Amateur Gardening 22-May-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.

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51 Números

en este número

1 min.
editor letter

“In late April, I dug three trenches and planted seed potatoes straight into the soil in my border, rather than the containers I’ve had so much success with in the past. I wanted to try the traditional way for myself. However, after all the space had been filled, I still had 24 spuds left. So I decided to plant the remainder in containers to give me the chance to test how peat-free compares with conventional peat (see page 6). I’ve heard good reports about peat-free and I have been using it, but this is a genuine opportunity to see the results in terms of crop yield and size in a controlled environment, albeit a natural one. Roll on, July!” Contact us: Subscriptions: 0330 333 1113 Editorial: 0330 3903732 Email: Advertising:…

2 min.
fill the garden with colour

AS far as I am concerned, anything that comes under the banner of ‘brightly coloured annual’ is fair game as far as summer bedding is concerned. There is something absolutely joyous about filling your beds, borders and containers (which I will be looking at next week) with one-season wonders guaranteed to bring colour and fun to the garden for the next few months. There are the traditional stalwarts, the begonias, petunias, busy lizzies, antirrhinums and pelargoniums, which pack a real summery punch when planted en masse to form blocks of colour in a bed. Then there are the more exotic options, which people don’t necessarily consider to be ‘bedding’, but will gussy up your garden a treat this summer. Cosmos in every shade from bright orange to shell pink, flamboyant zinnias, osteospermum and…

4 min.
the ultimate in recycling

THE hanging basket I planted up last autumn is starting to look rather battered in parts after spending six months swinging in the elements. Some of the plants are still looking healthy, so I wanted to salvage these and reuse them in the garden. In particular, there is a beautiful silver-leaved Cineraria, a jaunty yellow pansy, a hart’s tongue fern and a trailing thyme that I will add to a rockery. It can be tricky easing the plants out of their container, so water them first to soak the compost and once they are free, carefully tease the roots apart to separate the plants from each other. The fern has been rehomed in a shady spot, the Cineraria is now growing alongside some alliums, where its foliage will provide beautiful contrast, and the…

3 min.
ag’s compost head-to-head

LIKE a lot of AG readers I have been using peat free compost for a while now, but I’m still not entirely sure how comparable it is to peat. I think there is a doubt in many people’s minds about this: they want to change, they are prepared to pay the extra cost, but what about the results? The best way for me to answer this for myself is to conduct a test. So using some leftover seed potatoes, I set up 12 containers: six with peat (on the left) and six with peat-free (on the right). The potato variety is ‘Desiree’, the peat compost is Westlands Jack’s Magic and the peat-free is Westlands New Horizon specialist veg compost. I can’t claim this test to be scientific, but it is honest and no different…

3 min.
cutting back early colour

ALTHOUGH our garden has extremely chalky soil, one of its late winter/early spring glories is a vast mound of pink early heather. If this seems wrong on such alkaline soil, think again, because winter and spring-flowering varieties (Erica carnea, Erica x darleyensis and Erica erigena) will grow well in most soil types. It is their more picky summer-flowering cousins, the Erica vulgaris strain, that require an acidic soil that is lighter in structure, which is why they are usually found on heathlands where the soil is thin. Early-flowering heather is a spirit-lifting addition to the garden. It provides a stunning start to the gardening year, heralding the arrival of brighter days and giving a gorgeous splash of colour against fresh green grass and springblue skies. More importantly, our vast outcrop of colour offers important…

2 min.
spring bulb aftercare

THE combination of tulips and daffodils swaying in the sunshine is a quintessential sight of spring. Now, sadly, their best is passed and all that remains is withering leaves and untidy borders. This is one of the most important parts of their annual cycle and how you treat them now will influence how well they perform next year. Always deadhead your plants, so energy goes into growth not producing seedpods, and let the foliage die down naturally (see panel on the right) as this process feeds the bulbs so they have energy for next year’s show You should always water and feed the leaves as they die and this is especially important this year as April was such a dry month. If your bulbs didn’t flower as well as you hoped, with several coming…