Amateur Gardening 2-Oct-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
Future Publishing Ltd
USD 2.66
USD 86.82
51 Números

en este número

1 min.
editor’s note

“Judging from last week’s letters about the poor quality of peat-free compost and lack of guidance on packaging, it is clear that AG readers are not confident in the quality or usage of the current peat alternatives. We went back to producers and the trade to get their response; you can read more on page 6. Perhaps the most extraordinary comment came from a trade representative, who felt there may not be enough room on the bags to print the guidance we are asking for. Really?! It’s not a packet of crisps, it’s a huge bag of compost! We need more guidance from every producer — I’m sure they can find the space to write it if they try.”…

2 min.
tender perennial care

AS temperatures drop further it is time to move some of your tender perennials into the relative snugness of a greenhouse or cool porch. Even here in the balmy south of the UK, pelargoniums, gazanias, fuchsias and agapanthus are all at risk of succumbing to winter’s chill so start making room for them in the greenhouse and taking cuttings to grow through winter in case any of the parent plants don’t make it through. I wrap pots of fuchsias in fleece and move them to the greenhouse, leaving the plants alone until spring, when I will hard prune and re-pot them. Our potted deciduous agapanthus are similarly swaddled, then laid on their side somewhere sheltered outside to avoid the compost becoming waterlogged during heavy rain. Waterlogged compost drives out the oxygen needed by roots,…

2 min.
plants left in the ground

Autumn lawns: Summer and winter can be tough on lawns, so in next week’s AG I show you how to give yours an autumn overhaul. NOT all tender plants growing in borders need to be lifted for winter – indeed, you may not be able to do so if they have grown too large. Evergreen agapanthus, which are generally less hardy than deciduous varieties, can be protected in borders with a thick mulch of straw, chippings, well rotted organic matter or Strulch (an enriching, straw-based mulch) over their root area. Dahlias and cannas are left in the soil until their leaves are blackened by the first frosts. If your garden is very sheltered you can leave dahlias in the soil through winter. Generously mulch over the tuber and root area and cut back…

2 min.
more peat-free guidance needed

Got a story? email LAST year UK horticulture used a whopping 2.3million cubic metres of peat (down from 2.8million in 2011), according to the Horticultural Trades Association, so there’s still a way to go. Achieving success when you go peatfree can require different watering and feeding regimes. A common challenge is working out when plants in peat-free compost need water, because it tends to dry out towards the top of pots, whereas peat dries uniformly throughout. PEAT FREE UPDATE Less water-retentive At peat-free supplier SylvaGrow, technical director Catherine Dawson said: “Most peat-frees probably hold slightly less water at full capacity than peat composts.” She advised: “Take a pot of peat-free compost and sit it in a bucket of water for an hour. Take it out, let it drain and its weight represents the full…

1 min.
clearer user guidance on packaging

THE garden trade has responded after AG asked if clearer guidance should be printed on compost packaging to explain how peat-free can behave differently to peat (AG, 28 August). The GMA’s Neil Bragg said it’s often down to lack of space on bags of compost – a problem that could become worse if the government adopts new EU fertiliser regulations in 2022 that would require more small print on compost packaging. Improving labelling won’t happen overnight, because suppliers have already ordered packaging for 2022. SylvaGrow’s Catherine Dawson said detailed advice is printed on compost packaging and is available via their website, but added: “We have made our compost similar to peat in terms of ease of use. However, the editor [of AG] is right – what we don’t say is that…

2 min.
weatherproofing for winter

WRITING this on one of those gloriously golden and wistful early September mornings, in the middle of a blue-sky Indian summer, it is hard to think about preparations for the winter months. But by October, the weather will have started to drop hints about the winter ahead, so make time now to weatherproof your garden as much as possible. Check your greenhouse and make sure it is secure and in good order, with panes firmly in place. Remove and replace cracked ones and check the framework is sound. Ensure gutters and drainage channels running to drains and soakaways from your patio are clear of debris and dead leaves to avoid flooding. If areas of the lawn are prone to waterlogging, aerate them with a garden fork and lay a simple stepping stone over areas…