Gardeners' Question Time - Ambleside
Chaired by Eric Robson, the GQT team is in Ambleside, Cumbria, with panellists Bunny Guinness, Anne Swithinbank and Toby Buckland.
Chaired by Eric Robson, the GQT team is in Ambleside, Cumbria. Panellists Bunny Guinness, Anne Swithinbank and Toby Buckland take questions from a local gardening audience.
Produced by Howard Shannon A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.
This week's questions:
Q. Can the panel suggest a dwarf apple that will appeal to children and grow well in a raised bed?
A. Rootstock dictates the size of the tree, an M27 or M9 stock is recommended for dwarf fruit trees. Discovery is a good apple to have in a pot. An alternative way of growing dwarf apples is to grow them as a low fence around the edge of the raised bed. Plant the tree in the bed and pull the first two shoots out along a bit of wire, which eventually will grow into a boundary.
Q. How do I successfully grow Poppies in my garden?
A. Fleshy rooted plants such as Poppies often do well when they are bare root planted, being put into the ground when they are dormant. The traditional method of growing is to do so in a deep long tom container. To help the plant establish in the ground put it into the ground in spring or autumn when it is starting to put nutrients into it's roots.
Q. Could the panel suggest a perennial to plant at the base of a Joseph Rock Ash tree with surfacing roots?
A. A mixture of herbaceous perennials is recommended, including Achillea Moonshine with yellow flowers or Salvia Amistad, which should flower from May/June until the winter frost. A tougher Salvia is a Nachtvlinder, which should last just as long, both have flower in shades of purple.
Q. Do the panel have any tips for planting and maintaining a sedum garden on my flat top garage roof?
A. Sedum roofs attract weed seeds such as Rape Seed Oil and Chives so you need good access to be able to weed regularly. It is recommended to use a coir mat, this method will get nutrients simply from rainwater; added nutrient will allow unwanted grasses and weeds to grow.
Q. My Sambucas Nigra is taking over the garden. Can I prune without affecting the flowering for next year?
A. Sambucas Nigra respond very well to pruning. Prune in the autumn or late winter, allowing it to flower first. To ensure it flowers the following year thin the shrub by approximately a third annually.
Q. My 16 year old Wisteria died suddenly. What do the panel think may have been the cause? And can I plant another Wisteria in the same soil?
A. A sudden death suggests a problem at the root; ideally the soil should be replaced. If it can't be replaced try using mycorrhizal powder, which is full of 'friendly' fungi which will fight harmful fungi.
Q. My Hoster is growing rapidly, when do the panel suggest is the best time to split it up?
A. In the Autumn as the leaves are yellowing and dying down. Use a serrated edge kitchen knife or a straight edge craving knife. Aim to size the plant so the root bulb fits into both your hands.
Q. How can I encourage Wild Daffodils to flower?
A. Move them to fresh ground and add bone meal to the soil. When you dig them up check for narcissus fly in the centre of the bulb, the fly's grub eats the flower bud, leaving the plant to grow small side leaves instead of the flower.