FUCHSIA GALL MITE
(Photograph: RHS)More on fuchsia gall mite
The fuchsia gall mite was first detected in the UK in September 2007. Tell-tale signs include a reddening of the foliage, followed by gross distortion of the leaves and flowers. Eventually, all new growth stops. The only cure is to burn or bury infested plants.
This pest is currently confined to the south of England and, to date, has been found in Cornwall, Devon, Dorset, Hampshire, Middlesex, West Sussex, Kent and the Isle of Wight. Because the mites are microscopic and easily blown about by the wind, experts reckon it will soon spread to other parts of the UK. The RHS is keen to monitor the problem and if you suspect an attack, they’d like to hear from you. Affected shoots should be placed inside a sealed polythene bag and sent to the address below:
Alternatively, you could take a photo and send it to email@example.com
Garlic needs a long growing season to do well. It also benefits from being chilled in the ground early on in its development - a couple of weeks at 0-4°C ideally. Planted any time from October to February, it’ll be ready to harvest in July. Buy it now while garden centres and mail-order suppliers still have it in stock. While it is possible to grow garlic bought from the supermarket, there’s no guarantee that it will give a good performance in our climate.
Garlic is supplied as whole bulbs that need to be broken up into individual cloves just before you plant them. Plant the cloves pointy end up, flat end down and bury them so that the tip is just covered. To avoid damaging the base plate, it’s best to use a trowel rather than push them in with your finger. Plant the cloves 15cm (6in) apart in rows spaced 30cm (12in) apart.
There are two main types of garlic – hard neck and soft neck. Hard neck varieties are composed of a few large cloves that are easier to peel in the kitchen. But as a rule, they don’t store much beyond Christmas. They often produce a flowering shoot over the summer that must to be nipped out as soon as it appears. Examples include Lautrec Wight and Sultop.
Soft neck varieties, on the other hand, are easier to grow. They tend to keep for longer, often allowing you to be self-sufficient in garlic for almost a year. Their cloves are smaller than those of a hard neck, but they are just as strong tasting. Examples include Cristo, Germidour, Solent Wight and Thermidrome.
Elephant garlic is more closely related to leeks than garlic. The bulbs are enormous and contain between 8 and 10 cloves. They taste great roasted whole and have a much milder flavour than ordinary garlic. Allow 30cm (12in) between cloves in rows spaced 45cm (18in) apart
CAROL’S PLANT FAMILY: ORCHIDACEAE
(Photograph: Many thanks to David Cooper Orton from the Gardeners’ World Flickr group)Find out more about orchids
Orchids have been flowering since dinosaurs walked the Earth and Australia was still attached to Antarctica. Unlike many plants, most orchids don’t produce nectar and so have had to evolve different mechanisms to attract pollinators. It’s this variety of evolutionary techniques which has led to so many amazing flower structures and held so many people’s fascination with these plants. None more so than Charles Darwin who wrote The Fertilisation of Orchids and told Joseph Hooker at Kew that “I was never more interested in any subject in my life, than in this of orchids”.
GARDEN FEATURED – EVERGREEN INSPIRATION AT IFORD MANOR
Iford ManorIford Manor
Bradford on Avon
Tel. 01225 863146
GARDEN FEATURED – KEW ORCHIDS
Royal Botanic Gardens, KewKew Gardens
JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND 1: PLANT OUT VIOLAS
Violas are hardier than pansies and so are more likely to flower during mild spells in winter. Plant them now to give their roots time to establish and you’ll be rewarded with a good display.More seasonal advice from BBC Gardening
JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND 2: POT UP AMARYLLIS
If you want to have amaryllis in flower early in the New Year, pot them up now. Choose a pot that is 5cm wider than the bulb itself and add a layer of crocks to the bottom. Fill with gritty compost making sure that the shoulders of the bulb sit on the surface. Water in well and keep on a warm windowsill.More seasonal advice from BBC Gardening
JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND 3: PROTECT WINTER SALADS
With a bit of protection, it’s possible to keep winter salads going through the winter. Using bamboo canes, build a frame rather like a tent and lash them together at the corners. Drape a layer of fleece over the top and weigh down the edges with bricks.More on winter salads
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