Tulips - Don't plant in the same spot for 2 consecutive years. However, if you plant African Marigolds where Tulips have flowered, the balance in the soil will be restored and you can plant bulbs in the same spot year after year.
Bluebells - English Bluebells are invasive so for a less rampant variety choose the Spanish type, Hyacinthoides hispanica.
Lilies/Tulips - Never plant these
together as they suffer from the same diseases.
Snowdrops - To give bulbs a boost, apply a light feed of a general fertiliser, eg liquid seaweed once they have flowered and the leaves have started to die down.
Snowdrops - Keep track of rare
varieties by planting in aquatic planters and plunging in the
Tulips - After flowering, pull away leaves as soon as they are yellow and withered. This helps to prevent disease entering the bulbs. Then apply a liquid fertiliser to build the bulbs up ready for next season. Feed once a week for a month or so.
Pellets based on metaldehyde are less effective in damp conditions as Slugs/Snails can recover - they lose the chemical through their slime. Better to use pellets based on methiocarb as it has an anti-sliming agent.
To stop slugs and snails nibbling your container plants, place a layer of vaseline around the edge of the pot. They can't get over it.
Try growing Garlic close to susceptible plants to help deter vine weevil.
Rosemary and Sage deter Carrot Fly.
Spray is great as a general insect repellent and plant food. Fill a
bucket with fresh nettles and water, cover and leave to ferment for a
few weeks. Strain and spray on your plants.
Marigolds, limnanthes, calendula and poppies attract hoverflies whose larvae eat greenfly and other aphids.
with roses to protect them against aphids.
Place mothballs in containers to deter Earwigs and Ants.
Elder and Mint discourage Caterpillars.
To prevent whitefly on tomatoes, underplant with basil and marigolds.
Marjoram and Mint help to repel ants.
you've boiled eggs, use the leftover water to pour between the cracks
in the path to prevent weeds growing.
Rounded pots suit spiky plants such as Yuccas, Agaves and Phormiums.
Tall chimney pots suit busy billowing plants like Bidens, Gypsophila or other cascading plants such as Amaranthus.
Plant succulents such as sedums and sempervirens in shallow pots.
For an attractive wooden trough, build a wooden framework and surround it with log roll. Insert a plastic trough inside the wooden frame and plant away !!
you are using whicker baskets outside, give them 3 coats of yacht
varnish to protect them.
To make brand new containers look immediately old, coat them in natural yoghurt and leave in the sun.
If soil in hanging
baskets becomes too dry, add a squirt of washing up liquid to the
water. This helps the water to enter
the compost instead of just running off.
Aquilegias - Don't feed too much as it can make plants flop over after heavy rain.
Delphiniums - To produce outstanding blooms, plants need a steady supply of moisture at the roots during the growing season. Mulch to keep in moisture.
- If plants have pale tips they may be suffering from a shortage of
magnesium. Mix 1 oz of Epsom Salts to 1 gallon of water and water each
Hostas - Plant variegated forms next to terracotta water features for a fresh look.
planiscapus 'Nigrescens' - Plants can disappear into surrounding soil
as it is dark. Plant next to pale stone or grow amongst silver-leaved
Acid Lovers - Feed with Sequestrene in June. Water around Rhododendrons, Camellias, Azaleas, Pieris and all other acid loving plants to prevent yellow leaves and encourage strong growth.
Camellias - Flowerbuds are formed in the Summer, so ensure plants are kept moist during July and August. Drought will cause flower buds to drop off in Spring.
Garrya - A handful of pelleted chicken manure in April and a monthly feed of tomato fertiliser between June and September will help promote growth and catkins.
Hedges - Use Thuja plicata instead of Leylandii as it has the ability to throw new shoots out of old wood, unlike Leylandii.
Hedges - When trimming a hedge, the base should be wider than the top.
- The secret of getting a new ivy to cling to your walls is to cut it
hard back after planting. New shoots get a grip straight away - old
ones never do.
Houseplants - If you have an aquarium, save the water each time you change it to water your house plants with. You'll be amazed at the results.
Ponds - When building a new pond, remember that siting it in full sun will encourage the growth of algae, so position it in the shade.
Begonias - If you have difficulty in telling which way up a tuber should be planted, place in a plastic bag with enough moist, peat based compost to cover it, seal top, put in a warm place such as the airing cupboard and gently shake bag every day to disturb it. Once you see signs of growth, take it out and pot up with shoots uppermost.
Cucumbers - Avoid watering with cold or chlorinated water, leave to stand for a few hours before use.
- Place a few dustbins filled with water under greenhouse staging. The
water heats up during the day, releasing its warmth slowly at
night. Concrete floors also provide the same benefit.
Tomatoes - Try Epson Salt (1tsp) around tomato plants to green up the foliage.
- Use a cork on a cane to see if a plant is in need of watering. If the
plant is thirsty, the pot will ring like a bell when tapped otherwise
it will sound like a dull thud.
Watering - Never use water collected from water butts to water seedlings. Use tap water, but allow it to stand for a couple of hours before use to ensure the chlorine disappears.