BRIAN KIDD: Gives advice on manure problems and lists some jobs for the weekend

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Our gardening expert answers your e-mails and letters and sets you some tasks for the weekend

Q: You advised me how to prune and feed a very old Bramley apple tree and your advice worked well.

It took me more than three weeks to complete the pruning and there are quite a lot of apples this year. How do I summer prune the long new shoots? G P Horndean

A: Well done! All the new growths are cut back hard right now. Cut every one back leaving just three or four leaves. Do not cut off any of the shoots which have baby apples.

Q: I was given some manure a few months ago and scattered the plops over the ground. The result was a mass of grass and the area looks like a lawn. What have I done wrong at the allotment? HC Waterlooville.

A: Dig the grass into the allotment and put manure into your compost heap so that it rots down. An alternative is to leave the manure in bags for a few months so that the heat in the manure kills the grass seeds.

Q: I have tried to grow lavender in my garden but the ground seems to be wet all the time. I love this shrub, how can I get it to grow? B R Purbrook,

A: Grow it in a container in John Innes number 3 compost but add 20% sharp sand to the compost and mix well. Put the container in full sun. You will find lovely lavender in full bloom at Keydell, I saw them last week right at the entrance.

JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND

n Did you remember to cut back the aubrietia plants? There is still time to do this. Give them a liquid plant food afterwards.

n Spray rows of peas with a fungicide to reduce an outbreak of powdery mildew. Powdery mildew is one of the reasons why people don’t grow their own peas.

n Indoor hibiscus plants are growing rapidly. Keep them short by nipping out the tips of the main stems.

n Remove dead flowers from all annual flowers and if and when the weather is hot, use a high nitrogen fertiliser instead of tomato feed.

n Buy a packet of spring cabbage seeds, try Duncan F1 or Offenheim 2. These don’t bolt if the weather suddenly turns hot in spring. Do not sow until the second week in August.