IT’S only a question of time – before the grass starts to grow again and we have to drag out the mower from the back of the shed or garage and start that mindless cycle of cutting again.
Well, Mr and Mrs Kingsley from Dalton have decided that enough is enough. They have responded to my comments from a few weeks ago about how to deal with a very small garden.
They have given their lawn mower to one of their son’s, who has a larger garden, and have dug up the tiny, moss infested, tired, worn out lawn in the back garden and are going to grow some tasty fruit and vegetables instead.
Congratulations and good luck – the benefits of making this momentous decision include healthier eating, more fresh air and exercise, lower electricity bills, reducing your car journeys to the supermarket and, of course, lowering your carbon foot print.
Have you made the change yet? Let me know if you are going to and we can follow up on your story.
Ms Hartley from Golcar has recently acquired an old ‘Belfast Sink’ from a relative and would like to plant it up with some truly dwarf alpine plants but is not sure about how to go about it. There are a number of different sources of information to look at to help you get this right.
Visit your local garden centre and discuss plant choice with them. Visit the new Alpine Zone at RHS Gardens Harlow Carr and discuss it with staff there – the retail nursery has a good selection of plants and, if you pop into the book shop while you are there, you might find a good book on the subject.
Look out for an old favourite Rock Gardens by A Edwards and The Rock Garden and its Plants by Graham Stuart Thomas among others.
Visit the Alpine Garden Society website at www.alpinegardensociety.net. You can also call in at our local alpine specialists at Slack Top Nurseries at Hebden Bridge – visit www.slacktopnurseries.co.uk for more details.
That complex pruning story never quite seems to go away does it?
I have had a letter from Mr and Mrs Jackson from Mirfield about the pruning of two typical garden shrubs.
They have a number of Hydrangea hortensia varieties in their garden that seem to have suffered badly from the early winter weather and want to know what to do now.
Normally, they should not have the old flowers removed until early May and, at the same time you can completely remove up to one third of the older stems to help rejuvenate the plants.
If the top growth seems to have been killed off by the frost and snow, I would suggest that you cut the plants back over the next month or so to about 30cm (1’) and let them start afresh – you will lose the flowers for one year by using this technique.
The other shrub is a large Weigela that is very congested with thin, wispy stems and a lot of dead wood.
It has not flowered very well in recent years and is also taking up a lot of valuable growing space in the border.
It sounds as if it could do to be cut back in the same way as I have suggested with the Hydrangea but, for this year, I would try to remove one or two pieces of older growth completely and see if it makes an attempt to produce some new vigorous stems from the base – if this happens you can then remove some more old growth next winter.
If you have any questions or queries that you want help with or gardening related subjects that you would like to discuss, why not write to me at Graham’s Gardening Questions, Features Office, Huddersfield Daily Examiner, Queen Street South, Huddersfield, HD1 3DU.