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Gardening Questions; The Beechgrove Garden's Carolyn Spray answers your questions.

Byline: Carolyn Spray

Q EVERY year I admire the pots and containers full of flowers in my neighbour's garden. I would like to try them but don't know where to start. Can you help?

A ANY container will do so long as it has a drainage hole. You will need to fill this with a tub compost containing extra long-lasting fertiliser and you are ready for planting. Choose a geranium or fuchsia for the centre as they add a bit of height, then put in impatiens - busy lizzie - and petunias round the centre plant. Add some trailing plants round the edge to cover the sides. Choose colours which please you and complement each other. Water every day and add a liquid fertiliser twice a week.

Q MY tomato plants in a growbag are good, but the fruits have a big, brown mark at the bottom of each which rots. What is this?

A YOU have blossom end rot caused by insufficient calcium. The plants are not getting enough water each day to carry the calcium to the fruit. This is a particular problem with grow bags as on hot days their limited supply of water can run out. You could try an automatic system which tops up the water at regular intervals.

Q I SOWED Sweet William seeds last summer but have only got a tuft of green foliage. Have I got weeds?

A BIENNIALS are sown one year to flower the next and Sweet William is one along with wallflower, bellis and forget-me-not. What you did is correct and you could be a little impatient as these don't flower until July and the tufts of green are in fact the beginning of the flower stems. Have a look in the tip of the shoots and I expect you will find the tiny flower buds.

Q I LOVE bluebells, but can't find them to buy.

A IT depends on which bluebell you are referring to. The English variety is endymion nonscriptus which looks like a thin hyacinth and flowers in May and June. It's seen in hedgerows throughout the UK and comes from bulbs which can be bought from garden centres in late summer. Plant them right away four inches apart as the bulbs don't keep well. The Scottish bluebell, also called the harebell, is seen throughout late summer. This variety is propagated from seeds sown in late summer.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Jun 10, 2001
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