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HOW TO SOW SWEET PEAS

11 October
5 April
2014 2014

NEW

GET EM IN!

GARDE
PRODUNING
FOR 20CTS
REVEAL 15
ED
se

Shape up
your borders
with new shrubs
Best ever
autumn colour
Naturalise
spring bulbs
Grow BIG
garlic bulbs
ANNE
SWITHINBANK

Try my colourful winter container

HARVEST
SQUASH
Advice on
lifting and
storing fruits

wekly
e p28

GROW
A GENT

Enjoy blue
gentians, just
follow our guide

GIVE IT
A GO

New plants from


woody cuttings

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r
o
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This week in

GET IN TOUCH
01202 440840

wekly

O YOU struggle to
untangle runner bean
stems from cane
wigwams at the end of the
season? Heres how I do it:

EXPERTS HELPLINE:
0843 168 0200
(12-1 Monday - Friday)
EMAIL US...
amateurgardening
@timeinc.com

11 OCTOBER 2014

P8

EDITORIAL OFFICES:
Westover House,
West Quay Road,
Poole Dorset BH15 1JG

Practical

4
7

Advice on naturalising
spring bulbs in lawns
Greenhouse heater health
check, plus best options

Features

28
30
38

1 Cut all bean stems at soil level, &


any ties attaching them to canes

2 Lift the wigwam out of the soil


and lay it down on the ground

Special report from GLEE


garden trade exhibition
The best trees and shrubs
for autumn colour and more
Flower focus: The beautiful
blue-owered gentian

Start your Christmas


shopping early
save up to

HARDWOOD CUTTINGS
Step-by-step guide to help you get it right

P42

34%
on a subscription to

Amateur Gardening

Visit magazinesdirect.com/CBW4

0844 848 0848

3 Cut through or release cane


binding at the top of the wigwam

and quote: CBW4


Lines open 7 days a week 8am-9pm
(UK time). Overseas +44 (0) 330 3330 233

Expert advice
NATURAL BEAUTY
Weleda cosmetics biodynamic garden

4 Grab the bottom of each cane,


twist anticlockwise and pull hard

P10

5 Canes slip out easily, leaving


bean stem bundle to compost

Have a great gardening week.

TIM
RUMBALL
EDITOR

14
16
20
P12
22
37
59

SWEET PEAS

PLANT SHRUBS

Sow now for early owers

Its the right time to get them in

Visit our website amateurgardening.com


Use your smart phone to scan the QR symbol (right)
for instant access to the Amateur Gardening website.
Consult your phone supplier for suitable free apps.

Sue Stickland
Pumpkin & squash harvest
Peter Seabrook
House plant revival
Christine Walkden
Chicken wires a great tool
Anne Swithinbank
Ideas for winter pots
Bob Flowerdew
Grow bigger garlic bulbs
Toby Buckland
Take care with yucca!

Regulars

40
48
50

Six log baskets tried &


tested we pick the best
Tea break puzzles with
30 cash prize
We visit a Japanese-style
garden in Dublin, Ireland

Cover picture Lonicera Serotina

GAP

Your
Y

gardening
g
week
With AG eperts Graham Clarke and Ruth Haye

Welcoe!

There is a wide choice


of bulbs suitable for
naturalising in lawns
and under trees

HIS YEAR has been the


best year for some time for
growing sweet peas. We
have three stands in the garden
and thanks to regular deadheading
and watering, they have been
throwing out blooms and scent
for months now. I want next year
to be just as successful, so have
already sown my sweet pea seeds
for owering early next summer
and on page 10 I show you how.
We continue our spring bulb series
with naturalising in lawns, and also
tackle greenhouse heating (p7),
take hardwood cuttings (p8-9),
and plant trees and shrubs (p12-13).
Happy gardening!

TOP TIP
In grassy areas you intend to
mow, choose bulbs that grow and
ower early, such as crocus.
Daffodils are great for growing in
the lawn, but leave at least six
weeks after owering before
mowing, ideally until the daff
leaves have turned brown
and straw-like.

Ruth Hayes

AGS GARDENING WRITER

To enter the draw, send your name and


address on the back of a postcard to
Autumn All-in-One Draw, Amateur
Gardening, Westover House, West Quay
Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 1JG. Or email
your details to ag_giveaway@timeinc.com.
Closing date 15 October, 2014.

4 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

Natural selection

Ruth shows how to naturalise spring bulbs in your lawn


Westland

Aftercut Autumn Allin-One is specifically


formulated to keep
your lawn strong and
healthy over the winter
months. It helps feed
and strengthen grass
and also contains a
moss killer. The
container is reusable.
We have five to give
away this week.

STRETCH of grass speckled with


crocus, daffs or drifts of
snowdrops is one of the more
beautiful sights of spring.
Naturalising bulbs in the lawn is an easy
way of brightening up the garden. Bulbs
such as hardy cyclamen, crocus and
scillas also lighten dark, dry areas under
trees where few other bulbs will thrive.

Spring-flowering bulbs are planted in


grass in the autumn, so that turf can reroot while there is still some warmth.
Hardy summer-flowering bulbs can also
be planted now, but hold off planting
tender bulbs until the spring.
Watch for squirrels, which dig up tulip
and snowdrop bulbs. Slugs and snails will
also go for new shoots in late winter.

All TimeInc unless indicated

PRIZE DRAW

Your

Bulbs for the natural look


SNOWDROPS

DWARF DAFFODILS

Drifts of dazzling white


snowdrops are often the
first signs that warmer
weather is on the way.

Dwarf daffs give a cheerful glow


to the garden and grow well
scattered in lawns. Try varieties
Tete-a Tete or Minnow.

Wood
anemones bring
a delicate
beauty to UK
forests and will
thrive in and
brighten shaded
areas of the
garden under
trees and shrubs.

CROCUS

SCILLA

WINTER ACONITE

Another plant with


delicate-looking, star-shaped
or bell-shaped flowers that
are usually blue.

step by step NATURALISING BULBS

For a natural look, scatter the bulbs randomly


over the chosen area and plant them where
they fall, but not too close together.

Break up some of the soil from the plug of turf


removed with the bulb planter, and use this to
backfill around the bulb once it is in the hole.

Ever-popular crocuses look


lovely in grass, with petals of
yellow, white or shades of
purple, depending on variety.

Wikimedia Scilla siberica

ANEMONE

gardening
week

Also known as winter hellebore, these small


perennials have yellow flowers and like a position
in full sun or part shade.

ALTERNATIVE
PLANTING

Dig holes in the grass with a sharp, narrow


trowel or bulb planter. The holes need to be
three times the depth of the bulb.

Replace the turf on the top of the hole and tamp


down. Level the top of the turf plug with the
surrounding lawn surface and water in well.

Alternatively, when planting


small bulbs such as crocuses in
areas of grass, lift or roll back
sections of turf. Fork over the soil
and add a little balanced fertiliser,
such as Growmore. Score the
underside of the turf with a hand
fork to loosen the soil before you
replace it. Set your bulbs, then firm
the turf back in place, tamping
lightly with the back of a rake.

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Your

gardening
week

TOP TIP
For most people, simply
insulating the glazing with
bubblewrap,to keep
temperatures from plummeting
to outside levels, is all that is
needed. Invest in a max-min
thermometer to check
the temperature.

HEATING OPTIONS
Electricity:

Electric fan heaters


with a thermostat are a
simple and efcient
option, but bear in
mind that the outdoor
mains supply must be
installed by a qualied
electrician. Electric
heaters are easier and
safer to use. They do
not produce noxious
fumes or water
vapour, so ventilation
is not required, which
helps offsets the cost
of the electricity.

Parafn or gas:
The need to ventilate
freely when burning
reduces any savings
from using these fuels.
However, they are useful
for crops grown at low
temperatures. With
parafn heaters, you
must also remember to
trim the wick and topup regularly with fuel.
Bottled gas can
produce harmful fumes,
whereas natural gas
heaters need plumbingin professionally. Both
produce water vapour.

Make sure you check your


heater is in good working
order well before it is needed

All Time Inc.

Heater check-up

HOW MUCH HEAT?

AG editor Tim gets his greenhouse heater


ready for a season of winter use
OST OF us understand the
benets of heating a
greenhouse during the
coldest season keeping tender
specimens alive, propagating
plants, and forcing plants to ower
or fruit earlier than normal. Now is
the time to check your heater to
make sure it is in good (and safe)
working order. If you dont have
one and want one, nows the time
to invest!
To the right are the pros and cons
of the different forms of heating.
Most modern heaters will give
many years of trouble free service.
Just follow the manufacturers

instructions where maintenance is


concerned and youll be ne. But if
youve lost the instructions, here
are the salient points to remember:

TENDER PERENNIALS, such as


fuchsias just need a minimum
temperature of 5C (41F). Citrus,
conservatory climbers, cacti and
succulents benet from a minimum
of 10C (50F).
Heating to higher temperatures
than these is much more expensive,
and you might be better off moving
plants into the house.

BE SAFE, NOT SORRY


Avoid using or buying old heaters, as these
could be defective and may not meet the
current regulations.
All heaters must be cleaned and checked at
least annually, and should never be used in a
sealed area.
Bottled gas heaters normally have the gas
bottle stood outside for safety, and should be
installed as per the manufacturers instructions.
Parafn and gas heaters can produce poisonous
carbon monoxide gas if poorly maintained.

Visually inspect the fan or blower wheel to


make sure it is not damaged or loose.
Check power connections and cables to
ensure they are secure and intact, with no
damage or abrasions.
Inspect a gas burner for general cleanliness.
If it is in need of cleaning, use a stiff brush but
not a wire brush.
After inspecting a gas connection, you could
turn on the gas and check for leaks using a
solution of water and soap.
11 OCTOBER 2014 AMATEUR GARDENING

Your

gardening
week

step by step

HARDWOOD CUTTINGS
Select a
healthy
shoot from
this years
growth of
about pencil
thickness
and make a
horizontal
cut just
below a bud.
Remove
low leaves
and buds,
and make
a second,
angled cut
above a bud
further up
the stem. Dip
each cutting
into rooting
compound.
Create a
V-shaped
trench in a
sheltered
site and
line it with
horticultural
grit or
compost,
so that it is
half-lled.

Insert the
cuttings
4-6in (1015cm) apart
along the
trench, so
that onethird of the
cutting is
above the
surface after
rming in.
Cover with
cloches
in colder
areas. Plant
out or pot
up rooted
cuttings the
following
autumn.
Plant out
after a
further 12
months.

8 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

TOP TIP
A small number of cuttings can
be grown in a pot instead of a
trench. Insert them in deep
containers lled with 50:50
coarse grit and John Innes No 1.
Keep in a sheltered place or
unheated greenhouse until
the following autumn
Philadelphus, or mock
orange, is ideal for propagation
by hardwood cuttings

Free trees and shrubs


Hardwood cuttings taken at this time of year are a
good way to propagate shrubs. Ruth shows you how
OW THAT most hardy deciduous
shrubs, trees and climbers are
losing their leaves and going
dormant, it is an ideal time to propagate
them from hardwood cuttings.
They will root more quickly at this time
of year since the soil is still warm from
the summers sun,.
Although a very easy method of
propagation, you will need to be patient
since it can take cuttings from 6 to 18

months to root. However, you can get


more reliable results more quickly by
rooting cuttings in a coldframe.
Hardwood cuttings are less prone
to fungal infection than other types.
Many popular fast-growing,
hardy deciduous trees and shrubs,
including forsythia, kerria, leycesteria,
philadelphus, salix, spiraea and weigela,
root readily from hardwood cuttings,
but many others are worth a try.

Your

PLANTS SUITABLE FOR HARDWOOD PROPAGATION

gardening
week

CLIMBERS:

Jasmine:
Both the
scented
white or
yellow
winter
jasmine will
grow from
cuttings

Honeysuckle: Honeysuckle
cuttings take easily from cuttings

Rambling roses: A
delicate and scented
addition to any garden

And also: Parthenocissus (Virginia creeper), actinidia

FRUITS:

Fig: Figs are a gorgeous


taste of the Mediterranean

Boost garden
stocks with
cuttings from
gooseberries
and currants
(fruiting
and owering)

Hazel: Brings nuts to


the garden and can be
coppiced for rewood

And also: Morus (mulberry), vines, sweet chestnut, crab apple, elderberry

DECIDUOUS:

Forsythia brings a welcome


splash of yellow in early spring

All Time Inc

Buddleja is great for


attracting butteries
and pollinators

Philadelphus: Beautiful white


owers with a gorgeous, heady scent

And also: deutzia, cornus, celastrus, kerria, laburnum, leycesteria, privet, spiraea, snowberry, tamarix, elm, viburnum, wisteria

GARDEN FEATURES USING WILLOW


Willows root so readily from hardwood
cuttings that you can simply insert
unprepared whippy shoots into the
ground. This is a good way of creating
an instant living screen, or even a living
sculpture or childrens leafy igloo.
Insert the rod-like cuttings 6in (15cm)
apart into well-prepared soil and rm and
water well.
By angling alternate cuttings left and
right, and set out in a line at 45 (pictured
right), you can create an instant diamondpatterned screen, tying the crossing stems
into position using soft ties.

Your

gardening
week

step by step

HOW TO SOW

Sow now for early


blooms next summer

Sweet peas
produce
long roots,
so are best
sown in tall
narrow pots
or special root
trainers lled
with fresh
compost.

TOP TIP
After the sweet pea seedlings
have overwintered in a
coldframe, they can be
hardened off in April before
being planted out in wellprepared soil. Plant 8-12in
(20-30cm) apart

Sow seeds
-1in (23cm) apart
by making
individual
holes with
the end of a
pencil, then
covering with
12in (1cm)
compost.

Sowing sweet peas


Sweet peas are a perennial favourite and you can
sow them now for early owers. Ruth shows how
WEET PEAS are one of the
easiest and most rewarding
owers to grow from seed. By
sowing them in pots now and overwintering them in a coldframe, they will
be streets ahead of spring-sown plants,
producing more owers, earlier in the
year on longer-lasting plants.

However, if you live in colder parts of


the country, it is best to wait until midspring to sow.
Sweet peas have large seeds that are
easy to handle and sow, making them
an ideal introduction for anyone new to
gardening, and great fun for children to
have a go with.

Label clearly
and water
thoroughly
before
covering
with a clear
plastic lid or
polythene
or glass.
Put them
on a cool
windowsill
Following
germination,
remove covers
to prevent
the seedlings
becoming
leggy. Move
to a wellventilated
coldframe
over winter,
keeping them
just moist.

SWEET PEA seeds are bullet-hard and can


take time to germinate. To ensure good
germination, I soak mine for 24 hours then pat
them dry on kitchen paper. I nick the lighter
ones (that havent absorbed any water) with
a sharp penknife, making a very shallow
cut in the seedcoat on the opposite
side to the eye (where the shoot
will be produced).

All Time Inc

GERMINATION AID: SOAKING AND NICKING

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Pair of Italian Cypress Trees 1.2-1.4m
510154
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Your

gardening
week

TOP TIP
New trees can die if they are
planted too deep. Plant them in the
soil at the same depth as the
container they are supplied in. To
boost their chance of survival,
check roots are not pot-bound
before planting, and
make sure you water them
regularly once theyre in.

SITE
PREPARATION
All Time Inc

Trees will not thrive where there are


insufcient soil nutrients, too much or
too little water and compacted soil.

I have a crab apple tree and a new


pointilla shrub to plant out this autumn

Tree-planting time
Autumn is prime planting time for trees and shrubs.
Ruth shows you how and gives some aftercare tips
REES AND shrubs give shape
and denition to a garden and
there are myriad varieties out
there to suit every size of garden and
every type of soil.
Autumn is prime planting time for
trees and shrubs, whether for the open
garden or in a container, as the ground

12 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

is warm and there should be less need


for regular watering.
Bare-rooted and rootballed trees and
shrubs sold directly from nurseries
should be planted immediately. If that
is not possible, plant them temporarily
to keep the roots healthy, until they go
somewhere permanent.

Break up heavy soil. Improve all soils


by digging in extra fertiliser with lime
if needed (do a pH test to check) and
garden compost or well rotted manure.
Waterlogged soil will cause smaller
roots to rot and die, so improve
drainage. Alternatively, create a small
mound approximately 10-12in (2530cm) high and 39in (1m) in diameter
and plant the tree on this.

Your

AFTERCARE OF NEW TREES


Watering:
Water
regularly
young tree
roots can be
surrounded
by dry soil
even if the
surface of
the ground
appears to
be damp

Protection:
Deer and
rodents
like to feast
on tender
young bark,
so protect
trees with
a plastic
collar, tree
guards or a
wire cordon

gardening
week
Tree ties:
Trees should
be staked
at planting
and secured
with tree
ties. Check
regularly to
ensure ties do
not become
too tight and
cut the bark.

step by step TREE-PLANTING

Remove containers or fabric wrapping (some


wrapping says it should be left on under terms
of guarantee, but normally it is taken off)

Tease out and free the roots, then dig a hole


that is no deeper than the roots, but is up to
three times the diameter of the root system

Scrape away the top layers of compost in


container-grown plants. The point where the
roots flare out should be near the soil surface

Place the plant in the planting hole. In-fill


carefully, placing soil between and around
all the roots to eliminate air pockets

Break up any compacted soil at the sides and


base of the hole to prevent waterlogging and
give the roots a chance to spread

Firm the soil gently, avoiding compaction. Weed


regularly. Mulch the soil leaving a 3in (7.5cm)
space around the trunk to help avoid trunk rot

THREE THINGS TO DO NOW


If you stored apples and pears,
check the fruit now and discard any
that are over-ripe or rotten

Plant out spring cabbages but make


sure they are netted to protect them
from attacks by marauding pigeons!

Lift the corms of gladioli, dahlias and


begonias and store them somewhere
cool and dry over the winter months

11 OCTOBER 2014 AMATEUR GARDENING

13

Your

gardening
week

HARVESTING
WINTER SQUASHES
Leave fruits on the
plants until their skins
have started to turn colour
and harden.

Both Sue Stickland/TimeInc

Time Inc

When the leaves have


begun to die back, or if
hard frost threatens, bring
the fruits in to a warm,
sunny place for a few weeks
to nish ripening. Partly
mature fruit may continue
to ripen fully, but not
immature green ones.

My Crown Prince pumpkin which,


along with self-seeded nasturtiums,
took over the maturing compost heap.
(inset) The orange Wee-B-Little

Pumpkins and squashes


Follow my harvesting and storing advice, says Sue Stickland
UMPKINS HAVE a
month of fame, with
show bench prizes and
Halloween lanterns, but my
winter squashes will be stars
of the kitchen from now right
through to the end of March.
I dont grow them to giant
proportions they are often
watery and tasteless but
instead I choose smaller
squashes with dense,
smooth, sweet flesh.
These, I find, are delicious

To harvest leave the stalk with


a short bit of vine each side

Time Inc

sliced and roasted, or stuffed


and baked. They also make a
simple but wonderfully rich
winter soup.
Finding space for the
sprawling plants can be a bit
of a problem, but there are
ways of fitting them in. This
year I have had the smallfruited Wee-B-Little
climbing up the fence; the
medium-sized Green
Hokkaido trailing amongst
the sweetcorn; and the
vigorous Crown Prince
taking over a maturing
compost heap.
You can tell when the fruits
are ripe because the skin
changes colour either
dramatically to orange like
my Wee-B-Little, or more
subtly like my Crown Prince,
which turn from pale green to
steely grey. The skin also
hardens and loses its gloss.

14 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

I leave fruits on the plant for


as long as possible so they
accumulate the maximum
amount of sugar from the
leaves, but watch the
weather. If hard frost
threatens, or a prolonged

Leave fruits on
the plant for as
long as possible
cold, damp and dull spell sets
in, I bring the fruits inside.
It is tempting to use their
stalks as handles, but if these
break they give entry points
for disease. I cut off the fruits
with secateurs, leaving each
with an inch of vine either
side of its stalk, and then pick
them up from the base and

Store squashes in a relatively


warm, dry place; a
temperature of 50-60F (1015C) is said to be ideal, but I
nd a slightly warmer one is
ne. Some varieties will keep
for up to six months.

put them in a dry, sunny place.


Small squashes look
attractive lined out on a
south-facing windowsill
indoors, or along the bench
of a well-ventilated
greenhouse or porch. Left for
a few weeks they will finish
ripening, and any wounds in
the skin will heal and harden.
For long term storage they
then need somewhere cooler,
but not cold. Unlike onions
and root vegetables, squash
are better off in a cool place
in the house in a spare
room, in the hallway or
ranged up the stairs rather
than in a shed. As a reminder
of the tasty winter dishes to
come, it is worth welcoming
these colourful guests.
SUE STICKLAND
is a qualied gardener
and widely published
gardening writer

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Your

gardening
week

SEE OURERY
PETER EDVAY IN
SATUR SUN
THE

New-look
houseplants
Novel ways to display house plants are
the way forward, says Peter Seabrook
stacked pot-on-pot so when
we opened the van doors we
were faced with a wall of
pots. Then a diligent customs
ofcer at Southend asked for
every plant to be ofoaded
and unwrapped for a
contraband inspection!
It was impossible to rewrap
them as the Belgians had
done, and we had to make
three journeys to collect just
the one van load!

Magnetic pot covers sold


under the Kala Mitica UK brand

A variegated rubber plant


are these staging a comeback?

Offices
without foliage
look bleak
The Belgians did a similar
thing with gloxinias; they
would hold a big, eshy leaf
in the palms of both hands,
twist the so-succulent stem
through 180 and then fold it
upright. Again, all the leaves
were held upright with
newspaper. I have tried this
with the long stem on a leaf

TimeInc

PJS

Start your Christmas shopping early!


save up to 34% on a subscripton to Amateur Gardening

Magnetic pot covers are available


for mounting houseplants on to
vertical metal surfaces
PJS

ISITING AN ofce
recently, I noticed a
shiny leaved rubber
plant (Ficus elastica) growing
in a 5in (13cm) pot. In the
1950s and 60s pretty well
every house and ofce had
one; competitions were even
held to see who had the
tallest. I remember seeing
aged plants in room corners
that reached the ceiling, and
then turned at right angles to
continue their journey to the
light. Then, bit by bit, these
plants fell right out of fashion.
However, I have recently
noticed trays of them on sale
in supermarkets. What goes
around comes around!
Im reminded of the days we
imported van-loads of them
from Belgian growers. Our
van was driven to Southend,
hydraulically lifted into the
front of a cargo aeroplane,
own to Ostend, driven to the
nursery, loaded with rubber
plants, and then own back.
Every plant had the leaves
folded up vertically and
wrapped in newspaper, then

of Begonia rex and it works


equally well.
Twisting the stem applies
the pressure all the way
up; just bending puts
pressure at one point and the
stem snaps.
Research tells us that
having green leaves in rooms
and ofces improves our
health, and I must say ofces
without foliage look pretty
bleak to me.
The sharp green leaves of
rubber plants suit the
modern minimalist furnishing
style; indeed, all those foliage
houseplants from the sixties

are pretty appropriate to


todays styles.
At a recent trade show I saw
brightly-coloured square and
round pot covers with a
magnetic strip that allowed
them to be clamped to any
metal surface; rather like a
fridge magnet. They were
being displayed with air
plants, some within a picture
frame to hang on the wall like
a work of art. I rather hope
such ideas will catch on.
PETER SEABROOK is a
gardening expert and former
presenter of Gardeners World

PETERS TOP TIPS

Be careful handling Ficus elas


tica leaves; if they are
1 crac
ked, white sap emerges and bro
wn spots result.
Stop small-leaved cus losing
water, then
2 allow to dry to just damp beforeleavwates;erin
g again.
Now days are shortening, plan
wth rates will
3 slow so watering will be neededt gro
less frequently.
Plants still actively growing will
need feeding in
4 win
ter diluting to half-strength
works well.
Flowering plants, such as cyclam
en, are better on
5 windowsills in the day from now on,
to get best light.

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Ask the
e

experts

ANNA TOEMAN
has 20 years
experience working
in historic gardens

JOHN NEGUS
trained at the RHS
and is a specialist
garden writer

DR JANE BINGHAM
has a plant science
PhD and a MSc in
plant ecology

Que tions answered!

I have a problem with moles


digging up my lovely lawn. Im
told that mothballs will deter them.
Is this true?

Cute they may be, but moles


can wreak havoc in a lawn

Ben Gordon, Mill Hill, London

Shutterstock

Moles can be a frustration! They are very


timid creatures, but despite this they can be
difcult to discourage.
Mothballs have long been a traditional remedy
and are worth trying. A single mothball dropped
into each tunnel should ll the subterranean
network with its overpowering smell.
Moles are also thought to be deterred by noisy
vibrations, so using ultrasonic scarers or even
a childs spinning windmill pushed into a fresh
molehill may do the trick. There are also molerepellent smokes, such as Pest-Stop Biofume
Mole Smoke, that are said to be effective.
If all else fails, you could hire a professional
contractor to eliminate them, but the relief may
be short-lived as moles from nearby infested
areas may well re-colonise your garden.
ANNA TOEMAN

AG Expert
LET US
p

Store dahlia tubers


dry over winter

All TimeInc unless credited

hotline
hotl e
Call weekdays
fom 12-1pm

I have been delighted with my Dark


Night dahlias this year. Can you please
tell me how to overwinter them successfully?
Barry Flemming, Nottingham

If your soil drains freely,


dahlias can survive
outdoors in the soil. Just cut
them back to 9in (23cm)
from the base and cover
with 6in (15cm) of leafmould,
well-rotted garden compost
or autumn leaves held in
place with netting, to
insulate against frost.
However, if your soil
remains wet in winter, it
would be best to lift your

plants as soon as frost


blackens the foliage. First,
cut back the main stems on
each plant to 9in (23cm),
then lift the roots using a
garden spade or fork. Shake
off most of the soil from the
roots and pack them into
boxes, pushing just-moist
compost in between. Place in
a frost-free shed, garage or
greenhouse for the winter.
JOHN NEGUS

18 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

HELP
YOU!

0843
168 0200*
Jill T. from Stockport
woke up in May to
nd her gooseberry
stripped of leaves. It
was due to an attack
of sawy. In 2015
she should spray
with Bug Clear
Gun for Fruit &
Veg a week
earlier than
when it
happened
this year.
*Calls cost 5p
per

minute from a
BT landline, cal
l costs from oth
er networks ma
y be higher.

SPRING

All TimeInc unless credited

YEAR-ROUND
BORDERS
Q

I want to plant
up a southfacing border in
partial-shade, but
using plants that
offer year-round
interest. What do
you suggest?

Skimmia reevesiana

Bergenia Bressingham White

EARLY SUMMER

Mark Westward,
Sutton, Surrey

Ceanothus Blue Mound

Wikimedia

It is possible to create
even quite a small
border with year-round
colour or features just
combine well-behaved
perennials and shrubs that
offer more than one season
of interest.
Choosing problem-free
plants that perform for
months rather than a few
weeks will make your job a
lot easier. Aim to have at
least one-third evergreen
plants to provide structure
and background interest
through the winter months.
Bear in mind the colour,
shape, texture and eventual
size of each plant when
putting combinations
together. Also, if you are
walking past or sitting near
the border, it can be very
desirable to add a few
scented plants to your list.
Use pictures online or in
magazines/books to help
you visualise how different
plant combinations will
work together.
I always draw out a new
border on paper, as much
to scale as possible, and
then choose plants for the
five seasons of interest:
i) spring, ii) early summer,
iii) late summer, iv) autumn
and v) winter.
You could create a
visually stimulating feature
of perennials and small
shrubs by planting the ones
on this page (right):
JOHN NEGUS

Graham Clarke

Cytisus Burkwoodii

LATE SUMMER

Convolvulus cneorum

Potentilla Yellow Queen

AUTUMN

Ceratostigma willmottianum

Aster (Michaelmas daisy)

WINTER

Cornus sanguinea Midwinter Fire

Helleborus orientalis

11 OCTOBER 2014 AMATEUR GARDENING

19

Ask the

experts

Chriine Walkdens

Problem
solver
Problem
solver
Lift and divide persicarias now

Can you please tell me how to divide a


large clump of Persicaria Red Dragon?

Roger Fender, Shefeld, Yorkshire


discarding the woody and
exhausted central portion.
Replant each portion
in well-prepared soil
thats been enriched with
bonemeal or similar organic
fertiliser that will break
down over winter into rootpromoting phosphates that
speed growth in spring.
JOHN NEGUS

Versatile chicken wire is ideal for protecting


and supporting plants around the garden

I use chicken wire to keep leaves out


of ponds. What else can it be used for?

Diana Farr, Bristol

Help! I have tried to grow potatoes in


containers, but I got tiny crops. I kept
them well fed with organic poultry manure
and home-made comfrey fertiliser.

Jenny Pulman, Salisbury, Wiltshire

I suspect that by
feeding with a
high-nitrogen
chicken pellet
fertiliser you have
encouraged your
plants to produce a
lot of vigorous green
growth at the
expense of edible
tubers. Next year, try
planting the tubers in
fresh multipurpose
compost and feed
with special organic
Vitax Potato fertiliser
that will encourage
good root and tuber
development.
JOHN NEGUS

SEE OUR
CHRISTINNEE
ON THE O C 1
SHOW, BB
TimeInc

It is possible to lift and


divide clump-forming
herbaceous plants, such as
your persicaria, now. Use a
border spade to loosen and
lift the rootball onto a sheet
of polythene on the lawn or
patio, so you have room to
work. Then slice the clump
into chunky, well-budded
and rooted portions,

Chicken wire is useful


for supporting and
protecting plants all around
the garden. I use it to help
self-clinging annual climbers
with lightweight foliage.
Also, it makes an ideal
support for peas and beans,
or even climbing cucumbers
and squashes, when held by
stout poles at the ends. If
rodents are a problem, you

AG on

can protect potted bulbs or


fresh sown seed by placing
wire over the top. Local cats
can also be prevented form
disturbing soil in the spring
after seed sowing, by laying
chicken wire over the
seedbed. I sometimes use it
to make tubes, which I place
over plants to support them,
allowing the foliage to grow
through and hide the wire.

Go to facebook.com, create a
free account if needs be, search
for Amateur Gardening and
youre ready to join in the chat!

DIANA HUDSON What do the terms species and sports in


plants mean? Are species the originals?

DR JANE BINGHAM Yes. Species can hybridise naturally to


Potatoes in containers should
produce good results if fed properly

can
yourr
solvee you
can solv

problems!
20 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

form new varieties; man-made crosses are new cultivars. Sport is


a genetic mutation, which may have arisen spontaneously, or it may
have been caused by a virus infection. If a sport is attractive and
can be reliably reproduced, it can become a new cultivar.

Email us: amateurgardening@timeinc.com


Call us: 0843 168 0200 (12 to 1pm weekdays)

Follow us on Twitter,
go to @TheAGTeam

Calls cost 5p per minute from a BT landline, call costs from other networks may be higher.

Write to us: AG Helpline, Westover House,


West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 1JG

AG on

Anne

AGs Family Gardener

LISTEN TO R
ANNE ON RAODUIO
4'S GARDENERS'
QUESTION TIME

Swithinbank
withinbank

Pots help to
set the scene

ONTAINER
PLANTINGS for the
autumn to spring
period are well
worth the effort, and more
challenging than summer
containers on the basis that
they tend to sit tight and
dont grow much until spring
and theres less choice of
material. Each is like a
miniature landscape and they
are moveable, so great for
scene setting.

When
shopping for
plants I tend
to stay local
Practicalities first, you need
frost proof containers, plenty
of crocking over the holes
(make sure they are convex
to let water but not soil
escape) and good, welldraining compost (50:50
John Innes no 2 and a soilless
multi-purpose mixed 4 : 1
with cornish grit).
If decent compost is left
behind from summer, do
re-use it but mix in some
controlled release fertilizer
and avoid repeating plants

from the same family.


When shopping for plants I
tend to stay local and not be
too prescriptive in other
words, Ill keep an open mind
and spend maybe 20-30 on
whatever small plants, shrubs
and bulbs take my fancy.
Shrubs can be expensive so if
I invest, they must be able to
go into borders afterwards.
These need to be frost proof
too, so avoid tempting
evergreens like prostanthera
and coprosma in colder
regions unless they can be
moved into a porch or
covered with fleece during
freezing spells.
HARDY STOCK
Solanums (winter cherry)
have proved hardy here and
in dads garden we have
mature shrubby plants
covered in orange berries to
prove it. The stock came from
Kent 12 years ago and has
seeded itself around.
For tall containers, a flat top
of flowering plants with bulbs
beneath works well but I do
like an evergreen, so set
silvery-leaved, wind tolerant
daisy bush (Olearia x haastii)
in the middle with an underplanting of viola and white
tulips. Always soak dry
container plants in a bucket
of water before potting and
water in well after planting.

22 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

Photography by John Swithinbank

Plants in pots provide a moveable feast


of colour in the darker months says Anne

Out in the borders, the


original evergreen red hot
poker Kniphofia caulescens
has 10 flower spikes out. Its
offspring (raised from seed)
each have one and will be a
fine sight when they all reach
a good size.
Mandevilla grows fast from
late summer onwards and
ours is putting on a good late
show of bloom. I unwound its
spiralling shoots from
neighbouring tomatoes in the
greenhouse and transferred it
to the porch where it can
stay, frost free all winter.

Step by step

PLANTING A
TROUGH FOR
AUTUMN TO
SPRING

this bowl is just right for the


evergreen or semi-evergreen hardy fern
maidenhair spleenwort (Asplenium
trichomanes). Luckily, I have a good
stock of Iris reticulata already
growing in pots from previous years,
so tucked these around the outside.

mandevilla require a
cool but frost-free
winter with water
given only sparingly.
Prune to tidy up in
autumn or spring.

tulip bulbs are added around


a daisy bush in a large planter

I put plenty of crocks over the drainage


holes and then a good, well-drained
compost so water cant sit in the pot

the solanums are added frst, then violas


arranged around them. Add or take soil from
under plans so they sit at the right level

red hot poker Kniphofa caulescens is


resplendent this year with 10 fower spikes

Bulbs of Narcissus minnow were added


between the plants before compost was
trickled in to fll gaps
11 OCTOBER 2014 AmAteur GArDeNING

23

Anne's
Ann 's

Kitchen Garden

Eat corn quickly


Annes sweet corn Incredible is
certainly living up to its name

N A roll with
containers, I
couldnt stop and
decided to plant
up a wooden crate with
some lettuce and herbs.
Even hardy lettuce like these
August-sown Marvel of The
Four Seasons will frequently
die off during severe cold
and snow, yet leaves grown
outside seem to have better
flavour than identical plants
grown under glass.
Having some in a crate
means I can move them in if
the weather turns bad. The
wooden crate has wide gaps
round the sides, so a lining of
hessian will stop compost
from leaking out. Shingle in
the base encourages water
to trickle out and escape.
Putting compost in whilst
holding hessian up around

Cucumber Marketmore has


been productive and tasty

the sides was fiddly but


eventually the lettuces were
in place.
I dug a couple of mint roots
and decided to add these in
the middle, along with some
marjoram, which had sown
itself into a pot on the patio.
The lettuces will be
harvested by the leaf from
the outside to maximise
production and also stop
them from growing too large
at these close spacings.
SOWING SUCCESS
An Indian summer meant the
runners sown in early July
managed to crop before the
weather turned too cold.
Here in the Axe valley cool,
dewy nights start quite early
so we were lucky. I wont sow
so late again and will keep
the middle of June as a cut
off point.
A second sowing of sweet
corn made mid-May of the
variety Incredible have
delivered sweet, succulent
cobs. When you have a good
batch of plants, harvest and
eat them the minute the
cobs are ready, even if the
corn is still slightly pale. This
way youll enjoy them at their
best before the corn swells
fully, when it turns bright

Im still harvesting tasty cobs of


sweetcorn. By eating the rst cobs
promptly, well get through all of
these with no waste.

yellow, looses its sweetness


and needs so much chewing
your jaws lose the will to live.
FLAVOURFUL CUCUMBERS
The last few cucumbers are
ripening and weve had great
compliments from visitors
amazed by the appearance,
texture and taste of the
outdoor variety
Marketmore. The slightly
bristly fruits are full of
character, with a distinct,

cucumbery flavour. I am still


determined to pickle the
final few and have been
looking out recipes involving
mustard seed, vinegar, garlic
and possibly dill.
This has to be evening
work now, because daylight
must be used for essential
clearing, bed defining and
mulching. The race is on to
get as much as possible
done before saturated soil
stops play.

Arrange lettuce over the top but


then add any extras like mint and
marjoram in the middle.

Use a trowel to plant the lettuce


and water everything in using a
rose (sprinkler) on the can

Step by step

PLANTING
LETTUCE IN
A CRATE

The crate is lined with hessian or


polythene, a layer of shingle
helps the compost drain

24 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

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News
Award winning

Got a story? call 01202 440848


or email marc.rosenberg@timeinc.com

Pot plant hopes go up in smoke


BBC EXPERTS IDENTIFY PLANT AS CANNABIS
starting to look suspicious, so
I decided to contact The
Potting Shed for help. They
said it was cannabis and
advised me on how to
dispose of it.
PROSECUTED
Patricia said she did not mind
that the BBC presenters had
sent her photos to the police,
but added it had put her
mind to rest now that she
knew she would not be
prosecuted.
Patricia and
husband John,
a retired marine
biologist, wanted
advice on the leafy
bush that was
taking over the
garden and giving off
a sickly sweet pong.
They rst noticed the plant
sprouting in one of their
ower beds in July.
Patricia thinks it grew from a
rogue seed in a bag of bird
food. The plant has now been
destroyed (circled) on advice
from the police.

It was giving
off a sickly
sweet pong

Cutting the grass: Patricia was ordered to


chop the rogue cannabis plant down
SWNS

RADIO gardening
Q&A went to pot
when a gardener
was told that the
mystery plant growing in her
garden was cannabis.
Grandmother Patricia
Hewitson, 65, of Exmouth in
Devon, emailed photos of the
large 5ft (1.5m) plant to her
favourite BBC show, ironically
called The Potting Shed.
But Patricia was left stunned
when gardening experts said
the weed was cannabis,
and told her that the
images had been
sent to the police.
Luckily Sarah
Chesters and
Pippa Quelch,
presenters of the
BBC Radio Devon
show, explained that
ofcers had assured them she
would not be in trouble.
Patricia said: It was the size
of a petunia at rst, with only
four leaves. I watched it grow
until it was as tall as me.
As it got bigger I got
nervous because it was

Sgt Ryan Canning of Devon


and Cornwall Police said that
ofcers were taking no further
action. He said: If you come
into possession of an illegal
drug such as cannabis, you

must either destroy it or take


it to a police ofcer.
The lady has committed an
offence, although there are
mitigating circumstances, so
we will not take it further.

GA

Living legacies to honour Britains war dead

26 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

fruit trees such as apple Arthur Turner


GARDENERS ARE being called on to
(from 20) and the Remembrance Rose
plant a living legacy for those who
(pictured, left) from 6.50.
fought and died in the First World War.
Legion head of remembrance, Dr
The Royal British Legion is
Stephen Clarke, said: The idea
working with Ashridge Nurseries
of planting a living legacy in
in a bid to encourage the public
commemoration of those who
to plant trees, shrubs and
died in the First World War
roses in their garden or at a
brings to life the notion of
place thats special to their
passing on the torch of
family or community.
remembrance to the next
Called the Centenary
generation. Living tributes last
Gardens project, over 100 trees
Wikimedia
for decades, or hundreds of years.
and plants are available online to
Orders can be placed at centenary
buy and plant with a minimum of 50
gardens.co.uk over the next four years,
per cent of prots going to the Legion,
for planting throughout
the national custodian of remembrance.
commemorations of the Great War.
A website (see end of story) will offer

NEW LOOK FOR GARDEN CENTRE


Notcutts re-opened its Wheatcroft
Garden Centre in Nottingham after a
1.5million refit. It now includes a new
restaurant and gift department.

RHS

GARDENING BEHIND BARS


HMP Maidstone in Kent won the RHS
Windlesham Trophy, awarded to the
best prison garden in England and
Wales. It last won the gong in 1991.

GARDENERS QUESTION TIME

It wont keep until Valentines day

VERY SWEET
He said: It was a bit of an
obvious thing to do I suppose.
I spent a couple of days
thinking about it, but it
seemed like a good use.
I hope it will do someone a
bit of a good.
The retired dagger-maker
added: Its very sweet

A BLOOMIN
GOOD WEEK

Rods tomato was a


perfect heart shape

whenever people see it they


just want to hug it.
But with the
tomatos freshness
a key factor,
enthusiastic
gardener Rod was
up against the clock.
I didnt want to
send someone
something horrible. I
probably could have raised

a bit more money with more


time but I was worried about
it, he said.
It will certainly
make a nice
present for a loved
one. I hope that
they like it and Im
glad I got to help.
Its all been good fun
and I enjoyed growing
this special tomato.

Botanics 6.7m treasure hunt


THE FIRST stage of a 6.7million project that
aims to uncover and restore historic landscape
at the National Botanic Garden of Wales has
been given the go-ahead.
Experts plan to bring to life the origins of
Middleton Hall the 568-acre estate occupied

Time inc

Digging deep: The National


Botanic Garden of Wales

by the garden, in a bid to reveal secrets from


the time of Shakespeare and before.
It will see the restoration of Regency
landscape, including seven lakes, cascades,
and waterfalls created over 200 years ago.
FINEST WATER PARKS
The Regency landscape, it is claimed, was
once one of the nest water parks in the UK.
The Heritage Lottery Fund has pledged more
than 300,000 to get the project underway.
Welsh botanic garden director Dr Rosie
Plummer said: It is an ambitious project and
the most signicant undertaking since the
garden opened in 2000.
The National Botanic Garden of Wales has
received over 2.2million visitors in 14 years and
features a single-span Great Glasshouse that
was designed by Lord Norman Foster.
Go to gardenofwales.org.uk for visiting
details and more information.

DT Brown

Both Archant

KEEN VEGETABLE grower


Rod Matless loves his
tomatoes so much so that
one of his plants has
produced a perfect heartshaped fruit.
Rod auctioned the tomato,
which he grew in his Norwich
greenhouse, to raise cash for
the British Heart Foundation.
The magnicent 2.26oz
(64g) fruit sold on eBay for
16. Rod, 69, wanted to
support the charity after
suffering a heart attack a few
years ago.
Rod said his pride and joy
tomato, of which the variety is
unknown, had gone to a
woman in Wales who aims to
give it to someone special.

BOB FLOWERDEW, Anne


Swithinbank and Matthew Wilson
join Peter Gibbs in Kent. Tune in
to BBC Radio 4 at 3pm on Friday
10 October (repeated at 2pm on
Sunday 12 October)

Prize-winning runners
Trevor Brooks, a local at The
Carpenters Arms in Soham,
won DT Browns National Pub
Challenge by growing a 17.7in
(45cm) long runner bean
Enorma. The firm challenged
drinkers across the UK to see
who could grow the longest
pod. A press challenge was
won by AGs Peter Seabrook
with a 14.6in (37cm) bean.

Climate
campaigners
Friends of the
Earth (FoE) has
slammed a new
outdoor heater by
Bromic. The 1,350
Tungsten Smart Heat
Portable Heater,
claims to have seven
times the output of
traditional patio
heaters. FoEs
policy and
campaigns
director, Craig
Bennett, said:
It would seem
that parts of the
garden industry
have planted
their heads in
the ground.

Bromic

Notcutts

News

A BLOOMIN
BAD WEEK

11 OCTOBER 2014 AMATEUR GARDENING

27

News
Award winning

Got a story? call 01202 440848


or email marc.rosenberg@timeinc.com

Top 10 new gardening


products for 2015
From a control for box blight to boosters for your tomato plants, theres a host of
innovative products heading to garden centres for the new season. Marc Rosenberg
visited the GLEE trade show in Birmingham to
nd out what will be in stores in the New Year
Fungus Fighter Plus

Seramis orchid care range


ORCHID CARE brand Seramis is big in
Germany, but hasnt been seen in the
UK for a decade. Now, due to the rising
popularity of orchids, itll be back next
year. The line-up is set to include
Seramis Orchid Potting Mix, a range of
clay granules and pine bark designed
to absorb and release nutrients where
the orchid needs it.
Seramis Orchid Feed and Seramis
Revitalising Leaf Spray, will be
introduced to the UK, too.

Miracle-Gro Magic Start


A HANDFUL in a
planting hole thats
the golden rule for
how to use this new
mix of feed and
compost. It aims to
give plants a better
start in life by
feeding for up to six
months. Claimed to
promote strong root
growth, its
recommended for
problem soils such
as heavy clay or
light, sandy soils, or
areas that are low in
nutrients. A pack
with an RRP of
6.99 is sufficient
to treat 15 plants.
28 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

THERES BEEN no control


for box blight, which has
ravaged plants across the
UK, until now. Bayers new
Fungus Fighter Plus contains two
active ingredients (tebuconazole
and Trifloxystrobin) which can
beat the blight and control
other diseases of plants
and roses, like blackspot,
mildew, rust and leaf spot.
Its a contact and
systemic spray that can
be used in gardens,
greenhouses,
conservatories or in the
home, with a maximum of
six applications per year.
RRP: 6.50.

Jacks Magic
Garden Fertiliser
JACKS MAGIC, the peat-based
compost brand, will be
expanded for 2015 to include a
new Jacks Magic Garden
Fertiliser. Its a low-dust granular
feed to give flowers, shrubs and
vegetables a boost (NPK 6-8-12)
and is enriched with seaweed, a
natural growth stimulant.
The product is said to
strengthen roots and result in
bigger and better flowers and
veg. Available in a box and tub.
RRP: 4.99 for a 1.75kg box or
11.99 for a 3.5kg tub.

Neudorff mycorrhiza range


NEUDORFF, THE German
organics giant, has three new
mycorrhiza products to launch in
the UK in 2015. Mycorrhiza Root
Enlarger (RRP: 5.49) claims to
increase the size of a plants
root system by up to 150 times.
Plus, theres Mycorrhiza Root
Enlarger Soluble (RRP: 6.99)
and Mycorrhiza Root Enlarger
Ericaceous (RRP: 6.99) for
acid-lovers such as
rhododendrons, blueberries and
heather. The products claim to
promote vigorous growth and
strengthen plants against pests
and diseases.

Plant Magic Plus


A NEW range of organic feeds
but what makes them different
is that they are a food source
for friendly microbes that
live in soil and compost.
By feeding microbes,
its claimed, they
increase in numbers,
giving plants more
minerals, vitamins,
nitrogen and amino
acids. There are five
products in the range,
for salads, veg,
tomatoes, strawberries
and chilies. Products
have a RRP 7.99 each.

After Moss Lawn Seed


THIS NEW dwarf
perennial ryegrass mix
claims to be unique
because it has been
designed to deter the
return of moss.
Seed is coated in a
calcium carbonatebased anti-moss shell
that gently raises the
pH of the soil, creating
an inhospitable
environment for moss,
thereby allowing new
grass to establish
unhindered.
Seed will be available
in 1kg cartons with a
RRP of 9.99.

Vital Earth Chelsea Mix


A NEW brand of peat-free
compost containing recycled
green waste and blended
horticultural bark. Its likely to only
be available from April to June
(around the time of Chelsea
Flower Show, although it has no
connection to the RHS).
A spokesman for Vital Earth said
the compost, which will come in
50-litre bags priced at 5.99 or
two for 10, outperformed all our
peat-free and peat-based
composts in trials.

Gro-Sure Tomato Gro-Pack


A MINI-GROWING bag for just one tomato plant! Aimed at first-time
gardeners, or people who only have space for one tomato plant on a
small patio or balcony. Its
extra-deep design is said
to promote stronger
roots and lead to
heavier crops.
The Gro-Pack can
also be used for crops
such as chilli and
sweet peppers. And
its compost
contains six weeks
of plant food, too.
RRP: 3.99.

Empathy Tomato Starter


BEFORE PUTTING a
tomato plant in a growing
bag, place a Tomato
Starter biscuit in the base
of the hole, then plant as
normal. The biscuit is
peat-free, formed from
compressed coir fibre, and
swells up to five times its
original size.
Biscuits are claimed to
steadily release nutrients
and trace elements for up
to four months, while
water-retaining crystals
prevent compost from
drying out. It also contains
Rootgrow mycorrhizal
fungi. RRP: 5.99 for a pack
of 20 biscuits.
11 OCTOBER 2014 AMATEUR GARDENING

29

Bright
sparks
Fiery favourite Acer japonicum
Actonitifolium looks stunning
in autumn, yet grows to just 6ft

Light up the smallest of spaces with trees and shrubs that provide
fiery autumn colour plus a whole lot more, says Graham Rice

HE GLORIES of
autumn foliage
colour are perhaps
most familiar in our
great arboretums, with their
aming displays of mature
specimen trees. Of course,
planting those same trees in
smaller spaces is asking for
trouble, but it is possible to
achieve a similar effect in the
average-sized garden, too.
With the right varieties of
maples, witch hazels, berberis
and a range of other shrubs you
will bring the full spectrum of
autumn colour from primrose
and gold through orange, rust

and copper to scarlet, wine red


and rich purple to gardens
where tall trees just wont t.
To some degree, thats the easy
part, however. In the small
spaces where most of us garden,
a plant that is spectacular for
two or three weeks in autumn,
yet spends the rest of the year
failing to grasp our attention, is
of limited value. We have to ask
whether its brief glory is worth
those long days of dreariness.
With some plants such as
Euonymus alatus the answer
is yes, but that is in the minority.
The solution is to choose
varieties that not only feature

30 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

spectacular autumn colour but


also bring us joys at other times
of the year. Or to use shrubs
whose only glory is in the
autumn as support for climbers
that ower at other seasons.
FOLIAGE AND FLOWERS

Many berberis feature yellow


spring owers hanging from
their branches, colourful golden
or bronze foliage all summer and
even berries whose appearance
precedes or coincides with their
autumn colour. The best of the
autumn-colouring witch hazels
offer strongly scented winter
owers while Tiger Eyes (Rhus

typhina
Bailtiger)
is yellow all
summer,
before turning
ery. Euonymus
species have bold fruits as
well as vivid autumn colour;
cherries, of course, bring us
spring owers in addition to the
autumn show; and the smoke
bush has uffy owers and
bright leaf colour later.
Maples and other sumacs
have attractive foliage from
spring until they change in
the autumn. And although
maples can only support

6 SPACE-SAVERS

Autumn foliage

for autumn colour

Euonymus alatus
Tough, adaptable and spectacular, thanks to
pinkish red autumn leaves that sometimes
turn fiery alongside its orange berries. A
good host for summer-flowering clematis.
Compactus is less than half the height and
may develop a yellowish colouring. Height x
spread: 5ft (1.5m) x 5ft (1.5m) in ten years.

Hydrangea quercifolia
Bold, oak-shaped leaves turn crimson or
purple in the autumn, following pyramids
of white summer flowers that eventually
darken to pink. Happy in most soils, and in
sun or shade. Snowflake has longer-lasting
double flowers. Height x spread: 4ft (1.2m)
x 3ft 3in (1m) in ten years.
GAP

Hamamelis x intermedia Aurora


One of the few witch hazels with bright,
strongly scented flowers in midwinter (in
marmalade tones) and dramatic autumn leaf
colour combined with an upright habit that
fits better than most into small spaces. Likes
sun, and prefers good soil. Height x spread:
6ft 6in (2m) x 6ft (1.8m) in ten years.
GAP

the
lighter
climbers
such as
Codonopsis and
perennial clematis,
as can dwarf forms of
Ginkgo biloba, the stouter
sumac branches are capable of
carrying weightier plants like
Clematis viticella.
So while a stunning autumn
show may be your main aim,
a little time and thought will
ensure the plants that provide
it work hard at others times of
the year too, easily earning
their place in your plot.

Shutterstock

Cotinus coggygria Royal Purple


Dramatic all year, with purple spring and
summer leaves, clouds of smoky reddish
flowers in summer and the whole plant
turning fiery in the autumn. A useful host
for clematis in yellow or, for a subtler effect,
red or purple. Height x spread: 6ft (1.8m)
x 5ft (1.5m) in ten years.
GAP

Both gardenphotos.com

With their interesting


shape and yellow
colouring in autumn,
the leaves of Ginkgo
biloba look great on
their own, or with
lightweight climbers

GAP

Acer japonicum Aconitifolium


Classic Japanese maple, its fiery autumn
colouring maturing to crimson. Makes a
rounded shrub and, eventually, a small tree;
ideal with the contrasting broad leaves of
hostas or bergenias beneath. Best in moist,
fertile soil. Height x spread: 6ft (1.8m) x 5ft
3in (1.6m) in ten years.
GAP

Berberis wilsoniae
A tough, unheralded species making a low,
spreading shrub with small leaves that turn
yellow and pink in the autumn as the coralcoloured berries mature. Also features
yellow spring flowers and bluish summer
foliage. Thorny, so not for pots Height x
spread: 4ft (1.2m) x 6ft 6in (2m) in ten years.

11 OCTOBER 2014 AMATEUR GARDENING

31

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Autumn foliage

Autumn colour
in containers
n POtS teND to have

prominent positions in the


garden, making the issue of
what they look like at other
times of year especially
important. So choose plants
with flowers, or with other
spring or summer features,
or be prepared to move your
containers into a less
conspicuous site once the
annual show is over.
n ADDing compAnions for

other seasons is also an


option, Euonymus alatus
compactus can be
partnered with the blue
flowers and silvery seed
heads of Clematis integrifolia,
for example, while dwarf
bulbs will provide an
attractive spring display.
n A fINAL option is to

choose from the hundreds


of heucheras whose
evergreen foliage changes
with the seasons.

TimeInc

Growing tips

n POSItION: As you would

expect, colourful autumn leaves


will hang on your tree or shrub
for longer if protected from
fierce winds. evergreens,
including evergreen hedges,
provide both shelter and a good
backdrop against which to
appreciate the colour.
n WATER: Dry soil conditions

can curtail the display, so water


borders and containers
thoroughly to keep roots moist
and leaves hanging on.
the contrasting leaf colour of
different heucheras makes them
ideal for a foliage-focused
container display that offers
multi-season interest
GAP

n CLeAr tHe WAY: As autumn-

colouring shrubs mature, let


them shine by cutting back any
perennials you may have
planted in front to provide
interest earlier in the season.

11 OCTOBER 2014 AmAteur GArDeNING

33

Perennial favourites for fab foliage

n We DoNt generally grow perennials for

their autumn colouring foliage, but a few are


well worth considering. the foliage of some
hostas among them Halcyon, christmas
tree and Devon Green turns yellow or
biscuit brown, while moisture-loving Darmera
peltata, with its leaves like umbrellas, always
becomes vivid red in autumn. It also comes in a
dwarf form, Nana, which is just as colourful.
n There are hardy geraniums that provide us

with a colourful autumnal display of foliage


after their flowers earlier in the season. Of
these, the low (though spreading) Geranium
macrorrhizum is probably the star, especially
Ingwersens Variety and White-Ness.
n AND tHeN theres an unexpected one:

peonies. Paeonia mlokosewitschii supplements


its wonderful yellow spring cups with coppery
orange autumn leaves even the foliage of old
favourites like Sarah Bernhardt and Whitleyi
major will colour in autumn.
n FINally, lOOk out for ornamental grasses.

Many types of miscanthus feature biscuit brown


or golden autumn foliage, as do hakonechloa
and molinia varieties and other grasses
including Calamagrostis brachytricha.

Grasses such as miscanthus


look lovely as the days grow
shorter and their foliage turns
from green to golden

SupplIerS
BlueBell NurSery
8 bluebellnursery.com
01530 413700
BurNcooSe NurSerIeS
8 burncoose.co.uk
01209 860316

GAP

GAP

once the fowers of Geranium


macrorrhizum Ingwersens Variety
fade, its foliage offers a colourful bonus

34 AmAteur GArDeNING 11 OCTOBER 2014

crocuS
8 crocus.co.uk
01344 578000

gardenphotos.com

the umbrella-shaped
leaves of Darmera peltata
turn red in autumn

Autumn foliage

Blaze of glory

GAP

ANGLESEY ABBEY
Cambridgeshire
nationaltrust.org.uk/anglesey-abbey
01223 810080

TATTON PARK
Cheshire
tattonpark.org.uk
01625 374400

BLUEBELL ARBORETUM
Leicestershire
bluebellnursery.com
01530 413700

WESTONBIRT (right)
Gloucestershire
forestry.gov.uk/westonbirt
01666 880220

ROYAL BOTANIC GARDEN


Edinburgh
rbge.org.uk
0131 248 2909

You can also search for


an arboretum at
britainsfinest.co.uk
or ngs.org.uk

GAP

The best places to see flaming foliage this autumn

Make room for Euonymus


alatus and it will reward you
with a spectacular show

reader
er
offer

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36 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

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Offer enquiry line 0844 573 2021 (9am-8pm, seven days a week). All correspondence concerning this offer should be sent to:
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Thompson & Morgan, Poplar Lane, Ipswich, Suffolk, IP8 3BU. (Terms and conditions available on request). Closing date:
15th November 2014. Bulbs despatched from November 2014.

AGs Organic Gardener

Bob
ob Flowerdew

LISTEN TO O
BOB ON RADUIOR
4'S GARDENERS'
QUESTION TIME

Growing better garlic


After much trial and error, Bob is nally growing the garlic sizes he always hoped for

BOBS TIPS

GROW good onions


indeed I get superb
crops, most years. My
shallots are quite
acceptable. And even my
leeks are OK (if a tad
undersized when I forget to
pour on water and feed).
But my garlic! Goodness
knows. For many years Id get
a crop, but seldom was it
anywhere near as good as for
the other members of the
onion family.
The bulbs ended up
perfectly formed, but they
were small, sometimes even

Check stored spuds, and


discard any that are rotting

All TimeInc unless credited

laughable for a so-called


professional gardener!
So I started trying to
improve it. Obviously rich soil,
good spacing and enough
water were essential but I
thought I was already
providing these.
Trying different depths of
planting did little. Altering the
time of setting also made
relatively little difference (as
long as it was about now, give
or take a month).
However, variety proved
crucial. The soft-necked sorts
got bigger, swelling nearly
twice as large as the hardnecked types. But, sadly, the
soft-necked sorts also
seemed to store less well
most years (typical!).
Planting in ridges was
distinctly advantageous

Shutterstock

Now I grow
garlic in bags,
three plants
to a bag

My garlic bulbs ended up perfectly formed, but they were small

probably due to increased


warmth so I started to
surround each plant with a
tube cut from a plastic
lemonade bottle. This gave
denite increases over the
unprotected ones, so I tried
starting sets off in pots under
cover, growing them on and
then hardening them off and
planting them out in spring.
This gave much better
results than those spending
all winter outdoors, so then I
tried growing garlic in bags of
compost some indoors and
some out, with the indoor

ones moving outside in


spring to free-up space for
other crops. Both did much
better than most of those in
the ground.
So now I grow my garlic in
bags, three plants to a bag,
and started under cover. It
does mean a bit of heavy
work dragging those bags
outdoors in when the
weather warms but the
better crops are well worth
the effort. Digging up the
garlic is also easier, and it
has freed a bed for other
crops. Win, win, win!

Pick apples for storing, before


birds and weather ruin them

Empty hoses, sprayers, cans


and anything that might freeze
11 OCTOBER 2014 AMATEUR GARDENING

37

Plant profle

Chinese gentian
Highly treasured for its autumn display of vibrant blue blooms, Gentiana
sino-ornata is the perfect choice for rockeries and pots, says Annie Bullen
WHY GROW IT? Because its bright
blue upward facing trumpets
clustering thickly on a neat mat of
green foliage will be your front-ofborder, patio container or rock
garden star. Plant hunter George
Forrest must have gasped with
delight when he found a swathe of
these showy gentians in the
mountains of China in 1904. Look
closely and youll see the outside of
each petal of the 2in (5cm) flower has
a neat contrasting stripe. Varieties
include the white Weisser Traum and
Blautopf, which is a paler blue with
white stripes in the throat.
HOW TO GROW IT This hardy
gentian, which holds an RHS Award of
Garden Merit (AGM), is an easy
grower compared to most of its tribe
as long as it has a deep acid (limefree) soil and plenty of good light and
water (also lime-free). If your soil is
alkaline you should succeed by
planting it in containers using good
ericaceous compost, remembering
to water well with clean rainwater in
hot weather.
It spreads as the stems grow
outwards, rooting at the nodes (leaf
joints or swellings on the stems) and
may easily be divided and replanted
anytime between the end of March
and mid-May.

n
Recipe for autum

LOOKS GOOD WITH The bright


rose-pink flowers of low-growing
Centaurium scilloides, would make a
pretty contrast with gentian, as would
autumn-flowering Cyclamen
hederifolium in shades of pink set off
by marbled leaves. Or try Colchicum
autumnale Nancy Lindsay AGM
whose rich rosy-violet flowers would
work a treat.

38 AmATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

GAP

Wisley Plant Centre, RHS Garden,


Wisley, Woking, Surrey, GU23 6QB
& 01483 211113
8 wisleyplantcentre@rhs.org.uk

GAP

WHERE TO BUY
Edrom Nurseries, Coldingham,
Eyemouth, Berwickshire, TD14 5TZ
& 01890 771386
8 edrom-nurseries.co.uk

Gentians are useful for adding a splash


of vibrant colour to an autumn container
flled with Acorus Ogon, Skimmia
reevesiana and Saxifraga fortunei
Gentiana sino-ornata

The Secret Of A Colourful Spring Garden


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Visit: YouGarden.com/AG236

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OUR DOUBLE GUARANTEE TO YOU


1. If youre not totally happy with your order, return it
within 30 days and well replace or refund in full.
2. Should any hardy plants fail to thrive
thereafter, well replace free of
charge you just pay the PP&I!
Peter McDermott
Head Gardener

Post to: YouGarden, PO Box 637, Wetherby Road, York YO26 0DQ.
Item
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Price
9.99
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T
Tried
Tr
ried
d

& tested
Baskets for logs

we try before you buy

Consumer editor Julia Heaton nds out which


reside basket looks great and works well

Humphries

KUBU
WILLOW
45 P&P 5.00

13 15

WICKER LOG
14 15 MEDIUM
AND KINDLING BASKET

A strong and well-made round basket


built from smooth kubu. Dimensions:
16in x 16in (40cm x 40cm). Also comes
as a larger capacity size: 20in x 20in
(50cm x 50cm).

Performance

Ideal for lling with longer, chunkier


pieces of wood, which can be loaded
end on. Not a huge capacity, but when
loaded was okay to use as a carrier as
well, and the handles were comfortable
and rock-solid.

Value

Go for the next size up if you can


accommodate it.
40 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

COLLECTION
11 15 CROFT
UNPEELED RATTAN
P&P/CLICK
100 FREE
AND COLLECT

19.99 P&P 4.99

01476 576541
garden-gear.co.uk

Features

AVING AN open re or a woodburner is a


delight in winter. But what sort of container
do you choose for your logs? The woven
basket type is the most attractive to have
on display and the natural colours enhance any style
of living space even when not in use.
Baskets are good for giving the wood an airing in
the room and encouraging good burning. So our six
purpose-built models on test this week are unlined for
this reason, though you could place some newspaper
in the base to stop debris falling onto the hearth.
When choosing consider rst the available space
you have by the reside and size of material you
want to use on your re. Weve gone for a range
of shapes and sizes in a selection that caters for
different budgets.

0118 903 5210


primrose.co.uk

Features

Made from willow thats been boiled,


allowing the dark tannin to soak into
the wood. Incorporates a tightly woven
handle and base struts. Dimensions:
20in long x 15in wide x 16in high
(50cm x 38cm x 42cm).

Performance

Ideal for holding a variety of long


lengths and was well balanced as a
carrier. At the reside the supporting
struts stopped it from rocking but were
a little rough on the surface. Time will
tell how the single willow edges cope.

Value

Well-priced with a good capacity.

03456 049 049


johnlewis.com

Features

Made of hardwearing, unpeeled rattan


so it has a deeper brown colour and,
compared to the kubu designs, is a less
manufactured look. Dimensions: 19in
wide x 21in high (48cm x 53cm).

Performance

As the largest basket it had the greatest


volume and logs were easily loaded, in
a stacked fashion, providing rewood
for a longer period. But the deep brown
appeared rather dull and the size is
probably too large for many homes.

Value

Leave it loaded by the hearth if you


have the space, quite pricey though.

ASK
OUR EXPERTS
Tried

& tested

CONTEMPORARY BARREL 52

7.60 MOST
MAINLAND ADDRESSES

01294 829012
hastingwoodbasketworks.com

Features

15 15

WHATS
NEW

Made from willow in Scotland. A solid feel, very pretty weave and
neat nish in two colours buff and steamed (which refers to the
treatment of the willow). Dimensions: 21in wide x 17in high (54cm x
43cm). The company makes baskets in different colour combinations
and sizes to suit customers needs.

Our pick of all the latest


gear for gardeners

Performance

Easy to ll with chunky logs


and odd shaped pieces it
held a surprisingly large
amount compared to some
of the others. Strong
and robust with a lovely
creaky sound, like a
babys crib, its compact
good looks wont
dominate a room.

TOPIARY SHEAR 18 RRP

01753 547790 for stockists


darlac.com

01564 793 652


gardenfurniturecentre.co.uk

Features

An attractive hand-woven oval basket


made from chunky kubu. Dimensions:
19in long x 16in wide x 15in high (49cm
x 42cm x 38cm), also available as small,
large and extra large.

All prices correct at time of going

BEST
BUY
KUBU 11
15
OVAL
14.99
P&P 6.99

13 15

to press and may vary at garden

centres

Value

Ticks all the boxes


and gives some of
the more expensive
baskets a run for
their money!

TAPERED
RATTAN
70 FREE DELIVERY

0845 6084448
gardentrading.co.uk

Features

A square shaped basket made of


hardwearing rattan in a natural buff
colour. It has a tough woven base and
smooth, rigid edges. Dimensions 16in
wide x 21in high (40cm x 53cm).

Performance

Performance

Value

Value

Not as rigid as some of the others, as


there was movement in the handles, so
shouldnt be overloaded as a carrier.
As a storage vessel however it did the
job nicely and didnt take up too much
space by the hearth.

Not a huge capacity but the larger sizes


available are reasonably priced.

An attractive basket the high sides


were ideal for longer lengths of wood,
or chunky pieces could be arranged in
the base. But the overall tapering shape
meant it had less capacity than the
John Lewis offering.

Strong and chunky but may be too large


for many people, and fairly pricey.

Joining
the Darlac
Expert range
this season is this
lightweight trimmer with
a safety locking device for left
or right handed users. Ideal for
topiary shaping, trimming heathers
or harvesting herbs, its made from
nylon and breglass for lightness,
strength and durability. For extra
staying power the carbon steel
blades are coated against rusting.

NEVERWET SOLUTION 15 RRP

Rust-oleum
B&Q/Homebase/DIY stores

Make rain damage on wood and


corrosion on metal a thing of the
past with a simple spray from
NeverWet. Itll
protect surfaces
by forming
a moisture
repelling barrier
that causes
liquid to glide
off, not sink in.

HEATER 1,350 DELIVERY COSTS VARY

(0)20 7384 1677


smartreuk.com/bromic/

Its got more than seven times


the output of a traditional
outdoor heater, yet the Tungsten
Smart Heat Portable Heater
is still more economical and
energy efcient than the
standard type. Its sleek, black
stylish design incorporates a
gas canister at the base, is just
over 6ft 6in (2m) tall and has
a pivoting head.

11 OCTOBER 2014 AMATEUR GARDENING

41

Gardening

with the

42 AMATEUR GARDENING XX MONTH 2014

Biodynamics

Evening primrose

stars

Weleda is at the forefront


when it comes to providing
natural health and beauty
products but as Caroline Beck
discovers, the stars as well as
the soil play an important role in
growing the ingredients

ARDENERS OLD
enough to
remember the
organic movement
starting to take hold in the
1970s will recall how the
mention of compost,
companion planting and being
anti-herbicide and pesticide
would result in friends backing
gently away. Now even the heir
to the throne gardens
organically. But what about
biodynamics - the belief that
plant growth is inuenced by
the movement of the sun, moon

and other planets. It sounds


bonkers, a pseudo-science
where plants somehow
mystically connect to the pull
and push of the spheres, but
more gardeners are reaching for
their lunar calendars, and the
trend is spreading to farmers,
commercial fruit growers and
some notable vineyards.
Weleda, a company
manufacturing health and body
care products using plant
extracts grown biodynamically,
was established in the 1920s in
Switzerland. It emerged from
the teachings of the scientist,

Weleda extract the oil from the seeds of


evening primrose, for making soothing creams
for dry skin and inammatory conditions such
as arthritis. The owers attract pollinators

Photography by Howard Walker/Shutterstock

At Weleda, gardeners are guided by


a biodynamic star calendar, which is
produced annually by Maria Thun

Work with
nature, not
against it
philosopher, and founder of the
system of biodynamics,
Rudolph Steiner. He wanted to
see a greater emphasis on the
overall health of soil, plants and
farm animals, believing strongly
that the fate of the human race
lay in the pursuit of this
ecological harmony. The
company began growing plants
needed for their products in
Europe according to Steiners
principles, and in the mid-1920s
Weleda set up a UK base. But it
wasnt until 1996 that they had
certication for growing
biodynamically on a fteen acre
site in a former coal-mining

11 OCTOBER 2014 AMATEUR GARDENING

43

area in Derbyshire. Here


they cultivate over 300 hundred
different species of plants for
use in their products, including
homeopathic and
anthroposophic or spiritual
remedies.
PlANt wIth the PlANets

The growing site is a


smallholding that is a sort of
cross between botanic garden
and nature reserve, where
meadows, ponds, felds and
orchards provide a varied
habitat for wildlife and plants.
The gardeners, some seasonal,
whilst others full-time, are
headed up by Claire Hattersley,
who came to work here in 1999.
She was interested in the theory,
but knew little about the
practice. Fifteen years on and
she thinks shes beginning to get
it. Organics looks at soil health,
and we do this in biodynamics,
but we also raise our sights a bit
higher and look to the planets,
where the moon and sun are,

weleda grows more calendula than


anything else. this fower is fantastic
natural antibacterial properties

and have a 360 degree view of


whats going on in our piece of
land. Crops like calendula,
milk thistle, and poppy are
cultivated in the felds, with
sowing, cultivation and
harvesting regulated not just by
the weather, but by an
astrological calendar which
determines times of day, week
and month which are most
benefcial to either the leaf, root,
fower or shoot.
Many of the plants such as
birch, willow and blackthorn are
also gathered from the woods,
meadows and hedgerows that
have been established on site. It
is a fascinating place, and a
beautiful one. The meadows are
rich in species such as scabious,
ladys bedstraw, yellow rattle
and clover. Even tenacious
cleavers, a weed which most
gardeners yank out by the yard,
are harvested for their
medicinal properties.
Different parts of plants have
varied active ingredients with

Principles of biodynamics
n BIoDyNAmIcs sets out to
work with the influence of the
invisible energies and forces
that exist, as well as those we
can see around us.
n It Is rooted in organic
principles, but crops are
planted and harvested at
optimum times within the
astrological calendar. the soil
is enriched and enlivened with
various preparations to
enhance the life forces within
them. For example, the energy
is in the leaf when the moon is
in the ascendent and the root
when it wanes.
n IN ADDItIoN to the position
of the moon, Venus and saturn
also play a large part in the
Biodynamic farming calendar.
the argument is that
everything grown under this
regime tastes better, does you
more good, makes you a
better person, and is also
better for the land and
environment.
n there are also key
Preparations such as one for
compost, made up with small

measures of dried herbs


including yarrow, dandelion,
and valerian. It is believed
that they act homeopathically
via the compost upon the
plants. another involves the
burial of a cow horn filled
with manure, which is left to
decompose during the winter
and dug up again the
following spring to be used,
in a highly dilute
form, on plants in the next
growing season.
n those growIng
biodynamically, are regularly
inspected by Demeter
International (the equivalent
of the soil association), the
certifying body.
n ArGumeNts for and
against biodynamics will rage
until more scientific studies
are conducted. currently
there is little evidence that
biodynamic agriculture
produces healthier plants than
organic methods, and many
scientists regard the entire
system as bordering on the
occult, but followers say it
really works!

44 AmAteur GArDeNING 11 OCTOBER 2014

compost is one of the key factors in the health of


the soil in biodynamic gardening and at weleda
compost is made from nettles, green manure,
annual weeds and cow manure in a long, hot heap

wide-ranging properties
including antiseptic, antiinfammatory and sedative.
The gardeners not only tend the
plants, but also make up the
tinctures at Weleda just over a
mile away.
Claire takes gardeners from
interested local horticultural
groups around the site by
appointment, and although
some of her visitors are sceptical
most agree with the principle of
good plant health, however that
is achieved. We need to work
with nature, not against it! n
NB. many plants can be
extremely dangerous unless used correctly. Always
consult a reputable medical
herbalist before using.

six

of the
best

Biodynamics

Pot marigold (Calendula officinalis) - one of


the most useful plants used in skin care for
its softening and healing properties. the
flowers can be used for culinary purposes.

Coneflower (echinacea purpurea) harvested for its roots, this plant is known
for stimulating the immune system and is a
great cure-all.

Field poppy (Papaver rhoeas) have long


been recognized as symbols of fertility and
death. the seeds and flowers are used as a
sedative and as an expectorant.

mullein (Verbascum thapsus) - the leaves


and flowers are mucilaginous, meaning they
lubricate tissues so are good for sore
throats, coughs and asthma.

Corn mint (mentha arvensis) - the leaves are


an anti-bacterial stimulant, so good for
coughs as well as digestion problems. the
leaves are traditionally used to treat fevers.

St. Johns Wort (Hypericum perforatum) best known as an anti-depressant, but it


also works well combined with Calendula
officinalis to treat bruises and inflammation.

FurtHer INFo:
n Go to 8 weleda.com for
more information.
n For more information on
Biodynamics go to
8 biodynamics.org.uk

11 OCTOBER 2014 AmAteur GArDeNING

45

L
etters
Letters

Write to Jenny Bagshaw, Amateur


Gardening, Westover House, West Quay
Road, Poole, Dorset BH15 1JG or email:
amateurgardening@timeinc.com

Hosta
on wheels

STAR

LETTER

Jacquie Parker

WHEN I received a giant hosta as a gift I was thinking it


would be difcult to move when it reached its full size.
Then, my husband said that he needed to buy a new
workshop vacuum cleaner. I persuaded him to turn the
base of the old one into a portable hosta house. Im
delighted with the result because I can move the plant
wherever I want without risking a back strain!
Jacquie Parker, Bicester, Oxon

Trick or treat?

JENNY
SAYS:

Shutterstock

Hydrangea petals
arent actually petals
theyre bracts. But
thats splitting hairs.
It still works!

Confetti f lowers
FLOWERS CAN evoke happy
memories. In 1940 I lled a
basket with home-made
confetti using petals pulled
off the large hydrangea
owers that grew in our front
garden. We needed them for

the wedding of our Brown


Owl and had enough for
every Brownie to grab a
handful. These days petals
are regarded as eco-friendly
at that time it was austerity.
Dr Rhoda Pippen, Cardiff

46 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

LAST YEAR I really enjoyed making this spooky Halloween


display from colourful autumn berries picked from my
garden. My grandchildren loved it and enjoyed trick or
treating the gardener!
C. Loader, Taunton, Somerset

Readers QUICKTIPS

BEFORE GARDENING, or doing other grimy jobs, scrape


your nails on a bar of soap so that the dirt wont get
underneath them.
Frances Rutherford, Christchurch, Dorset

Letters

Shutterstock

Water, water
Mixed blessings
TO SAVE money I was forced to make-do with a
couple of trays of mixed pansies, rather than the
more expensive colour-themed ones.
The pansies were in ower, so when I got them
home I separated out the plants by colour. That
way, I was able to create a colour-coordinated
display in my winter containers for under 20.
Kathryn Williams, Bolton

I FOUND Tims article a while back on water


butts interesting, but he says they must be
sited close to a downpipe. I beg to differ. As
seen in the photo, my water butt is secretly fed
from the downpipe on the other side of the
garden. I purchased a length of the correct
diameter hose connected it to the downpipe
and ran it under the paving slabs and soil
beneath the trellis. It is extremely important to
get the levels right but it works ne.
Stephen Gaulter, Malmesbury, Wiltshire

AG on

From this weeks posts

Shutterstock

My sweet peas are


blooming brilliant
again. Long stems,
still strongly
perfumed, colours
still bright. Thanks
AG for my seeds.
Pat Reaney

Found this little


beauty while doing
a bit of weeding.
Shane Crawshaw

Mossy makeover
LIVING IN the West
Country means we tend to
get the ideal weather for
mosses and lichen, which
spread through the lawn
and up the apple trees. My
garden gate is most
attractive, in a weird way,
and I love my springy lawn!
Patrica Holden, Williton, Somerset

Need a back issue?


(01202) 440840
Subscriptions:
(020) 3148 6340
Editor: Tim Rumball
Acting Features editors:
Adrienne Wild, Kathryn Wilson
Acting gardening editor:
Graham Clarke
Gardening writer: Ruth Hayes
Consumer editor: Julia Heaton
News editor: Marc Rosenberg
Art editor: Bob Kemp
Designers: Al Rigger, Del Shults
Katherine Miller
Editors PA/Admin manager:
Jenny Bagshaw
Picture library:
Judith Cake/Judith Everitt

Feast for the birds


EARLIER THIS year, Tim Rumball wrote about
keeping bird feeders clean. Ive found that a simple
paving slab set into the ground is just as good as a
complicated feeder and requires no cleaning. Site it
with bushes about a foot away, ideally with larger
bushes nearby and trees overhead. Do not put all
the food out at once and
try to vary the times you
put it out.
After half an hour the
big birds will have their
ll and leave it to the
smaller birds that have
been waiting in the
bushes. Also, by putting
food out at different
times of the day you will
attract a wider range of
birds to your garden.
Maggie Powell,
Minehead, Somerset

amateurgardening.com
Editorial offices: Westover
House, West Quay Road,
Poole, Dorset BH15 1JG
(01202) 440840
Fax: (01202) 440860
Email: amateurgardening
@timeinc.com

Spicy Tomato &


Apple chutney
.... 2 batches so
far and more
cooking. Also
some pasta
sauce in the
freezer.
Mary Boggan

Our Star Letter wins 40 in National Garden Gift Vouchers; tip of the week, 10; other letters 5 (10 if we use a photo youve sent).
There will be no vouchers awarded for Facebook comments published on these pages. Vouchers can be bought and redeemed at over
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Head office: Blue Fin Building,
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440840. Amateur Gardening is a registered
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Web site:timeincuk.com

11 OCTOBER 2014 AMATEUR GARDENING

47

Gardeners
Gardener
ardener s

tea break Crosword


just for fun...
Answers below

6
7

10

11

12
13
Night temperatures are dropping, with the risk of frost now a reality. So its best to
check that your greenhouse heater is in working order, as AGs editor Tim Rumball
demonstrates here. But can you spot the FOUR differences between these two
pictures of Tim in his greenhouse? (Answers can be found at the bottom of the page)

7 Genus of the dawn


redwood tree (11)
8 Common name for
heuchera (5,5)

A
M
H
M
O
T
H
M
E
M

C
I
R
C
T
O
R
P
I
E

S
L
U
O
R
O
P
T
A
T

A W F
D E W
S T E
A L F
W H S
O G K
E C U
O P S
P H I
H G I

L
E
A
L
M
O
U
L
D
L

Y
E
U
N
E
L
A
C
S
B

L
G
U
B
Y
L
A
E
M
R

HOW TO ENTER: Enter this weeks keyword on the entry No:


232
form, and send it to AG Word Search No 232, Amateur
Gardening, Westover House, West Quay Road, Poole, Dorset
BH15 1JG, to arrive by Wednesday 22 October, 2014. The first
correct entry chosen at random will win our 30 cash prize.
This weeks Keyword is..........................................................................
Name............................................................................................................
Address .......................................................................................................
Postcode.....................................................................................................

9 Having erect and/or


parallel branches as if
rising to a pointed top
(10)
13 Common name for a
plant of the dactylorhiza
genus (5,6)
14 The condition of tilled
soil, especially in respect
to suitability for sowing
seeds (5)
15 Common name for a
plant of the alnus genus
(5)
DOWN
1 Of, or relating to, natural
organic compounds in
the soil, formed from the

2 Free-standing aquatic
patio feature made from
wood, or to look like
wood (5,6)
4 Sucking insect that lives
on plant fluids and
produces a filamentous
waxy white covering
which resembles cotton
(6,5)
5 Harvest a pear! (4)
(anag)
6 Rosemary, basil,
angelica and myrtle
each is this! (4)
10 With manganese, zinc,
copper and molybdenum,
this is a trace element in
the soil, needed by plants
in very small quantities
(4)
11 Common name for a
plant of the sambucus
genus (5)
12 Exude, as time goes
backwards! (4)

CROSSWORD ANSWERS ACROSS 1 Howea 3 Bower


7 Metasequoia 8 Coral bells 9 Fastigiate 13 Marsh orchid 14 Tilth
15 Alder DOWN 1 Humic 2 Water barrel 4 Woolly aphid 5 Reap
6 Herb 10 Iron 11 Elder 12 Emit

B
C
R
E
T
S
I
L
B
R

decomposition of plant
and animal residues (5)

TRUE OR FALSE? FALSE. The RHS lifted the gnome ban for
Chelseas centenary show in 2013.

3 Flower and plantcovered area (5)

(Answer at the bottom of page)

This word search


comprises words
associated with plant
pests and diseases. They
are listed below; in the grid they
may be read across, backwards,
up, down or diagonally. Letters
may be shared between words.
Erroneous or duplicate words
may appear in the grid, but there
is only one correct solution.
After the listed words are found
there are six letters remaining;
arrange these to make this
weeks KEYWORD.

APHID
BLIGHT
BLISTER
EELWORM
LEAFHOPPER
MEALYBUG
MILDEW
MITE
MOTH
MOULD
ROT
RUST
SAWFLY
SCAB
SCALE
SCORCH
SLUG
SLUGWORM
SPOT

ACROSS
1 Genus of the Belmore
sentry and flat palms (5)

Although gnomes have been


smuggled into Chelsea Flower
Show over the years, they
have been banned by the RHS
throughout the events history

Word search
WIN
!
30

15

SPOT THE DIFFERENCE Tims trousers have changed colour and


a dial is missing from the greenhouse heater. A black plug/
transformer next to the wall-mounted power supply has vanished
and there is more gravel in the bottom right-hand corner.

true or
false?

14

Email ............................................................................................................
Tel no ............................................................................................................

KEYWORD ANSWER TO WORDSEARCH NO. 227 (AG, 6 SEPT)

IPC Media Ltd, publisher of Amateur Gardening will collect your personal information solely
to process your competition entry.

DIANTHUS

48 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

AND THE WINNER IS: MRS DEIRDRE BROMHAM, SWANSEA

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From the water chain hanging from the roof


to the water lilies that oat on the surface of
the pond, every detail of Brian Woods small
garden is authentic to the spirit of the
Japanese temple gardens that inspired it

Me & my

Japanese

garden
I

F EASTERN philosophy
has anything to teach
us, it is the virtue of
patience and the
importance of detail talents
that Brian Wood has clearly
demonstrated in his quest to
create a seemingly-perfect
Japanese garden.
Patience was needed from
the outset as Brian, who runs
a garden centre in Dalkey,
Dun Laoghaire, had to wait
many years for the cottage

and garden that hed set his


heart on to come onto the
market. I was keen to
downsize from my previous
house and knew exactly
where I wanted to go, so I
just waited until it came up
for sale, he says.
Brimming with ideas picked
up during trips to Japan,
Brian was determined to get
every detail right from the
outset. Its why I named the
cottage Nara after the

Words by Agnes Stevenson. Photos by Andrea Jones

Brian Woods Japanese inspired garden


brings a sense of Zen-like calm to his tiny,
north-facing plot near Dublin

KLEIN & HUBERT / WWF

ADOPTION

ADOPT HIM TODAY.


OR LOSE HIM FOREVER.
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way back from the brink?

Snow leopards have survived in the Himalayas


for thousands of years. But right now, there are
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that theyre being slaughtered by poachers for
their bones and precious fur and they urgently
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By adopting a snow leopard today, youll help protect this
endangered big cat for future generations.

+
an adoption pack

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Your present. Their future.


For as little as 3 a month, you or your loved
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working tirelessly to help save the beautiful snow leopard.
Whats more, youll have the satisfaction of knowing youre
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feels to help save a species.
from just

3 a
month

Adopt a snow leopard today by lling in the form


below, visiting wwfsnowleopard.com
or calling 0845 200 2392

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APF001026

A Japanese quince (chaenomeles)


owers against one wall. Before
I bought the house I worked out
carefully where the light would
reach the surrounding walls and
planted accordingly, says Brian.

Drumstick primulas (Primula


denticulata) grow beside dwarf
azaleas and the Japanese blood grass
(Imperata cylindrica Rubra) which
produces deep red stems

The rocks
were thrown
up by the
glacier that
once covered
Ireland

this took place only four


years ago. From the cloudpruned pine tree to the mindyour-own-business, growing
in the cracks between the
paving slabs, every feature
has the air of having been
settled long in this space,
perhaps even growing here
before surrounding cottages
were built.
CENTURIES OLD
Many of the plants and
stones in the garden are
indeed very old, says Brian.
The pine tree is Japanese
and more than a 100 years
old. The rocks were thrown
up by the glacier that once
covered Ireland and the stone
water trough is from a nearby
field and dates back more
than 700 years.
Walls, around 10ft high,
block out all views and force
the garden to look in on itself,
heightening the sense of
stillness produced by these
ancient artefacts. I used a
shade called Indian
sandstone on the walls,
which seems to change
from mustard to lemon

Illustration by Elizabeth Paine

Brian imported the wooden Shinto


shrine from Japan. Normally
these are burnt when they are
replaced so dont often
become available. I have put a
little Buddha into this one.

UNESCO World Heritage


Site in Japan, famous for its
temples and shrines, he
explains. After white-washing
the faade he began by
transforming the interior,
adding a conservatory with
huge walls of glass to
perfectly frame the northfacing courtyard like a series
of pictures.
Look out from the glasswalled extension as it
projects over the pond today
and it feels as if the garden is
steeped in centuries of
history. Yet, astonishingly, all

11 OCTOBER 2014 AMATEUR GARDENING 53

depending on the
weather, he adds. One night
there was an eclipse and the
moon glowed blood red,
turning them a shocking
pink. Here again, Brian has
gone the extra mile for a truly
authentic touch by topping
the walls off with tiles,
Japanese style.
All that remains is to soak
up the air of peace and
tranquillity created
throughout. I tend to
wander around in the
evening with a glass of wine
in one hand and deadhead a
few things its really just a
case of gently pruning and
shaping now, he adds.

From inside the conservatory


the garden appears like a
painting, perfectly framed,
radiating an air of calmness
and tranquillity

MEET THE OWNER

Brian has lled his Japanese garden


with striking foliage plants. The
Blue fescue (Festuca glauca) has
metallic blue stems and silvery
owerheads that rustle in the breeze.

Japan is famous for


its moss gardens
and here Brian has
created one in
miniature by giving
a metal hedgehog
moss bristles

54 AMATEUR GARDENING 11 OCTOBER 2014

OWNER Brian Wood


ADDRESS Nara, 15 Tubbermore Road, Dalkey,
Co Dublin
GARDEN SIZE 26ft x 26ft (7.9m x 7.9m)
ASPECT North-west facing
SOIL Shallow and acidic
VISITED June
SPECIAL FEATURES Authentic Japanese artefacts
are set amongst plants that have been shaped
according to ancient eastern principles. A
conservatory sits out over a pond and high walls
surround the entire garden.

Get the
look

harmonic mix
every plant and feature in this garden has
been positioned with the utmost care so
that it harmonises with its neighbours.
(Below) an authentic Japanese stone lantern
sits amidst hostas, rhododendrons and
Nandina domestica (Heavenly Bamboo).

natures Gifts

Use beautiful rocks and


boulders to bring a touch of
wilderness to the garden

Find sheltered spots where Japanese


maples will fourish and can show off
their stunning leaf colours

true Japanese gardens are


intended to evoke nature. Water
is an essential element. Where
there isnt space for a pond a
small bowl or barrel with a
water lily will do the job.

Introduce water into


the garden

Surround your eastern features


with appropriate planting

11 OCTOBER 2014 AmAteUr GArDeNING 55

classified

To place classifed advertising:


Call 0203 148 2858 Fax 0203 148 8314
or email tadeyo_akitoye@ipcmedia.com

BULBS PLANTS & SEEDS

Spring Flowering
BulBS
Single Snowdrops.........................7 per 100
Double Snowdrops .......................9 per 100
Crocus Mixed................................9 per 100
Miniature Daffodils
(Tete & Tete) ........................... 11 per 100
(Minnow)................................ 11 per 100
Dwarf Iris.....................................9 per 100
English Bluebells........................12 per 100
P&P Free, Make cheques and postal orders
payable to Anglia Bulbs, Lords Lane,
Wisbech, Cambs, PE13 4TU

Telephone: 01945 410966


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Telephone: 01983 840750


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Fax: 01983 523575

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or &REE Brocre or visit


or esite

56

Amateur Gardening 11 October 2014

Call 0845 1279903 to order OR visit:

www.caninenaturalcures.co.uk
TO SUBSCRIBE: (0845) 676 7778

BEYOND A
GARDENERS
DELIGHT
Described as the eighth wonder
of the world, the Eden Project
is a spectacular global garden,
providing a horticultural spectacle
whatever the weather this autumn.
Discover three climatic zones and over a million
plants from all across the world. Explore the
largest rainforest in captivity where our Torch
Ginger and
are both beautiful at
this time of year. Meander through the sights and
scents of the Mediterranean Biome and see our
Mandarins and Figs in fruit. Our outdoor gardens
are looking spectacular as the greens of summer
turn to shades of russet and gold, with the
stunning
and varieties of gourds.

www.edenproject.com
The Eden Project is an educational charity that connects us with
each other and the living world. Registered Charity No. 1093070
Eden Project, Bodelva, Cornwall, PL24 2SG | 01726 811911

Exquisite Erythronium Buy THREE FOR 10

15

HALF PRICE OFFER

Flowers appear to dance


in the spring sunshine

Buy NINE FOR

Erythronium dens-canis
Rose Queen
Erythronium
Erythroniums
Pagoda
are known as dog
tooth violets due to
the bulb and petal being a
similar shape to a canine tooth. Despite the name they are very
well behaved and naturalise beautifully.
A stunning woodland perennial that will fourish in any shady area
of your garden, fowering in the springtime. Easy to grow and
maintain.
All Grade 1 bulbs are hand selected for quality in our nursery
and swiftly despatched.

ORDER ONLINE: hayloft-plants.co.uk/AG4114


or call 0844 335 1088

Order Code

AG4114

SEND THE COUPON BY FREEPOST TO


Hayloft Plants, FREEPOST RTGR-JAGJ-JETG, Pensham, Pershore WR10 3HB

Please send me
3 BULBS (one of each pictured)
9 BULBS (three of each pictured)
POST & PACKING (UK)

ITEM CODE

PRICE

BUETH03-AG4114
BUETH09-AG4114

10.00
15.00

QTY

TOTAL

4.95
TOTAL DUE

Name
Address
Postcode
Email

Erythronium californicum
White Beauty

NO-QUIBBLE GUARANTEE

All orders are confrmed


by return with a copy of
our Autumn catalogue.
Call 01386 554440
for your FREE copy.

Tel

Delivery
within
14 days

By advising us of your email address we will be able to send all of our special offers
Please tick here if you prefer not to receive offers other than from our company
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Hayloft Plants, Manor Farm, Pensham, Worcestershire WR10 3HB

AGs telly gardener

Toby
y Buckland
Taming a
garden thug

TUNE IN
TO TOBY ON
BBC FLOWER
SHOW
COVERAGE

Its owers look spectacular


but the leaves of Yucca
gloriosa are vicious

David Lock

being pin sharp, the curved


profile of the leaves
combined with the stout
nature of the yuccas trunk
means they dont yield even
by a millimetre. They are as
stiff and rigid as a Medieval
mace and about as brutish.
Yuccas common name
Spanish Dagger is very apt
as the leaf-tips can cut
through clothing and flesh
as easily as a hot knife
through tortilla. Over the
years Ive had more run-ins
(or more accurately
accidentally walk-intos)
with this pitiless plant than
I care to remember.
Often its because Ive
gone to sniff the flowers
that, like a sirens song,
tempt me to venture
dangerously close. Or worse

Start your Christmas shopping early!


save up to 34% on a subscripton to Amateur Gardening

because Ive unwittingly


backed into the plant while
manoeuvring a barrow a
pain in the backside if ever
there was one!
There are ways to
temporarily tame it though,
by trimming off the points
with a pair of scissors. Its a
trick that works on strapleaved plants that are a
danger to eyes, life and limb
such as phormiums and
cordylines that grow near
to paths and house
plant agaves that catch
the net curtains.
You have to remember to
keep doing it though,
especially with the yucca,
as new leaves that sprout
all the time come as sharp
as razors straight from
the packet.
Theres a place for every
plant, but unless you need a
hedge capable of keeping
rampaging dinosaurs at
bay take my advice: steer
well clear of Yucca gloriosa.

TOBYS
FINAL WORD

Time Inc.

HE LIST of flowers
I could never-bewithout is so long
that I can never pick
out a clear favourite. That
said, there is one Id be happy
never to see again and thats
Yucca gloriosa.
On paper it looks good:
architectural foliage, an
Award of Garden Merit from
the RHS and 6.5ft (2m) tall
panicles of scented white
summer flowers. But ignore
the small print about its
sharp leaves at your peril.
They make porcupines seem
cuddly in comparison.
Hedgerow holly is prickly,
pyracantha is thorny and
berberis is sharp but nothing
comes close to the yucca for
sheer viciousness.
Thats because as well as

Shutterstock

Toby looks at ways to ensure an awardwinning plant doesnt land you in A&E

TO REMOVE an unwanted or
dead shrub, chop back the top
(and any sharp leaves) leaving
a
20in (50cm) stump. Use this as
a handle to lever the plant from
the soil after chopping through
the roots with a spade.

VISIT: www.magazinesdirect.com/CBW4
OR CALL: 0844 8480848 and quote code CBW4.
Lines open 7 days a week 8am-9pm (UK time). Overseas +44 (0) 330 3330 233
11 OCTOBER 2014 AMATEUR GARDENING

59

Rare Scented Winter Flowering Clematis


Multi-colour blooms with the most incredible aroma
are followed by months of beautiful uffy seed heads

Wonderful sweetly scented owers


Vivid multi-coloured blooms
from November to March
Months of uffy seed heads
through spring
Clematis napaulensis.
A rare and unusual clematis
originating from Nepal and parts of
China. Clematis napaulensis displays
glorious, multi-coloured blooms
during dull winter months to bring
life to the dormant garden. Sweetly
perfumed, bell shaped, cream blooms
of this fascinating clematis hang in
large clusters displaying vibrant purple
stamens shining out from its lush new
foliage. Not just a one season wonder
after owering from November through to
March this amazing variety develops clouds
of uffy seed heads or beards to decorate the
dormant plant for months to come.
Growing up to 3m (10ft) high, clematis
napaulensis requires minimal maintenance
and is ideal for a sheltered courtyard or patio.
Supplied in a 7cm pot.
Delivery October/November.

Clematis Food
Get the best possible performance
from your Clematis with our specially
formulated Chempak Clematis Food.
The perfect fertiliser. 750g. Just 9.99

HURRY OFFER MUST END


OCTOBER 25th
NOW
ONLY
WAS
14.99

9.99

Tower Pot
Display your new clematis in style with
this decorative 38cm (15in) diameter pot
including a 2-part frame to support the
clematis as it climbs higher. From 19.99

To place your priority order visit:

www.vanmeuwen.com/vsop324 GUASRTA5AR
Or call 0844 557 1850

9am-6pm 7 days a week


quote code 'VSOP324

NTEE

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Item Description
Clematis napaulensis
V15153A
1 potted plant WAS 14.99
Clematis napaulensis
V16521A 2 potted plants SAVE 15
V48803P Tower Pot, 1 Pack
V48804P Tower Pot 2 Packs SAVE 10
V15813
Chempak Clematis Food 750g

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