Your gardening questions, answered

How do I keep the slugs away from my vegetable patch?

There’s a few different options here:

  • Beer traps, you can buy them, or make your own.
  • Wool pellets around the base of the plants
  • WD40 around raised beds and on the rims of pots
  • Regular monitoring in the evenings

How do I get rid of unwanted weeds without using weed killer, pesticides or other chemicals?

Lots of patience and perseverence for this one! 

You’ll need to keep on top of removing any new roots and shoots, and make sure you don’t let them flower.

Consider more ground cover plants like creeping thyme or heathers to suppress weeds. These low growing plants will sprout where weeds otherwise would. 

You could also cover for a year using black membrane – you can buy this in garden centres. 

In the case of bindweed, you could also put a stick in the ground where it grows, to encourage it to climb that instead of your plants.

What are the easiest flowers to grow?

Some of our favourites which are very easy to maintain are:

  • Daffodils
  • Nasturtiums
  • Campanula
  • Calendula
  • Snap dragons

These flowers require very little intervention from us and can adapt to most soil types.

Why does my 3 year old peony only have one flower on it?

Peonies can be fussy things! We have one in our garden which also hasn’t flowered this year.

Make sure it’s not planted too deep and not in too much shade. Drought in the spring stops the buds developing – so keep it well watered around this time. 

How do I plant a packet of wildflower seeds and how long will they take to grow?

Wildflowers are a beautiful touch to any green space. They grow better in ‘poor soil’ and can be left on the surface.

Keep them damp during any dry spells and if you can, keep them covered to protect them from birds.

You should see them start to sprout in a few of weeks. Some flowers will start to bloom after a couple of months – but different species may take longer.

What is the best way to get rid of a patch of St John's wort? It seems very difficult to dig up the roots.

Try soaking the soil the night before, then dig. This will help you to dig deeper to remove the roots. 

Why are my blueberry bushes not flowering?

Blueberries are acid loving plants, so your soil will need to have the right pH balance. Have a look around your garden centre for an ericaceous potting compost, with a pH of 4.5–5.5.

Keep the soil damp with regular watering, and you could also try potassium feed.

What's a low maintenance plant for a warm courtyard?

Try some grass species, or Erigeron, which is a type of Mexican daisy.

How best to start and maintain a large compost heap?

You’ll need a good amount of space for a compost heap, but this can be really beneficial for your garden or vegetable patch. 

You could start by tying three pallets together in a corner of your garden. Lay down some manure (you can often get this from a local stables for free, or you can buy from your garden centre).

As you build up a layer of garden waste, water it and then add a bag of manure. 

Keep it moist. Regular rain will do this for you, but you can also pour out grey water (from your washing up tub, or gone off drinks, for example). 

You’ll want to make sure you have a good mix of brown (papers, dead leaves and branches, hay, straw, etc) and green (grass clippings, food, coffee grounds, etc) matter going on it.

How can I get more flowers on my wisteria plant?

Give the plant some potassium feed from your local garden centre so it’s got all the right nutrients. 

Trim the lateral growth (the side shoots) at the end of summer.

It may sounds counter productive, but prune 2–3 buds as this will stimulate growth. 

How do I keep the bugs off my roses, and how can I make sure my rose bushes flower?

Plant some wildlife friendly flowers nearby to divert their attention. You can try nasturtium plants as they attract blackfly and also encourage ladybirds.


You could also mix up 1 parts washing up liquid to 25 parts water and spray this over your roses. 

To get your rose bushes flowering, consider changing their position over the winter. Some roses like the sun, and some not so much. It might be a bit of trial and error. 

Give them a good mulch of well rotted horse manure (you can get this from your local garden centre) in the winter and a feed in early spring. 

Which plants will grow in deep shade?

We love shady plants! They really are beautiful and can add some interesting shapes to a garden. Our suggestions would be:

  • Ferns
  • Grasses
  • Woodland plants
  • Japanese anenome
  • Hellebores

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