Our gardening guru answers your questions
Q: I bought a lobelia cardinalis Victoria last year and planted it alongside our pond and it was fantastic, thanks for that advice. There are lots of huge shoots at the moment, but there are about seven tiny plants alongside the parent. Can I ease them out and put them in pots to increase the number of plants and will theses be the same as the parent? GP, Denvilles.
A: Yes, ease them out and pot them singly in three-inch diameter pots. Use a loamless compost not garden soil and keep them in the shade and protect them from slugs and snails.
Q: I keep buying gypsophylla but they soon deteriorate. My son tells me the soil is acid here and that’s the reason they won’t grow. What can I do? BD, Denmead.
A: Get hold of a big lump of chalk. Use a hammer to break it up making sure you produce a good amount of powder as well as little lumps. Put this in the ground when you plant a new one and it will flourish.
Q: Can we get our delphiniums to bloom again? FC, Copnor.
A: Yes, cut off the dead flower stems leaving just 12 inches of stem. Fork over the ground and drench each plant with a gallon of Maxicrop Complete liquid plant food. Repeat the feed a fortnight later and you will have several new shoots which will flower in the autumn.
Q: We bought three packets of gladioli because they were so cheap, only 50p a pack. Will they flower? HC, Eastney.
A: Yes, in October. Plant them in groups of five not in a line. Q: I took your advice and bought some spray chrysanthemum plants and again as you wrote, took out the tips on May 9. There are 18 to 20 strong branches on each and I can’t believe it! Shall I remove some of the branches? FL, Waterlooville.
A: Wow! Glad you took my advice. Don’t remove any branches but tie each one on to a strong cane to prevent them being broken. They will bloom really well in autumn. Once you see the colour of the first flower bud on each shoot, nip each one off. This will induce long stems on all the flowers.
JOBS FOR THE WEEKEND
Ensure all types of cabbages and wallflower seedlings are dusted with ant killer dust to prevent flea beetle damage. This pest goes unnoticed until the seedlings look as if they have been scorched.Buy a pack of yellow sticky traps and put a couple in the rows of the plants on a little stick. Peel off one side of the trap and look the next day to see how many flea beetles are stuck on them.
Ensure Brussels sprouts are kept moist. Water each plant. Try not to water the soil between the plants. This will reduces weeds.
Sow seeds of parsley and you will have fresh parsley all winter.
On the allotment sow seeds of Ambassador peas. They are mildew-resistant and will be ready to eat in 12 weeks.
Thin out carrots and remove the weeds. Draw up soil around the carrot tops, water afterwards and cover the crop with insect barrier netting to prevent carrot root fly damage. There is a natural predator which kills carrot root fly. Have a look at Nemasys on your computer.
Think about a special area for composting leaves. Leaf mould is the best alternative for peat. Lots of gardeners prefer it to peat. Leaves turn into leaf mould in a year if they are stored in large plastic former compost bags because of their moisture retention.
Mow the grass in a different direction each time it has to be mown. This reduces weed growth and stops grass seed stalks bending over.
Don’t forget to put water out for the birds.
Got a question for Brian? E-mail him here.