Thank you to all those who have left comments on my blog – it's great to hear your views and to get your gardening questions. I've picked out a few of your dilemmas, and I hope you'll find the answers useful…
Feeling confused, purchased trailing begonias from your show on TV, you suggested putting three trailing begonias to a basket and displayed a picture of a wonderful basket of begonias.
Having read your advice you now say to over fill baskets with plants to get a good show, my baskets have been made up for three weeks now with three plants to a basket – is it too late to add more plants?
Richard: There's no simple answer to this, as it really depends on the type of plants you're using. For a fabulous display of Apricot shade begonias (sold in the begonia collection), I'd plant sixteen of them in a 40cm (16") hanging basket. But if I was planting the giant flowered picottee trailing begonias, I'd plant far fewer, just five in a 30cm (12") basket or eight in a 40cm (16") basket.
When I'm planting mixed baskets containing lots of varieties of different plants, that's the time I cram in as many plants as I can. If you've planted lots in the same basket, it's especially important to feed them regularly to help them all flourish. I use Flower Power as my feed.
My garden is overrun with slugs. I am not a huge gardener but it is definitely ''growing'' on me. I bought some new plants and almost the next day they had been eaten – very upsetting. Please can you help with the best thing to get rid of the little slimers? Don't mind if it's organic or not – desperation is setting in!!
Richard: Deter slugs by sprinkling a circle of sharp grit around vulnerable plants. If the plants are in pots, another good method is to tie a couple of strands of copper wire (about 1cm apart) around the rim of the pot – the slugs won't crawl over the copper.
Beer traps also work well. Sink a clean, empty margarine tub into the ground, with just the rim above soil level (to stop any beetles from falling in). Pour some leftover beer (if you have any!) into the tub and the slugs will be attracted by the smell, then fall in and drown.
You could also try biological control, which you water onto the ground – it's very effective and safe, but a bit pricey. Or simply use slug pellets, but don't overdo them: sprinkle the individual pellets about 15cm (6") apart.
I love growing lilies but I always get this black bug on them which ends up killing them. Can you please tell me how I can treat this?
Richard: It sounds as though they've been attacked by the lily beetle. Most people notice them as red beetles sunbathing on the leaves and don't realise the damage they can cause. Left alone, the beetles can strip a lily of all its leaves in a matter of days. You've described the larval stage, a little grub that hides in a layer of unpleasant black grunge. To get rid of the pest, squash the beetle and larvae between some leaves. But if you don't like the idea of that, spray with bug killer.
If you've got a gardening problem, feel free to leave a comment below and I'll try and answer it.
Watch this space for more answers soon.