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Gardening Q&A.

Byline: Carolyn Spray

Q I have a pulmonaria and would like to split it. When is the best time?

A Spring flowering perennials that form clumps like pulmonaria and doronicum can be cut back and divided in May. Chop back the foliage as it can look pretty shabby and new growth will appear quickly. Feed and water in well after replanting the sections.

Q I love runner beans but I am not sure how to grow them. Can you help? .

A Runner and French beans can be sown outdoors in late May or grown on a pot indoors to plant out. They require warm temperatures so it's pointless doing this any earlier. Plant or sow two beans at the base of a cane and they will romp up to 6ft high.

Q I planted peas but they need support. What do you suggest?

A I like the more natural look of twigs pushed into the soil through the peas for them to grow through. You can also buy pea and bean netting, which can be stretched across the peas fixed on to stakes, for them to grow through.

Q What is the best kind of compost for hanging baskets with bedding plants?

A I use a multi-purpose type but always add slow release fertiliser to keep the plants fed all season. I also add moisture retaining granules to reduce the need for watering.

When you water use a soluble fertiliser to boost flowering.

Q I have grown bedding plants including Busy Lizzie, marigold and petunia in my greenhouse for the first time. How do I harden them off before planting out?

A If you have a cold frame put the plants in there with the lid open during the day, closed at night. If not bring them outside and then put them back in the greenhouse at night. After about seven days they will be ready to plant in beds and containers.

Q My Red Robin plant has lots of damaged foliage. Will it recover?

A Yes. Photinia is quite tough but like many evergreens frost and winds can damage new shoots. Prune the worst bits and new growth will appear..
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 7, 2009
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