Amateur Gardening 5-Jun-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

3 min.
the year’s first cuttings

EVERYTHING should be growing healthily in your garden, but there may still be gaps in borders that you’d like to fill. Plan ahead for next year by taking softwood cuttings from some of the many perennials and deciduous shrubs, including pelargoniums, penstemons, verbena, buddleja, fuchsia and lavatera, that may be growing in your garden. They are called ‘softwood’ because you use healthy, non-flowering plant material that has grown this season that it is still soft and sappy as it hasn’t had time to ripen and harden. Unlike growing from seed, plants propagated in this fashion remain ‘true’ to their parents when it comes to foliage and flower colour. Taken now, they will grow through summer and can either be planted out in autumn or kept undercover until next year once the frosts have passed. This…

2 min.
make more houseplants

YOU can propagate houseplants now they are growing strongly after winter, and African Violets and streptocarpus are two of the easiest varieties. Both can be reproduced by taking leaf cuttings. With African violets, remove a healthy leaf and insert it in a pot of seed compost mixed with perlite, vermiculite or grit. Seal the pot in a plastic bag and place it somewhere warm and light. Keep the compost damp and in a few weeks little leaflets will emerge from the stem. You can multiply your streptocarpus collection using healthy leaves, too. Either cut one lengthways on either side of the central spine and remove it, then insert the cut edges of the two half-leaves into damp, gritty compost. Alternatively, cut the leaves widthways and, again, insert the cut edges of the pieces…

4 min.
garden trade and peat issue

THE use of peat in horticulture continues to be the industry’s hottest topic, with charities such as Garden Organic, the National Trust and the RHS trying to wean gardeners off using the material, backed by Government initiatives. AG has been talking to industry leaders about how they are moving towards a peat-free regime – and why it has taken so long. Keith Nicholson, marketing director Westland, said the brand has spent the past two decades working to reduce the peat content in its growing media. It’s New Horizon peat-free range has proved very successful and the company is working hard to find a reliable alternative to peat for the remainder of its growing media. Keith said: “We have been on this journey for the past 18-20 years and spent £38-40 million on…

2 min.
our houseplant horror!

SOMETHING is afoot in the lounge, and I don’t like it. In recent weeks we have found three adult vine weevils stalking the room, which has been unnerving to say the least. They were swiftly evicted, but the question is ‘where did they come from?’ I suspect they overwintered as creamy, brown-headed grubs in the compost of one of the room’s many houseplants and my money was on either a weeping fig that has been slightly droopy and sad for some time, or a new white jasmine salvaged from a garden centre ‘TLC bin’. While the grubs eat the roots of plants, the large brown adults with their slightly drooping snouts bite notches on the edge of leaves, though I haven’t seen any evidence of their feasting indoors. Pests are common on houseplants after…

2 min.
on your marks, get set, sow

IF you have done most of your summer planting and your beds are full of perennials and bedding, it’s time to fill any remaining gaps with some quick-growing seeds. Many summer annuals take just a matter of weeks to go from seed to flower, and if you scatter them now, they will soon flourish in the warm soil. I like to mix a variety of quick seeds in a pot and scatter them throughout any empty areas in our beds. This year I’m sowing a mix of poppies, scabious, nigella, marigolds, California poppies and schizanthus. Hopefully several of them will selfseed too, and grow again next summer. The key to success here is to choose your site (a sunny, sheltered spot will get the best results) and prepare your soil well, clearing it of weeds,…

1 min.
bring on the butterflies

IF the unseasonably cold and dry start to spring was hard for us, spare a thought for our pollinating insects who turned up on time, only to find that many of the garden plants they rely on for food were several weeks behind their usual timetable. Things have caught up now, but our vital garden insects – the bees, butterflies and other winged creatures that help fertilise our plants – still need our help, especially as many of their natural habitats are being lost to intensive agriculture and development. Give them a reason to flock to your garden with this week’s free seeds, a special mix designed by Mr Fothergill’s to feed and nurture our butterflies. The mix may vary from packet to packet but its contents may include corn cockles, poppies,…