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13 November 2014

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You are in: Berkshire > Local radio > Colin Evans > Colin Evans Garden Tips

Chelsea Flower Show

Chelsea Flower Show

Colin Evans Garden Tips

Colin gets frustrated with the changeable English weather in May, just in time for the Chelsea Flower Show. He also warns against growing exotic plants in anticipation of global warming, whatever scientists may tell you!

Why is it that The Chelsea Flower Show is always halfway through May each year? Most gardeners are hard pressed to keep up with the changes in the weather and the night temperatures in their own gardens without having to keep plants looking their best for exhibition purposes.

Dracena marginata

Dracena marginata

It's either too windy, too wet, too dry or just too cold. So why do horticulturists inflict sleepless nights and long days on themselves when surely a horticultural show could easily take place in say June or July?

The days would be longer and warmer and we  would all feel a little more like getting out into the open.

Yes, I know The Hampton Court Palace Flower Show takes place in July, but why can't Chelsea take place in June and Hampton Court in August? That way we could all be sure of the right conditions.



If you listen to the scientists, you would be hard pressed to know what to do for the best, anyway.

This week an university boffin has test results to prove that eventually only the very wealthy will have lawns as these will be a luxury and our gardens will resemble deserts like those in Spain, since, according to this scientist, water will be at an all time low.

You will at last be able to grow without any bother what so ever, all those exotics you drool over when you are abroad and thousands of miles from Blighty.

If it happens in my lifetime, or yours for that matter, I will happily eat my gardening hat, and if you are convinced, then I suggest you buy a lottery ticket as there is more chance of you winning the big one than growing a vast drift of dracena marginata in your south of England garden.

Colin's plant of the week

Kalmia latifolia is an evergreen shrub which is a close relative of rhododendrons and like them are happier in more acid soils although they prefer lighter sunnier positions. Flowering late in June the pink flowers of this shrub fill the garden , not only with striking colour but a light sweet perfume as well.

Kalmia Latifolia

Kalmia Latifolia

Better known as the "Calico Bush", Kalmia will reach a height of 3m and is easy to look after with no pruning, just dead head removal after flowering.


1: Keep an eye open for perennial weeds on the lawn like dandelions and daisies as they will eventually take over the garden. Remove the heads of dandelion flowers before they seed and apply a spot weed killer to the daisies.

2: Hanging baskets still need to be kept out of the cold by keeping in
the greenhouse until the end of the month. Pinch out the growing tips to encourage branching and thickening of all the trailing plants.

3: Once rhododendrons have flowered, carefully remove each dead
flower head. Make sure though, that you do not remove the small green shoot at the side of the spent flower, this is the new growth for next years flowering. Feed each shrub with an acid based feed and water in, then place a mulch of leaf mould under the plant to retain moisture.

Happy Gardening:

last updated: 08/05/2009 at 17:13
created: 08/05/2009

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