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A rose for Twiggy, Plant Swap and tomato tips

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Production team | 15:29 UK time, Friday, 12 June 2009

Hi all

What a busy week it's been at GW HQ. We've all been working very hard at Gardeners' World Live, especially at Plant Swap where you've all been swapping your wonderful plants for somebody else's and we've also been swapping Gardeners' Delight tomato plants in return for plants for our garden at Greenacre.

For those of you lucky enough to get your hands on a Gardeners' Delight plant or if you're just looking for more information on tomato plant care, please read on for some useful tips:

If you're planting your plant in the ground, give the pot a good water and find a sunny, sheltered position and dig a hole bigger than the pot. Add some compost to the hole and some general purpose fertiliser, then plant the tomato and firm the soil around it. Then give the soil around the tomato a good watering.

If you're planting in a container, to grow well, a tomato needs plenty of room for its roots to spread out, the bigger the pot the better. Go for one at least 30cm across. Fill your pot with some good multi-purpose compost and plant, position and water as above. Or use a growbag to solve pot and compost dilemmas in one go.

Tomatoes need plenty of water to help the fruits swell. Don't let them dry out because, when you do water them the skins will split. So water regularly and, once the flowers have appeared, don't forget to feed at the same time. There are plenty of liquid tomato feeds available and any of these will encourage healthy growth and lots of tasty fruit. Just follow the instructions carefully on the bottle.

To get the best flavour, allow fruit to ripen fully on the plant before picking. To encourage more fruit to ripen, remove the growing tip of the main shoot at the top in early September.

Also on tonight's show we'll be featuring an English rose that's had the honour to be named after the legendary Twiggy. Rosa 'Twiggy' is a robust, well-branched bush rose and technically a floribunda, which simply means that it carries its flowers in clusters of blooms per stem. These clusters often form massive sprays of flowers - as many as two dozen blooms per branch was not unusual during trials of the rose. The branches are stiff and sturdy, well capable of bearing the weight of such a vast crop of blooms.

Massive clusters like these are a terrific bonus. They make a big, colourful impact whether the rose is planted singly, among mixed flowers or shrubs, or in groups, or in a container. An additional benefit of clusters is that instead of opening all at once, the blooms on a single branch are staggered over a period of weeks, (depending on weather and growing conditions). Consequently, you get a longer flowering period - once all blooms on a main stem are exhausted, a new branch will be ready to repeat the performance with another flush of flowers.

Please note Twiggy's Rose won't be available until this autumn, but there are hundreds of different cultivars available. To find the right rose for your garden, try the rose locator tool on the Roses UK website.

If you can't get to GW Live to see what's on offer from the specialist nurseries, find one local to you using the RHS nursery finder.

That's all for now, enjoy your gardening weekend


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