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Peter Gibbs hosts the horticultural panel programme from Shropshire. Chris Beardshaw, Bob Flowerdew and Bunny Guinness join him to answer the audience's questions.

Produced by Howard Shannon
Assistant Producer: Darby Dorras
A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4

This week's questions and answers:

Q. How should I prune and train two dwarf Cherry trees (Summer Sun and Sweet Heart varieties) to keep them within the bounds of a fruit cage?

A. Plant the trees at an angle rather than straight up. Instead of pruning, weave the branches downwards. Or try draping the branches by tying a log to weigh them down.

Q. Is it best to leave cut grass to mulch?

A. Grass clippings are high in nitrogen and so it's good to use them around the garden. Leaving the grass will improve the tilth but can encourage weeds and thatch buildup.

Q. Are there any varieties of Raspberries that don't take over?

A. Most varieties that yield a good crop will be invasive so find an area of the garden where you don't have to worry about them taking over, for example, in a thin sliver of soil between paving and a wall where they cannot spread. You could also try planting them in containers. Tulameen is a very tasty variety.

Q. Is there anything I can plant beneath my hundred-year-old Yew Tree?

A. Try putting in a statue - this will attract the Ivy, or plant annual bedding plants in containers and put them beneath the tree. Along the periphery of the canopy you could grow Cyclamen, Iris Foetidissima, Holly, Ruscus (Witches' Broom), Euphorbia Robbiae, Ground Elder or Pachysandra (Japanese Spurge).

Q. What is the best way to move two large Rosa Rugosa shrubs?

A. Take cuttings in the autumn and start again in the new location. The old plants will not like being moved. Or if you really did want to move them, do so in August/ September. Prune them hard and then dig them out, cut around some of the stubborn root and replant them.

Q. Do the panel have any suggestions for encouraging wildlife in the garden?

A. You can make habitats within the garden to encourage all sorts of wildlife: a wet area, a pile of twigs, a hedge, a pond etc. Multi-stem trees are fantastic for encouraging wildlife. Plant wild seed mixes on bare soil.

Q. How can I best disguise a fence? One side faces northeast, the other southwest.

A. For the northeast facing side try a Hedera (Ivy), Hydrangea petiolaris, or a Schizophragma hydrangeoides. You could put in buttresses to change the look of the fence. You could put hanging baskets on the posts of the fence and plant in Petunias or Nasturtiums.

Q. What do the panel have in their gardens that cannot be described as either beautiful or functional?

A. Bob has a defunct lawnmower in his. Chris says that everything in his garden is a work in progress and he sees the beauty of potential and functionality in everything. Bunny has got rid of a Leylandii hedge that was neither beautiful of functional.

Available now

43 minutes

Last on

Sun 3 Aug 2014 14:00

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