He's also got some jobs for you to do – Christmas or not!
Q: I'm fond of raspberries and want to grow some on my allotment. Is there a type which will fruit next year? ND, Rowlands Castle.
A: Yes, a variety called Autumn Bliss. Plant it between now and mid-February in soil which has not grown raspberries before. There are other varieties but this is the most reliable and will fruit next autumn.
Q: I have a lot of grape hyacinths in a border. They produce loads of leaves but every year the flowers get smaller and smaller. Do you think a feed would do any good or is there anything else you could recommend please? BC, Southsea.
A: The best idea is to dig them all out and replant only the large bulbs. This can be done now. When replanting, scatter fish blood and bone fertiliser at a rate of four ounces per square yard. Fork this into the soil when you replant the bulbs.
Q: I have five hyacinth bulbs in a pot and they have grown to nearly a foot high and the pot keeps falling over. Gl, Gosport.
A: Water the original pot about four hours before you put the bulbs into a larger pot.
Q: Can you tell me what these seedlings are please? Sample sent in the post. FP, Cosham.
A: These seedlings are either primrose or polyanthus seedlings. You will have either of these in your garden as parent plants. Prick them out in cells into John Innes No1 compost and the seedlings can be planted unto the garden in six weeks. You will see a few flowers in spring.
Q: I have lots of forget-me-nots all over my garden and I used to dig them out and put them into my compost bin. My circumstances have changed and I must think of ways to save money and have decided to dig out these plants and put them all in one border. How far apart should I plant them? FJ, Bosham.
A: Plant them five inches apart. A ground cover of forge- me-nots looks great and pink tulips in between look stunning. I have sent you a packet of pink tulip bulbs so you can see what I mean.
JOBS FOR THE WEEK AHEAD (WEATHER PERMITTING)
– A visit to the garden centre will ensure you see pots of early flowering bulbs such as hyacinths and narcissus. Give yourself a little treat and bring early spring into your home.
– Take a look at camellias in large pots at your garden centre. The buds will open quite quickly and the flowers will be lovely for a long period of time. Camellias are excellent house plants in a light place out of direct sunshine.
– If you have a small garden and would like some instant colour in a border, have a look at the heathers at your garden centre.
– Did you plant the shallot bulbs? Do it as soon as the ground dries out a bit.
– This is the best time of year to transplant trees and shrubs, but make sure you choose a pleasant day and the ground is not too wet or frozen.
– This is a good time to plant or transplant strawberries. It is very important not to bury the crown (centre) of the plant.
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