GARDENING: Brian Kidd on hydrangea pruning and moving bamboos

Our horticultural expert answers your queries

Saturday, 2nd June 2018, 8:33 pm
Updated Saturday, 2nd June 2018, 8:37 pm
Hydrangea aspera Villosa - prune after flowering.

Q: When should I prune my hydrangea aspera Villosa. It's thin and weak. Also, when can I move a bamboo and when can I prune an erysimum Bowles Mauve? WGP, Fareham.

A: Move the bamboo between now and mid-March. Prune the hydrangea hard when it finishes flowering. The erysimum should be cut down to four inches as soon as blooming ends. Feed with blood fish and bone afterwards. The hydrangea may not bloom well next summer but will be magnificent the following year.

Q: My friend told me to split, divide and replant my snowdrops when they finish flowering. JD, Fareham.

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A: Your friend is  right. Snowdrops are best moved while they've got green leaves. Spring-flowering aconites should be treated the same way.

Q: I bought copper mixture to prevent seedlings damping off but there are no instructions on the drum. NC, North End.

A: Use the same strength as recommended for copper deficiency. Your question will help many gardeners.

Q: There are lots of buttercups on our grass. What can we use to kill them off please and

when is the best time? We have a pump up sprayer which holds seven litres of liquid. VC,


A: Have a look at liquid selective lawn weed killers and you will see the list of the weeds it will control. Choose that one and spray when there is no wind in early April. Place strings three feet apart over the grass so the sprayer will treat the entire lawn.

Q: I want to plant out a group of hardy primulas namely primula denticulata. My ground is still very wet indeed and when digging, the holes start to fill with water. Do you think this type of primula will be OK ? EP, Denvilles.

A: Primula denticulata will grow very well in that area. Ours at home are often under water for

weeks during winter and look wonderful in early spring.