch. As the temperature rises, stand them on trays of pebbles that are kept damp to create healthy humidity around their leaves. Now they are growing again you can re-pot or divide those that are cramped in their current pots. The roots will make the most of the fresh compost and they will grow well. If you have a hippeastrum (amaryllis) that has finished flowering, cut back the stem and move it to a shaded part of the greenhouse but keep feeding…

2 min.
sowing annuals in a border

FEW things are more glorious than a colour-packed garden border, former gaps between perennials filled with the joyful colours of summer annuals. Now the weather is warming up, the soil is too, which means you can start sowing hardy annuals directly where you want them to go. We must still be more cautious with half-hardy varieties such as gazanias and nicotiana though, as these can still fall foul of our temperamental spring climate so should be started off undercover for a few more weeks. Soil preparation is key when sowing direct. If it is too heavy and holds onto water, seeds can sit and rot, and if it is poor and thin it will lose nutrients. Dig in lots of well-rotted compost or manure to open up heavy, compacted soil, improve drainage and add…

2 min.
toughen up your plants

TS ELIOT had a point when he wrote ‘April is the cruellest month’. For while it is a month of increasing warmth and sunshine, it can also be beset by snap frosts that play havoc with our gardening plans. Early fruit blossom such as pear can fall foul of an unexpected cold snap, so you lose your fruit, and more tender plants can be trashed overnight. Luckily we have an array of weapons to help us protect our plants, from greenhouses and cold frames to fleece, bubblewrap and even old blankets. The process of acclimatising plants to outside conditions after months in a protected environment is called ‘hardening off’. Plants that overwintered in a heated environment should first go to an unheated greenhouse for a couple of weeks, with fleece handy for the coldest…