GARDENING: Brian Kidd answers readers' questions
Our horticultural expert solves your problems.
Q: We were given a lovely azalea,Â it has finished flowering andÂ new shoots are growing. Previously we have not been able to keep them alive as we forget to water the pot. Can this type of azalea be planted inÂ the garden?Â We do have acid soil. L and PB, Waterlooville.
A: Azalea indica is grown outdoors at Wisley and looks wonderful. When you plant it digÂ a bowl-shaped hole much wider than the root ball. Give the plant a good soak,Â fold in the soil and water afterwards. Azaleas love moist soil and semi shade.
Q: How can I prune my hebe pagei ?
A: Prune whenÂ flowering's finished. This hebe rarely getsÂ too tall but grows too wide. Here'sÂ a trick. Pick up a handfulÂ of outer branches and cut off about fiveÂ inches ensuring itÂ still has nice green leaves. Go round the shrub repeating and water well afterwards. YouÂ will have a neater plant ifÂ done carefully.
Q: Can you tell me the name of this lawn weed please? [This sample was in dry newspaperÂ and arrived in perfect condition] BD, Southsea.
A: It is called pearlwort and indicatesÂ the lawn needs a summer fertiliser. If you look at selective lawn weedkillers at your garden centre you will be able to find one which will kill pearlwort.
Q: I grew twoÂ rows of shallots as you recommended last autumn and they look wonderful. When should I dig them up? GC, Eastney.
A: If you need some straight away just pull out one or two but they will be ready to take out once the foliage turns brown, usually in early August. Much depends on the weather.
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