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Name: Sarah Griffiths
Question: Hi, can anyone offer advice on growing bamboo in my back garden please? Thanks so much.
Answer: Hi Sarah, many bamboos have spreading rhizomes and are best grown in containers if you don’t want to keep digging bits out. There are some which are naturally clump forming and more suitable for borders, such as Black bamboo (Phyllostachys nigra) or varieties of Fargesia. If you do decide to grow your bamboo in a container, make sure the container is at least 45cm (18") wide and deep to give the roots room to spread, and use loam-based potting compost such as John Innes No.3. Keep containerised bamboo well watered and fed throughout the summer months. Bamboos like a consistently moist soil and a fairly sheltered spot for the best growth, either in sun or dappled shade. I hope this helps Sarah, best of luck.
Name: Debbie Callender
Question: Hi, I have a friend who is getting married in September, and would like to grow her own bouquet. She would like a white and green theme. Which seeds can you recommend, the easier to grow the better?
Answer: Hi Debbie, what a lovely idea! You’ll need varieties which flower late in the season so for green flowers I would try Nicotiana langsdorffii, ‘Envy Double’ or ‘Queen Lime’, Aster ‘Hulk’ and Moluccella laevis (Bells of Ireland) . You could try annual grasses such as ‘Hare’s Tail’ or ‘Greater Quaking Grass’ which are very easy to grow, although by September they will have a soft golden hue to the seed heads rather than green. Herbs such as fennel, dill, sage and rosemary make unusual but textural additions to a bouquet (although only fennel and dill would grow from seed this year). Although only available as plug plants, Dianthus ‘Green Trick’ is a fabulous recent introduction which will start flowering within 8 weeks of planting and keep blooming until the autumn.
For white flowers I would try Cosmos ‘Purity’ or ‘Double Click Snow Puff’, Nicotiana ‘Fragrant Cloud’, Antirrhinum ‘Royal Bride’, Scabious and Orlaya grandiflora. Although there are others which will sometimes flower until September, such as annual poppies, sweet peas, Lavatera and stocks, they produce their best flowers earlier in the summer so there is a risk they would be past their best for the wedding. You could buy plants this spring for flowering later in the year - Dahlia, Aster and Chrysanthemum are classic September-flowering plants. I hope this gives you some ideas and inspiration Debbie, all the best for the wedding.