Gardeners’ question time with Brian Kidd

How to confound a clever mouse...
How to confound a clever mouse...
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This week, everything from Charlie Dimmock to clever mice...

Q: I need to make changes in my garden. Any ideas? ND, Horndean.

Carnations.

Carnations.

A: Borrow books on landscape design from the library or use iPlayer and find programmes recorded by Charlie Dimmock and the boys. 

Q: I want to plant two boxes with flowers which follow wallflowers. Our daughter marries in mid-May and we would like pastel shades. MB, Cosham.

A: I can’t guarantee a flowering date but try Brompton Stocks. They’re in garden centres now. Plant in John Innes No2 or 3 compost.

Q: I sowed Feltham First peas last year but only a few came up and the compost in the trays was all over the benches. Mice? PY, Petersfield.

A: Yes, mice. Use two plastic buckets upside down and put a plank across the bases. Put the trays on the plank. 

Q: I have built a large fruit cage to cover my cherries and strawberries. The problem is the grass grows up the netting. What can be done to stop this happening? SL, Emsworth.

A: Use a pump up sprayer with a shield which can be fitted to the nozzle and use a herbicide containing Glyphosate and keep it close to the ground. It will burn off the grass and prevent it growing for about four to six months. I do this at my allotment.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Q: I’ve been given a lovely bouquet which includes an orange carnation with a side shoot about six inches long. I would like to try to get this to root. Will it grow in my greenhouse? MS, Gosport.

A: Yes. Most carnations sold by florists are greenhouse-grown. I have sent you a diagram of how to root it successfully. 

Q: I like to read your articles when you promote ideas for children in the garden. What can I plant or sow now to keep my little ones interested? FL, Southsea.

A: Find a jam jar and roll up a piece of absorbent paper so it sticks to the jar’s side. Pop in five broad bean seeds and add water so the paper is wet. Get the children to look every day and they will see the seeds swell and, after a week or so, roots appear. Or, sow some mustard or cress on wet absorbent paper. A hyacinth bulb in a hyacinth glass is also interesting.

Q: There are brown lines and patches on my usually superb lawn. Any ideas? MT, Horndean.

A: This is probably down to leather jacket grubs. This will be confirmed when you see daddy long legs flying around shortly. I have sent you the address of a specialist who can deal with this. A consultation is free and the treatment is not expensive.

Q: I want to clean my patio paving and don’t wish to buy a jet hose. Is there another way to do it? PN, Old Portsmouth.

A: Yes, see the range of patio cleaners at your garden centre. Read the instructions and you will see the one which works well without a lot of effort. I must do ours!​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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