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Fishbourne Roman Palace, Chichester

43 minutes
First broadcast:
Friday 03 August 2012

Eric Robson and the team answer gardening questions in Fishbourne Roman Palace and Gardens. In addition, Bob Flowerdew asks "what did the Romans ever do for British gardeners!"

Questions answered in the programme:

Q. My wife has a chocolate themed border, boasting chocolate-scented Cosmos amongst other plants. Which plants can she add to extend the collection?
Suggestions included:
Dark leaved Heuchera 'Paddy's pride' or 'Plum pudding'; Pelargonium 'Chocolate Peppermint'; Zaluzianskya capensis or Night Phlox

Q. This year, why do my broad beans have very large pods but no beans?
Often bad weather leads to low rates of pollination. Try companion planting 'Forget Me Nots' are good to attract pollinators.

Q. My quince tree usually crops very well. This year I've no fruit and spotty, sparse foliage.
The quince seemed to be suffering from scab.

Q. My Agave is 35 yrs old. Will it bloom in my lifetime? I'm 72.
Some Agaves can live for hundreds of years and take a long time to flower.
The ethylene released by old banana skins may encourage flowering. Similarly, smoke can trigger flowering too.

Q. Can the panel suggest a plant to fill a gap in my small shrub bed. It should grow no taller than 1.5m and, if possible, flower in June or July.
Suggestions include Daphne Burkwoodii 'Somerset Gold edge'; Desfontainia Spinosa variegata; Drimys lanceolata or 'Mountain pepper'

Q. What has happened very beloved, old apple tree?
It is suffering from leaf miner, scab and powdery mildew. Old cooking apple trees, such as these need extra potash to help fight off disease. Try spreading woodash under the canopy.

Q. Will a 'Pride of Madeira' Echium survive outside in this area? (West Sussex)
Yes, it needs hot, dry, well-drained conditions. However, be sure to keep it cold and dry in the winter.

Q. Is it true you should not pull rhubarb sticks from July onwards, due to a toxin rising in the fruit?
This is false.

Q. I planted a Eucalyptus five years ago. It has a kinked trunk. Will it survive coppicing?

Produced by Howard Shannon
A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.

  • Fishbourne Roman Palace Gardens

    Fishbourne Roman Palace Gardens

  • Fishbourne Roman Palace Gardens

    Fishbourne Roman Palace Gardens

  • Cupid on a Dolphin mosaic

    Cupid on a Dolphin mosaic

    Preserved, almost in its entirety, this mosaic can be viewed at Fishbourne Roman Palace.



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