The Gardening Guru with Rob WIlliams
12:02pm Saturday 19th October 2013 in News
Q: What preparation do you need to carry out to plant an autumn lawn?
A:Autumn is a good time to lay a new lawn as the soil is still warm and it there is plenty of rain to water it in.
Remove the old lawn and fill in any dips. Fork over and apply a granular fertiliser. Rake it again and walk over with your heels down and give a final light rake.
Q:I have a relative who is losing her sight. Could you recommend some scented winter plants which I could give her as a present?
A:There is an interesting rosemary that smells of ginger or daphnes which flower from late winter to early spring have scented flowers.
The Christmas Box is an easy to grow low evergreen with sweet scented flowers in mid winter. Many plants which flower during the winter have a scent in order to attract insects.
Q:I love butternut squash – but how do you grow it?
A:To grow butternut squash from seed you need to plant indoors in the spring about three weeks before the last frost is due.
Plant in 3" pots with the two or three seeds in each pot about 1" under the soil. Keep in a warm and sunny place.
Transplant outside two weeks after the last frost. Prepare the soil, add a fertiliser and plant in a sunny position with about 3ft of room around to allow the vines to grow out.
The first flowers may not produce fruit so do not worry about this but as the season nears its end, remove any new flowers to allow the existing fruits to flourish.
Q:I’m thinking of which plants I can buy to give my garden a good display of colour at Christmas – what do you recommend?
A:Skimmia have lovely red buds or berries with dark green foliage. Erica species of winter flowering heather are very tolerant of any soil conditions and flower throughout the winter giving lots of colour which is very cheerful.
The evergreen small leaved Euomymus are good for all round bright foliage and are a good contrast to the other plants mentioned.
Tip of the week: Lift your tender perennials such as cannas and dahlias and put them in a frost free place. Empty out your summer containers and replant with winter pansies, voilas and spring bulbs.
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