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Wrest Park: Postbag Edition

Peter Gibbs and the team answer horticultural questions sent in by listeners.

Peter Gibbs and the team answer horticultural questions sent in by listeners.

Matthew Wilson, Pippa Greenwood and Christine Walkden advise on reviving an ailing Camellia, what to grow in a difficult patch of a garden, and the best time to replant a Cherry Tree.

Andrew Luke, the Head Gardener at Wrest Park, shows the team around the garden.

Producer: Dan Cocker
Assistant Producer: Rosie Merotra

A Somethin' Else production for BBC Radio 4

Available now

42 minutes

Plant List



Q – I recently removed a 30-year-old shed and the concrete plinth beneath it. What can I do to reinvigorate the biodiversity of the soil? The space is approximately 8mx2m (26.2ftx6.5ft), and I have incorporated 3 tonnes of topsoil onto the site.  (3 minutes 02)



Q - I have planted a considerable number of rather expensive tulip bulbs that are currently sprouting. Is it correct that I should lift them all at the end of flowering and leave to dry before storing? Or, if left in the ground, will they not re-flower next year? They are planted in a south-east facing raised bed. (6 minutes 40)



Q – My mom has grown two Camellias. They stand 15-20 feet (4.5m-6m) high and they have been very healthy and presented lovely blooms over many years.  In the last few years the leaves of one of the Camellias is turning variegated green and yellow with some falling off. Please can you suggest what we can do to bring it back to the same condition as the other one. (10 minutes 25)


Pippa – Camellia yellow mottle virus – Interveinal Chlorosis


Q – I have a high hedge with small trees along the west border of my garden. In front of this is a one-metre-wide border flanked by steps to the house. Any ideas on what to grow? I would prefer low maintenance. (12 minutes 40)


Matthew – Hellebores




Andrew – Epimedium


Christine – Heuchera






Pippa - Pulmonaria


Q – My monkey-puzzle tree (Araucaria Araucana) is growing in a plastic pot. It is just over 2-foot-tall (0.6m) looking healthy considering the pot it is in is about 2 feet (0.6m) in diameter. Is there anywhere we can donate the tree? (18 minutes 40)


Q – When can I replant my Cherry tree?  (21 minutes 20)

Q – We have a well-established Holly tree (Ilex aquifolium) in our garden. Many of the leaves are becoming yellow and the inner part of the tree has many broken branches inside. Do you think it may be dying? (23 minutes 11)


Q – I have purchased a small Mimosa tree and it smelt beautiful in my home. Unfortunately, it seems to be shedding its foliage in front of my eyes, and the flower buds are tinged with brown and not opening. I have kept it in a pot indoors – what can I do to try and save my plant?  (26 minutes 30)


Q – Due to the mild winter my Victoria Plum sits in my front garden has flowered. Do I need to do something to make sure these flowers are pollinated (28 minutes 40)


Q – I have some root-ginger which I keep in a vegetable basket in the kitchen, it has started to sprout. What do I do with them? (31 minutes 35)


Q – Any advice on fungus gnats? (33 minutes)


Q – My Jostaberry has been neglected for several years, we don’t get much fruit from it. Is it too late to rescue it? It is 8 years old and four and a half feet tall.  (34 minutes 30)


Q – My wife and I have moved into our first home. It has a small paved garden area about 20 ft x 16 ft (6mx 4.6m) with some weeds coming through.  (35 minutes 55)


Q – Why do spades have T-handles and forks have D-handles? (39 minutes)


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