GARDENING: Brian Kidd answers your questions

Brian answers questions on pansies, Brussels sprouts and hydrangeas
Brian answers questions on pansies, Brussels sprouts and hydrangeas

Q: My winter flowering pansies look very sad. They were growing well but during the past few weeks they are actually getting smaller. Do you think they will bloom as they always do? J V Bosham.

A: They will be okay but the wet and cold weather combination causes them to keep small but when we enjoy the warmth from the sun they will be beautiful. Lightly fork around the plants to ease the soil compaction.

Q: What is causing the damage on my Brussels sprouts? There are tiny holes on the outer leaves.

B C Warblington.

A: This damage is caused by tiny slugs, the size of a match head. Pour a ring of organic slug gel round each plant during the day. The slugs are attacking at night.

Q: I would like to cover the ground surrounding a hydrangea. Any ideas? 

I E Lee-on-the-Solent.

A: Go for Erica carnea. There are several colours but choose one variety and plant one foot apart. These will cover the ground in two years or less and there will be no weeds. They flower all winter until May. In summer the foliage feels lovely.