Here goes…


Planting some winter potsIt's the first day of November and a glorious day so I planted up some autumn/winter pots, then I picked some dahlias. Very soon we'll have the first frost which will finish off the dahlias for the season, so these late flowers are a real bonus and they look lovely in a vase in the kitchen.

I didn't grow any busy lizzies this summer and I'm very relieved since so many plants around the country were devastated by downy mildew disease. There's a big debate going on currently between growers and retailers as to whether gardeners should grow them next year. At a big conference on the subject last week, attended by Peter Seabrook, he told me that it was suggested that cutting raised busy lizzies are much more susceptible to the disease than seed raised varieties. However, even seed raised varieties like 'Accent' are prone and the suggestion is that they are only safe if grown under cover, like a car porch, where the leaves won't get wet (the disease is spread through droplets of water).

My gut feeling is that we should all stop growing them for a year or two and grow alternatives such as Sunpatiens, which aren't affected by the disease. I gather that many of the big retailers such as B&Q and Tesco are considering stopping selling busy lizzies next year, whilst others, with an eye for profits rather than their customer, are planning to sell them with a health warning (I wonder if they'll be saying this plant may well die if it rains!) I realise it's a tough call for the industry as busy lizzies are the top selling bedding plant in the world but times change and I'll be urging every gardener to switch to other plants. My begonias have been stunning this year- and that's what I'll be growing again next summer.

In the meantime, thanks to everyone who has asked about Rosie, our gnasher-like dog. She seems to be as fit as a fiddle again.

Happy gardening


  1. Mrs l johnson January 10, 2012 at 10:35 pm -  Reply

    help I left my Begionas in the ground will they last till next year they where the show of my garden bought from qvc. Watch all your shows Richard with great joy Thanks if you can help Bunny

  2. Alison Noble March 10, 2012 at 8:42 am -  Reply

    Hi Richard, love all the gardening & have bought loads including Flower power & Lawn Magic. My reason for getting intouch is :there are many lovely Lilies to buy on Q V C but do you know the pollen is poison to cats ? I am connected with our local cat shelter & go regularly to the vets with different cat illnesses. In the summer there can be many cats taken in to a vet with lily pollen poison which can lead to a slow painful death with kidney & liver failure. Would it be possible for you to mention about the pollen when talking about lilies ? going through the trauma of seeing a beloved pet in destress & knowing this could have been prevented must be a top priority. Thank you for reading this.

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