What a winner!


Richard and competition winner Patsy JacksonI had a lot of fun this week. On Monday, I went to meet Patsy Jackson, the winner of a competition organised by QVC and Amateur Gardening magazine. What a lovely lady and what a lovely garden! Patsy (pictured with me) tends the garden on her own and it's a real tribute to her hard work and enthusiasm.

I was there to give some gardening advice and it was a real treat wandering around chatting about plants and ideas. Patsy, like many gardeners this year, has had a major problem with slugs and snails, so I recommended she controls them with the environmentally-friendly slug pellets based on naturally-occurring ferric phosphate.

I also suggested hard pruning her summer flowering clematis in late February to about 30cm (12") to encourage lots of fresh young growth from the base, putting pots of scented plants in her sun trap 'secret' garden and looked at ways to tame her rampant bamboo plant. We discussed lots more too, as will be revealed in a forthcoming issue of Amateur Gardening.

On Wednesday, I took part in the filming of QVC's Christmas promotion. I had to give Julian a special present and he didn't know what to make of it! I'm really sorry I wasn't there on Thursday too as they were covering the garden with artificial snow and I'd loved to have seen that.

Back home, I fed the summer bedding plants with Flower Power to encourage those last few weeks of colour, fed the grass with Lawn Magic and finally did a spot of weeding, and that cleared some useful space for autumn planting.

Happy gardening

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