Your Gardening Questions Answered.
We love to help and encourage everyone into the garden, allotment or community park, no matter how big or small. We dont believe in charging for information that should be there for everyone. So please send us your questions about gardening, plants, maintenance, seasonality, wildlife... pretty much anything plant related. Once received we will do our best to send you a thorough helpful answer.
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Simply send your email to us via the link.
As we believe in the sharing of useful knowledge to all that are interested. A selection of the useful prior questions and answers have been copied below, these are updated regularly and don't worry no personal details are ever shared.
Q: What should I do with my Dutch Iris after the flowers fade?
A: Once finished flowering trim the flower stems off at the base, the leaves should be left until they turn yellow at which point they can also be cut off. The bulbs can be left in the ground and will come back next year.
Q: Should I lift my Dahlia tubers?
A: Dahlia's are perennials however the tubers do not like to sit in cold and wet soil. I do know people in warmer areas that leave them with success however in most of the UK it is advisable to lift them to prevent tubers rotting over the cold months. Carefully lift the tubers once all foliage has died off. Remove any lose soil and allow to dry if need be. Keep in a cool but dry dark container which can breathe over winter. A cardboard box in a frost proof shed for example works well. Ensure the tubers are loosely laid out to allow space between them, overcrowding can encourage rot. If rot occurs remove and dispose of any affected tubers. Remember to label If you have different cultivars.
Q: When should I prune my apples?
A: Apples are traditionally pruned when dormant and bare stem in winter for heavy formative pruning to remove any dead, damaged, diseased, or crossing branches and for shape. I late summer a second prune is completed to encourage next years fruit.
Q: The leaves on my Aloe have changed colour, is this normal?
A: Yes certain Aloe's particularly the lighter coloured ones change colour in response to changing light levels, think of it like thier version of sunscreen.
Q: Iv heard picking sweet pea flowers encourages more flowers, is this true?
A: Yes, sweet peas simply put, want to make seed, by picking the flowers you prevent this, and in response the plant will send more flowers. You can also trim off seed pods before theyve set. (But picking the flowers give a lovely vase). Do remember to water and feed your plants well especially if in containers they are hungry plants. Eventually the plants will begin to turn yellow. At this point their is no energy left this is when you should stop picking and allow the plant to set seeds if you wish to save some for next year.
Q: I have grown peas this year for the first time, what do I do with them now theyve gone over?
A: Pea's are an annual once exhausted they should be dug into the ground, peas & beans fix nitrogen, by burying them it is released back into the soil for next years crops.
Q: How often do I water my succulent?
A: This is a very common question and it does depend on the succulent. And also the environment where it is kept. There is no set time frame to water them, if kept in warm conditions they will need more then cold and so on. A general rule if unsure is to allow to soil to pull away from the edges of the pot before watering. At which point thoroughly soak the plant but allow it to drain through, do not sit in water. Succulents are often overwatered. If they show signs of shrivelling leaves the plant is using its internal stores and needs more water. If they are browning and dying particularly at soil level they are too wet. Always ensure you use a free draining mix substrate mix, this can be made by mixing potting compost with potting grit or perlite. For more specific instructions please reply with your succulent type.
Q: Iv seen people put stone or pebbles on top of pots, why is this?
A: Using a dressing of potting grit, decorative gravel, pebbles, sea glass etc is common. It serves many purposes.
Many people use it for the pleasing aesthetics preferring to view attractive stones over soil. It also acts to reduce humidity by reducing water loss. The covering essentially shades the soils from the direct light reducing evaporation. This reduces the need for watering and reduces moisture in the air which is beneficial in terms of houseplants. Especially in the winter when humidity levels in the UK can rise signifanctly.
A third benefit is the reduction of competition, when sowing seeds and seedlings the gravel reduces wind blown seeds taking hold and outcompeting the plants which you have sown. Its often seen when sowing Cyclamen seeds for example.
If using a sharp grit the topping can also benefit by deterring slugs and snails who dont enjoy crawling across this.
Of course whatever you do use ensure it is horticultural grade.