Charlie Wilkins answers your gardening questions — Bougainvillea, Skimmia and transplanting shrubs
Life & Style

Charlie Wilkins answers your gardening questions — Bougainvillea, Skimmia and transplanting shrubs

Can bougainvillea be grown in this country and is a greenhouse necessary? I saw these last year on holidays in France and ever since I have wished for one.

The answer is ‘yes’ to both queries. Bougainvillea is an excellent and very choice climber for conservatories and cool greenhouses, in fact anywhere it can escape the ravages of frost.

Be warned that it is very vigorous and needs restraining during the season.

 

Recently you answered a query for a reader on what to plant in pots on a patio that faces north and gets no sun. My problem is one of shade but also of space on a very small patio. It gets a fair share of wind and precious little sun. What would you suggest?

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How about a compact, evergreen shrub sold as Skimmia reevesiana?

This self-fertile slow-growing evergreen can be relied upon to produce a regular winter crop of red berries amid short-jointed shoots of glossy foliage.

With Skimmias one would normally want a male and female plant in order to have a plentiful supply of berries but not everyone would have the space for one of each.

 

Two short questions please if I may. Firstly, when can one transplant evergreen shrubs and do I have to improve my sandy soil for the move?

The best time to shift evergreens is between mid-March and mid-April.

Lift with as large a root-ball as possible and plant at the same level as before.

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Try not to break the ball of root whatever happens.

Dig in as much organic material as you can get (straw, compost, peat, leaf-mould etc.) so that the ground can hold more moisture during summer.