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Name: Daniel Stewart Marshall
Question: Hi Sue, I have a damp shady lawn with blue bells and snowdrops. I left leaves on it and after the snow it is all muddy. Can you suggest any plants/ flowers I could put in there that can compete with the grass when it grows back in spring? Thanks.
Answer: Hi Daniel, there aren’t many plants that can compete with a lawn so I think bulbs are the best thing to grow. You could try Winter Aconite (Eranthis hyemalis), Crocus, Scilla bifolia (Alpine Squill), Erythronium dens-canis (Dog’s-tooth Violet) and Camassia. If your lawn receives sunlight for part of the day you could also try Narcissus bulbocodium, or Miniature Narcissus. The easiest method for planting small bulbs is to peel back sections of turf and fork over the soil underneath to loosen it. Plant the bulbs and gently firm the turf back into place with your hand. If a period of dry weather follows then water your lawn to help the lifted grass root back in. It’s also best to try and keep leaves off the lawn throughout autumn and winter as they block out light and air, weakening the grass. This can in turn allow moss to grow prolifically. I hope this helps Daniel, good luck.
Name: Paul Britton
Question: Hiya, I was thinking of screening my lawn from my pool using Delphiniums, will this by OK? I am concerned that when they shed their flowers any that collect in the pool may affect my fish, any help please?
Answer: Hi Paul, the toxin in Delphiniums is present throughout the whole plant so I would be concerned about the fish eating any fallen blooms by mistake. Some alternative tall perennial plants which would be safe to use include Verbascum , Perovskia ‘Blue Spire’, Monarda (bergamot or bee balm), Hollyhocks (Alcea rosea), Cichorium intybus, Campanula pyramidalis, Agastache foeniculum, Nepeta transcaucasica, Sweet Cicely (Myrrhis odorata), Rudbeckia laciniata ‘Herbstsonne’, Liatris, Knautia and Verbena bonariensis. Ornamental grasses such as Pennisetum macrourum would also be a good option for screening. I hope this gives you some ideas Paul.