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Kings Heath, Birmingham

Peter Gibbs and the panel are in Kings Heath, Birmingham. Bunny Guinness, Bob Flowerdew and Matthew Pottage answer this week's horticultural queries from enthusiastic gardeners.

Producer: Darby Dorras
Assistant Producer: Rosie Merotra

A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4

Available now

42 minutes


Questions and time codes are below.

Where applicable, plant names are listed.


Q1 – I used to have a small Cordyline in a pot, which it outgrew so I planted it in my South-facing garden. For the first time in 15 years it’s developed a huge flower stalk – how do I manage this? (1 minute 35 seconds)


Q2 – After the first year of good tulips, they never seem to flower as successfully the second year. What is the best way to look after tulips to ensure a perennial display the year after? (4 minutes 15 seconds)


Q3 – Recommendations for plants that would thrive under a copper beech tree. (6 minutes 14 seconds)


Bob – Vases with colourful bedding (Pelargonium and Lobelia) and alternate vases in shade, and sunshine.


Matthew – Cyclamen hederifolium,

Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis),

Creeping hardy maidenhair fern (Adiantum venustrum).


Bunny – Helleborus orientalis.


Q4 – I make my own garden compost and leaf mould in order to make potting compost; I use soil, leaf mould and garden compost in differing ratios – do I need to add anything else for a successful planting and sowing compost? (11 minutes 25 seconds)


Feature (14 minutes 2 seconds)


Q5 –What’s the best way to keep a large willow to a manageable size? Prune it all in one go or little and often? (23 minutes 3 seconds)


Q6 – Mature laurel hedge with steep bank of heavy clay. Could the panel suggest plants for the bank with low maintenance, and so I can still access the hedge. (27 minutes 37 seconds)


Bob – single-stemmed plants, like roses.


Bunny – multi-stemmed trees, like hazel. Then lots of woodland-type bulbs (primroses and daffodils) and woodland-type ground cover (Viola?).


Matthew – Russian sage (Perovskia atriplicifolia).


Q7 – We have a polytunnel in garden with raised beds. What would the panel advise to help maintain the soil quality, and what would you recommend growing? (31 minutes 47 seconds)


Q8 – How do you remove grass growing between rockery plants without damaging the rockery plants? (34 minutes 16 seconds)


Q9 – Which plant, tree or flower would the panel paint if they could? (36 minutes 43 seconds)


Bunny – Globe artichoke.


Matthew – Osmunda regalis (Royal fern).


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