The Met Office, Exeter
Peter Gibbs presents a special edition of GQT from The Met Office in Exeter, with Pippa Greenwood, Bunny Guinness and Anne Swithinbank.
As well as answering questions from local gardeners, the panel poses its own questions to scientists who provide weather data for gardeners across the country.
Produced by Howard Shannon.
A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4.
Questions this week:
Q. Could the panel suggest a slow growing grass requiring a minimum amount of cutting?
A. You could try a grass free lawn. It can be a mixture of up to thirty varieties of low-growing plants. Combine plants such as Thyme, Sedum, Achilleas and low Mints. To start with you may have to cut it eight times across the year. In the second year, you can trim it as little as three times per year. You will have colour throughout the matrix and it will attract many insects. Alternatively, reduce fertility by adding a sandy top-dressing to a fine grass seed mix.
Q. What sort of low maintenance planting would the panel recommend for a manmade, sloping bank in full sun?
A. Make sure that the site is completely weed free, so perhaps leave it fallow for a while.
You can get a lovely ground cover effect with the golden flowering Hypericums or the Potentillas. You could add some bulbs, such as Daffodils, which won't need separating for a number of years.
If you want more of a challenge, sow a perennial meadow that produces a density of ninety plants per square metre. They are designed so that you get a succession of colour from June right through until December. Alternatively, plant hundreds of Lavender cuttings or simply add sheets of Vinka and Ivy. Try planting Aubretia early in the year, followed by Osteospermum flowering for the rest of the summer.