As I write, I’ve just got back from a wonderful visit to the Chelsea Flower Show. It’s a great show this year and I especially enjoyed it since the Chelsea Plant of the Year, Clematis Amber, was grown and fed with my Flower Power plant food!
Also, the two growers who used my feed to grow their show plants, Roualeyn Fuchsias and Taylors Clematis, both won highly coveted Gold medals for their displays.
One of the biggest queues at Chelsea was for the garden advice section and it reminded me that I’ve had a few questions on my blogs recently. Rather than answering them individually, I thought I’d try to answer a few of them in this week’s blog.
My hellebore flowers are very dull this year. They are around two years old. They were very vibrant when they flowered in previous years but are now very dull. What causes this? – from Lesley Smith
Well Lesley, I think the problem could be that the plants aren’t growing as well as they should, and this could be due to a number of reasons; such as them getting too dry. My advice is to keep them well watered, especially throughout the spring and summer, and to feed fortnightly with Flower Power to help them build up their strength and vigour.
Can you tell me why my baskets are full of caterpillars? I’ve been gardening for about 20 years and when I first noticed the plants were being eaten, I checked the plants but could not see anything. A month later, my husband got the baskets down because they looked a mess and each basked was full of caterpillars. I was growing fuchsias, trailing begonias and double petunias – from Linda Ashworth
I think you’re referring to a weevil, one of the biggest pests in container gardening. It causes some damage to the leaves (the tell-tale sign is a series of notches in the side of the leaves) but their grubs, which live in the soil or compost, cause even more havoc as they eat the roots and can cause the pant to collapse overnight.
The ‘caterpillars’ are creamy white grubs with a brown head, and the pest is called Vine Weevil. To treat it, you can use a chemical called Provado Vine Weevil Killer or a biological control, called nemasys, available through companies like greengardener.co.uk. For lots more information on getting rid of vine weevil, see my website.
I am looking for suitable plants to plant on my north-facing high fence with a sheltered border and in heavy shade during the winter, moderate shade in summer. I want height and/or climbers, and I prefer flowers or interesting leaves, with fragrance if possible – from Jill Dowding
Top of my list, Jill, would be a lovely scented honeysuckle called Lonicera ‘Halliana’, which has the most fabulous fragrance in the summer. It’s a climber, so is ideal for growing along the fence. I’d also grow the Mexican Orange Blossom, Choisya Ternata, which has orange scented leaves and flowers.
For a winter scent, I’d plant the Christmas box, sarcoccoca and for mass summer colour, I’d plant hydrangeas. For lovely leaves, you can’t beat some of the pretty climbing ivies, I especially like Hedera Goldheart – but it is a bit slow to establish so speed it up by planting with Rootbooster and feeding with Flower Power.
One more thought, do plant lots of shade tolerant spring flowering like snowdrops and daffodils. They’ll love growing here.
Regarding Wet & Forget and your fantastic weedkiller, can up you use in conjunction with each other and which way round to use first? – from Marlene J
Marlene, I’d use the weedkiller first to kill off any weeds and moss on the patio, leave it a few days for it to work through the leaves into the roots, remove the dead top growth, and then apply Wet & Forget.
Thanks for all your questions. I will answer more questions in the coming months. If you’ve got any more urgent questions, please do contact me and my gardening friends through my website, Richard Jackson’s Garden. It’s completely free, simply sign up to my Flower Power gardening club, and ask away!