Your gardening dilemmas solved | Brian Kidd

Aucuba japonica, gold dust plant or spotted laurel. Picture: Shutterstock
Aucuba japonica, gold dust plant or spotted laurel. Picture: Shutterstock
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This week Brian suggests shrubs to contrast with a door and tackles the thorny question of artificial grass.

Q: We have a tiny front garden and have decided to lay artificial grass because it is in the shade and whatever we plant becomes too tall. Don’t panic, we have put baskets on the walls. Is it necessary to put down some form of weed stopper before laying the turf? DL, Copnor.

A: Yes, you will be able to buy weed suppressing material from the supplier of the artificial turf. It is not expensive. Good to hear about the wall baskets.

Q: We need a large-leafed evergreen shrub with light green leaves and yellow patches which will go in a large container. We want the yellow to contrast with the black door. SL, Emsworth.

A: Take a look at the range of aucuba shrubs at your garden centre. They are beautiful. If you can’t find one with super yellow patches have a look at another garden centre and I assure you the one you want will be there. Plant in John Innes No3 compost. This will ensure the plant retains the correct leaf colours.

Q: I saw shallots on sale. When can they be planted? AU, Baffins.

A: Not yet! Wait until the shortest day and plant on any day in that month. They will be mature next August.​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​

Got a question for Brian? Click here and fire away.