Gardeners forum

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If you have any general gardening questions that you’d like an answer to, just post your question here and we will respond to your question shortly (usually within 2-3 days).

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Q: It's late December and I haven't done any pruning, is it too late??  

Mr M Shore  | Guildford| 18/12/12

A: I'm happy to tell you it's not too late. Any time between late November and early March is a good time. However I prefer early March as the buds are beginning to swell and this gives a good indication on where to cut, with the added benefit to not leaving your garden too bare throughout the winter.

Q: I had a patio installed a year ago and over the winter it's discoloured and gone green, how you suggest I restore it?  

John Parry  | Hailsham| 08/11/12

A: Firstly, resist the urge to use a jet washer as this will cause serious damage to your patio and will only be a temporary fix. It is generally better to use a patio cleaner containing fungicide and moss killer, I find the GeoChem Mould and Mildew Cleaner gives immediate results and if used annually keeps patios clear.

Q: I garden on the coast, what plants will survive salt winds?  

S Catt | Eastbourne | 28/06/11

A: Atriplex, choiysia, cordyline, cotoneaster, cytisus, eleagnus, escallonia, euonymus, fuchsia, garrya, genista, hebe, llex, lavendula, lavateria, olearia, phlomis, phormium, rosemarinus, santolina, genista, spirea, tamarix yucca, acanthus, agapanthus, centranthus, dianthus, echinops, erygnium, knipofia, nepeta, pelegonium, sedum.

Q: I want to replace my lawn what is the best procedure 

 Ms. J Calderwood | Eastbourne | 28/06/11

A: It’s best not to rotavate the old turf onto the ground. The best way is to lift the old turf either manually with a turfing iron or mechanically with a turf lifter and remove to tip, then rotavate.
Preperation of the rotavated soil with with a lawn rake or levelling lute takes time but is well worth the effort, as well as walking the soil to consolidate it pushing your heels into the soil so that there is a heel impression every 100mm. With a final rake and a generous spread of granular fertilizer the turf can be rolled out and boarded flat with planks so that there are no voids between turf and soil.

Q: I’m confused as to what method of pruning to use on my clematis? 

Paul Jenkins | Wannock, e.sussex | 01/07/11

A: Clematis are divided in to 3 main groups and each is treated differently.
Group 1: these flower on the previous years growth and are just given a light prune or trim to shape after flowering. eg. Clematis Montana
Group 2: these include the early large flowered forms that flower in May and early June so pruning is limited to cutting out weak or dead stems in February. Prune too much and you will have no flower. After the first flush of flowers have finished you can prune back some of the flowered shoots to maintain order
Group 3: these are the later flowering hybrids eg. Vitticellas, orientalis. As these flower on the new seasons growth you can prune in February by taking each stem and counting two good strong buds from the bottom cut away everything above. It looks brutal but is an effective way of encouraging strong growth and good flowering.