GARDENING: Brian Kidd solves your problems

Escallonia iveyo makes a great hedge.
Escallonia iveyo makes a great hedge.
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From mystery seeds to an asparagus fern which needs a haircut.

Q: We had a privet hedge which we hated so it was removed. We’d like an evergreen hedge with white flowers which only needs trimming a couple of times a year. My wife told me to write as you have novel ideas! CD, Cosham.

A: There’s a perfect evergreen shrub with white flowers which needs pruning once a year after flowering. It’s escallonia iveyi. Plant two feet apart and fork in blood fish and bone and a large bag of John Innes compost ae the ground where the privet was will lack nutrition. Each shrub needs a gallon measure of the compost.

Q: My cymbidium orchid keeps falling over.  DP, Emsworth.

A: They need repotting every two years. Water, buy a pack of orchid compost and a clay pot two inches wider than the original. The heavy pot will stop the plant falling over. It’ll now produce lovely flowers in autumn.

Q: Can you tell me the name of the seeds enclosed I forgot to label them. AS, Portchester.

A: They are broad beans. I expect they are the hardy type and can be sown outdoors in autumn.

Q: My asparagus fern is more than 20 years old but is getting far too long. Can it be pruned back and when should this be done? GH, Bedhampton.

A: Cut the longest growths right back leaving a sort stem to where there are fern leaves. This can be done right now. It sounds as if the plant has been in the same pot for a long time. Water it and put it into a larger pot using JI No3 compost and it will go on for another 20 years. I had a friend who grew one and it almost covered her ceiling.

Q: I have grown a peach tree from a seed and it is two feet tall. I would like to keep it short. Can you help me and do you think it will produce fruits? BC, North End.

A: Cut off the top by about six inches. I have sent you a diagram of what to do next and yes it will produce fruits in five years. Something to look forward to!​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

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