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Amateur Gardening


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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R1 024,74
51 Issues


2 min.
keep your houseplants healthy

GARDEN plants aren’t the only ones to be affected by autumn and winter; the onset of shorter, darker days brings about changes in houseplants, too. As light levels drop, most will enter a dormant phase and this means that the care we usually give them must change, too. Stop feeding and watering, because this will either encourage them to keep putting on soft, weak new growth, or cause them to rot if they are forced to sit for days in soggy compost. The exceptions to this rule are plants that flower or grow in winter, such as Christmas cacti, poinsettias, African violets and other festive ‘gift’ plants. “Pests are partial to a warm winter home” If plants don’t get enough light, as the days grow darker they may grow tall and weak as they stretch…

1 min.
sowing colour

Coleus are wonderful plants that bring variety and impact both indoors and in the garden. Their leaves are a dramatic explosion of colours, from acid green to bright pink and deep maroon, bronze and brown. Sown now, they will add colour to the home through winter and early spring, and then they can be hardened off and moved into patio containers and borders for summer. Sow the seeds thinly onto trays or pots of dampened compost. Cover with a thin layer of compost, add a lid or seal the pot in a plastic bag. Place in a light, warm spot and remove the covering after the seeds have germinated.…

1 min.
keep plants clean and tidy

1 Reduce watering to just a little every two weeks or when the compost is dry. Water succulents every three weeks and cacti not at all. 2 Wipe leaves clean of dust and pests so they can make the most of reduced levels of natural light. Deadhead regularly. 3 Pests love a warm winter house. Wipe off small colonies with a damp cloth and use chemicals as a last resort, taking care around pets. 4 A bottle lid of almond oil attracts and drowns compost fungus gnats. Take care cats don’t chew spider plant offshoots otherwise they will be sick! On the move: Perennials will still keep you busy as long as the ground isn’t frozen or waterlogged. Find out more in next week’s AG (available from 10 December).…

1 min.
giving festive gift plants a long life

Christmas is a peak time for the giving and receiving of plants, so here are a few key tips to remember. If you are giving a plant as a present, do choose one that’s appropriate for the person and home it’s going to. A monstera or massive yukka won’t be welcomed in a small house and a plant that needs lots of specific care is probably not ideal for busy people. When buying the plant, make sure it’s well wrapped before you leave the shop. Many houseplants are tender, and having sat in a heated environment can suffer even on a short, cold walk to your car or the bus. When you receive a plant, water it if the compost is dry, read and follow any care instructions, and check for pests. Quarantine and…

2 min.
ag drops plastic packaging

AFTER almost a year of research and working with our readers and contributors, and in a determined bid to be more environmentally friendly, Amateur Gardening has ditched plastic packaging altogether. From 11th January, 2020, our growing number of subscribers will receive their posted copies wrapped in completely recyclable and compostable paper bags instead of the usual plastic ones. This switch follows an experiment earlier this year, when subscription copies of the January 26 edition of AG were dispatched in compostable potato starch bags. We asked subscribers and our weekly columnists to subject the bags to ‘trial’ by compost heap, air and water, and let us know the results. Thanking readers for your help The verdicts took time to compile as the tests started in winter, when composting naturally slows down, but by early May…

1 min.
count the birdies

NEXT year’s RSPB Big Garden Birdwatch takes place from 25th-27th January, 2020. The national ‘citizen science’ event has been taking place in the nation’s gardens and parks for the past 40 years, and over four decades 137 million birds have been counted, giving the RSPB an astonishing amount of insight into how our feathered wildlife is faring. Rebecca Munro, RSPB director of communications, said: “Big Garden Birdwatch allows us to monitor trends and helps us understand how birds are doing. With results from so many gardens, we are able to create a ‘snapshot’ of bird numbers across the UK. Everyone has a role to play “The popularity of Big Garden Birdwatch shows just how passionate people across the UK are about their wildlife. Everyone has a role to play in saving nature and protecting…