Amateur Gardening 14-Aug-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

2 min.
late summer shrub care

AS summer wends its way towards the final curtain – hopefully with a last hurrah of heat and sunshine – I have been spending time nurturing our smaller woody shrubs and carrying out last-minute midsummer pruning. This is the most important task as from September, silver leaf spores will start circulating again with the potential to infect late-pruned cherry, plum, gage, almond and apricot trees. It is a debilitating problem that turns the foliage a silvery colour before infecting woody material, and it enters the plant through pruning wounds. The spores are most widespread during damp spells in autumn and winter, which is why vulnerable trees are cut back in summer, when there is less chance of infection. Always use clean, sharp pruning tools that are cleaned and disinfected after use, and burn…

3 min.
making the most of herbs

WOODY herbs such as sage and lavender are coming to the end of their flowering now and can be tidied up and their flower heads saved to scent the home. I am loath to deadhead lavender at this point as the bees are still flocking (or swarming) to it to drain every last drop of its pollen. But I do like to collect a few handfuls of English lavender stems to dry and store to scent the home, as the perfume lingers even when the flowers start to go over. I leave alone the French lavender, with its bulbous, tufted flowerheads, and only snip off the faded flowerheads to keep the plants shapely. Harvesting English lavender is easy; just grasp a handful of stems and cut through using a sharp knife, secateurs or scissors.…

3 min.
northern ireland seed debacle continues

NORTHERN Ireland gardeners are still effectively unable to buy seeds by mail order from mainland UK because of complex post-Brexit rules, writes Matthew Appleby. UK seed companies are not selling packets of seeds direct to customers in the province because after the UK left the European Union in 2020, all seeds intended for planting moving to Northern Ireland require a phytosanitary certificate and require pre-notification, making individual seed-packet sales impossible. Kings Seeds’ horticultural director Andrew Tokely said: “We are not exporting any seed to Northern Ireland, or Ireland, due to costs and import complications – Animal and Plant Health Agency rules. So we are only servicing customers in Great Britain.” Northern Ireland Protocol The rules are in place because of the new relationship between the EU and the UK including the Northern Ireland Protocol,…

3 min.
how to use water wisely

WHATEVER climate change throws at us, the one thing you can rely on with a British summer is that we will complain when it is too hot and sunny, and grouch even more when it rains! But come what may, we will still have to water our plants, and as water becomes more and more precious, it is important not to waste it. There are several simple ways to optimise the water you use. Watering in the early morning or early evening, before or after the worst of the day’s heat, lets it sink into the soil before evaporating. Water slowly, so liquid has time to absorb where needed, rather than running off when compost or soil is very dry. You can also mitigate this by creating little moats around standalone plants that…

2 min.
so berry delicious!

LUSCIOUS homegrown berries are one of the highlights of the summer harvest and this year was no exception. Our strawberries and early raspberries were extremely generous in their fruiting and now that has finished, it’s time to repay that generosity with some seasonal care. Summer-fruiting raspberry canes that have cropped need to be cut to ground level now, and the best of this year’s unfruited canes tied back for next summer’s crop. If you have a large row of canes with new and old plants growing together (like ours!), the canes to remove are the ones looking past their best, with tatty, yellowing leaves and drying stems. You can also start propagating strawberries. Each summer, the plants throw out ‘runners’, long overground roots that develop tufts of new leaves at the end or…

2 min.
partial border renewal

STARTING a border from scratch is easy, while maintaining new plantings by regular hoeing for weed control or using a weed-suppressing membrane is also pretty straightforward. The tricky bit is when plantings of a perennial nature begin to grow too large for the space available for them and others are worn out. Woody shrubs can be pruned back and a good general rule is to prune after flowering, possibly taking out one third of the old branches each year, so that by the third year a shrub has been completely renewed. There are exceptions, though. Brooms (Cytisus) and lavender (Lavendula), for example, do not take kindly to being pruned back into old wood and are better lightly trimmed after flowering. “Lavender is a short-lived plant and most had died” The problem area was…