Answering your gardening questions


Here are a few questions I’ve received in recent months. Please share your questions in the comments section below, and I’ll endeavour to answer them in my next post!

Janet says she has an un-opened bag of my compost which she bought last May and wonders if it will still be OK to use? Yes, you certainly can, as long as the bag has been kept dry. If rain has got in , and the compost is very wet, it would be best to dig it into the garden, or add it when planting in the border.

Recently I launched my Garden Health Kit, featuring a range of products, all of which are approved for organic gardening, that sort out most of the major pests in the garden , including slugs, ants, greenfly and lily beetle. Sarah wanted to know if it also controls vine weevil. Sorry, it’s about the one pest it doesn’t! I’d recommend using a biological control, which are sold by most mail order suppliers.

Now the weather has warmed up, and we’re starting to plant out our summer bedding, it’s time to start feeding your plants with Flower Power. It’ll make a huge difference. Most gardeners use a watering can to apply it but Maggie asked if it can also be used in a hose-end sprayer. Yes, it can, but only in the Flower Power hose-end sprayer which uses a special venturi system that dilutes the Flower Power at the right rate all the time you use it.

If you’re using the sprayer with Flower Power, do make sure the fertiliser is fully dissolved, I strongly recommend straining the dissolved liquid through a tea strainer before adding to the spray bottle.

One of my favourite, easy-grow summer bedding plants is Cosmos Sonata whose beautiful daisy-like flowers brighten up the garden for months. Philip posted a question asking what size pots they should be grown in? As the plants get quite large, I’d grow one plant per 30/35cm pot, or three in a bigger pot. My multi-purpose compost is perfect for them as they especially enjoy the free draining texture of my special mix.

When growing cosmos, you should pop them in a sunny spot, keep them well watered, feed twice a week with flower power and , just as important, remove the finished flowers to stop them from going to seed (and that means they’ll flower less).

Dale and I were chatting this week about how quickly garden birds are eating my bird food during the=is breeding season. It’s lovely watching the small birds on the feeders ( one of my favourites is a woodpecker) but Andrea has sent in a question asking how to keep the bigger birds off the feeders. One answer is to use feeders with smaller perches, so the bigger birds can’t get on to them. Alternatively, use a squirrel proof feeder, which is enclosed in a cage. The smaller birds can get in and enjoy the food, but not the bigger ones.

Happy gardening,



  1. Amanda Garrard June 15, 2017 at 11:20 am -  Reply

    Hi Richard. I simply love flower power, I use it on everything from Acer’s, to Box hedge to my roses. My problem is my roses. I have two rose gardens with about 30 roses, they get fed, with your flower power, plant invigerator and ferlizer. They start off very healthy with masses of blooms but the leaves then start to turn yellow. Any tips? I’ve read could be lack of certain nutrition’s, under or over watering so I’m a bit confused. Please help. Thank you. Amanda

  2. Irene Jenkins June 15, 2017 at 2:57 pm -  Reply

    Dear Richard, what will get rid of mushrooms in my garden.

  3. Maureen Haycock June 15, 2017 at 5:16 pm -  Reply

    Hi Richard

    My wisteria has not grown any leaves after it flowered the few leaves I have are very weak and yellow in colour. Can you give me your comments.

    Many thanks Maureen Haycock

  4. Julie Jeffreys June 16, 2017 at 2:35 pm -  Reply

    Hello Richard, I need your help please. I am at a loss, I have just lost a dear friend and I am wanting to purchase a plant or tree with the name Pete or Peter in the name. I have looked on various Google sites to no avail. If you know of any plants etc and can
    help me would be most greatful.
    Many thanks.
    Julie Jeffreys

  5. Helen Hill June 17, 2017 at 8:08 am -  Reply

    Hi Richard. Need help with my lawn . I have brown patches everywhere I’m told the cause is my dogs can you help. Thank you

  6. william hamilton June 17, 2017 at 11:56 am -  Reply

    hi richard

    can you tell me how to get rid of a troublesome weed it has a long thin appearance and i have a photo of it but dont know where to send it to.

  7. Maxine Denton June 18, 2017 at 11:46 am -  Reply

    I am on waitlist for Lawn magic and am getting desperate, will it be in soon.?

  8. Kay Rowe June 19, 2017 at 2:52 pm -  Reply

    Could you please tell me how i go about prunning a christmas tree that is growing quite wide. I also would like to know how to trim the lower branches. thank you

  9. David Fearn June 23, 2017 at 1:51 pm -  Reply

    The hose end sprayer and have followed the instructions.but when I mix the granules the mixture is brown. I have used the sprayer and strained the flower and connected the sprayer ,but the solution is clear so in my opinion the solution is not you connect the sprayer and do not turn the switch to open until the water supply is turnedon

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