Gardening: Your headaches eased by Brian Kidd

Fancy a strawberry tree?

Sunday, 2nd February 2020, 7:00 am
Strawberry tree (arbutus unedo).

Q: I want to plant a small, potted tree for my patio. Can you suggest an evergreen and which compost should I use? GD, Southsea.

A: As you live near the sea I suggest a strawberry tree. This evergreen doesn’t mind salt. It has white flowers, like lily of the valley, in summer and red strawberry-like fruits in winter. Use a tub with good drainage and John Innes No3 compost.

Q: What’s gone wrong with my smoke bush? The tips have died back. GH, Havant.

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A: Careless pruning and wet weather. When pruning always cut back to a node. The stems will not rot if you do. Prune again now to a healthy node and all will be well.

Q: I’m going to prune my roses now as we’re going to New Zealand. My husband says ‘leave them alone’. DM, Copnor.

A: Prune now. Roses are hardy and it will control them. When you return they won’t have overgrown. Have a great trip.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​