Practical gardening

We started our April meeting discussing offers to the group from Hartleys Garden Centre where the owner has agreed to take us on a guided tour. In addition our group are to have an exclusive guided visit to a beautiful garden in Birkdale which opens in Summer under the National Garden Scheme. This garden is described as ‘a walled garden surrounding a Victorian house with formal and informal planting mainly cottage garden style, accessed by bark and gravel paths.’  It is gorgeous.

Whilst it was agreed that spraying roses early with Rose Clear works well in getting rid of bugs, one member swore by using a Bicarbonate of Soda solution. Bill (Ashton) demonstrated how to prune a pot grown rose – with one aim being to create an open structure to allow air to circulate.  RHS Shrub rose pruning guidance is at  RHS Climbing rose pruning guidance is at . To make cuttings the pruned stems were cut back to about 8 inches long , the bottom two buds smoothed off  and the rose cuttings were sunk around the outside of a pot of compost and pushed down so the places where the buds had been were well down in the compost. These will be left in the pot until (hopefully) the roots come through the bottom of the pot when the cuttings  will be separated and transplanted.

Bill brought back the pot of fuchsia cuttings he had demonstrated being taken in the Autumn. They will be left in the pot until clearly well rooted. We discussed why some had rooted and some not with no apparent reason for this difference – we found  this was a common

Viburnum beetle, which lays eggs on the viburnum leaves or on the ground in Winter was discussed. The beetles hatch and then feed  on the leaves. Some  viburnum varieties are apparently more susceptible than others to this beetle. Treating the viburnum with nematodes is apparently often successful.

We talked about peach leaf curl which distorts the peaches- one member advised that pouring diluted Jeyes fluid around the base of the plant, will  successfully treat this problem.

Maureen (Ward) demonstrated how to take aerial cuttings  from plants such as Ivy: Scrape a stem back to the green with a sharp knife. Wrap damp sphagnum moss around the scraped stem. Wrap polythene tightly around the moss to help retain moisture. and then bind with tape or wire to secure. Leave the cutting for about a year by which time it should have rooted.

Taking cuttings from Clematis; rub a bud off, pin that stem and ‘scraped bud point’ down into the soil/compost and it should root from the bud

Camellias were discussed with one members’  favourites being WilliamsiiStEwe (‘flowers from December to May)



 ‘unknown variety’, years old from Woolworths.’

We talked about the problem of slugs with beer traps found successful by one member. Another member who  had problems with wasps bought a ‘waspinator.’ This resembles a hive and apparently tricks wasps into thinking there is already a hive in the garden and so they speedily move on.

In finishing we agreed to continue sharing surplus plants and seeds at the meeting

RHS What to do in May advice is at: :




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