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

Byline: Carolyn Spray

Q I HAVE an established pampas grass which I need to move to build a conservatory. How do I do it?

A IT is best moved after it has stopped growing - any time from October to March is fine. Reduce the leaves to about 12in and remove any flower plumes. It has a very heavy, fleshy root system, but try to dig it up rather than chop off the roots. Replant in good soil with a handful of bonemeal and soak well.

Q CAN you tell me how and when to take cuttings of Buddleia and similar shrubs as I enjoy propagating my own plants.

A THERE are two main methods. One is by softwood cuttings taken in early summer. Take 3in shoots, remove the bottom leaves and insert several into a flower pot of compost. You can use a hormone rooting powder to speed up rooting. Water well in, enclose the pot in a polythene bag and stand on a warm window sill for two to three weeks until rooted. Alternatively, in late autumn once the leaves have dropped, take hardwood cuttings about 9in long and insert two-thirds into sandy compost in a sheltered spot. They should be rooted by late spring and can be moved then.

Q MY hydrangea plant has had green, healthy leaves for two years but never any flowers. What can I do to make it flower?

A HYDRANGEAS prefer a good situation to help ripen the wood. If it is in heavy shade or on a north wall, move to a better place. The flower buds from this year will flower next year, so don't prune each year or you'll be cutting off next year's flowers. Like all flowering plants, they benefit from a high potash fertiliser like rose food which should be applied in April to help ripen the shoots and form good flower buds. The flower colour is also enhanced with this type of fertiliser. If you want to change its colour from pink to blue, get a chemical called hydrangea colourant from garden centres.

Q I HAVE a white peony which hasn't flowered this year and all the leaves have turned red. What is wrong with it?

A IT may be a very old plant which needs dividing anytime from now till March. The red leaves could show it is short of food - particularly nitrogen - so apply fertiliser each April. Peonies like a rich soil so mulching with organic material will help feed it, keep the weeds down and retain moisture in the soil.IF you have a gardening query, write to: Carolyn Spray, Seven Days Magazine, Sunday Mail, One Central Quay, Glasgow G3 8DA.
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Title Annotation:Gardening
Publication:Sunday Mail (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Oct 21, 2001
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