Brian Kidd, retired Parks Officer for Portsmouth City Council, will be giving weekly gardening advice and answering gardeners emails. Email your gardening questions to



If you are short of space in the greenhouse, have a look at the Keydell Nurseries and you should be able to find shelf brackets which will slot into the upright glazing bars in the greenhouse. You will find it cheaper to buy wood to fit on top of the brackets, metal shelves are expensive.


In the greenhouse or indoors, plant some gloxinia corms, you will see them in packets hanging up with a picture on the front of the pack. Use 5 inch diameter pots and any potting compost is suitable to grow these exotic looking plants which are very easy to grow. You may also see plants at Keydell ready to flower. Be quick, they soon go!

This is a good time to split up clumps of nerine bulbs. Remove groups of 5 and replant these in another part of the garden making sure only half the depth of the bulb is below the surface of the soil. They love a sunny place and the books tell us they prefer well drained soil, but at home they are in soil which remains wet most of the winter, but they are in a sunny place.

Think ahead. Where are cabbages to be planted? All types of cabbage need lime in the soil, apply lime at a rate of 4 to 8 ounces per square yard where cabbages are to be planted. Lime is on sale at Keydell in handy packs.

Scatter over Blood fish and bone meal where seeds are to be sown in 10 days’ time. Rake the fertiliser into the top 3 to 4inches of soil as soon as it is applied You will find this in handy boxes at Keydell, it isn't expensive.

Seeds of brussels sprouts can be planted now, but sow the seeds in insert cells. When they are large enough to plant into rows remember 2 and a half feet is the minimum distance between the plants and the soil must be firm. These sprouts will be ready to pick in early September and will last until November if you buy enough plants.

Isn’t it annoying to see all the weeds appearing on the ground we dug earlier in the season? Don’t walk all over the soil, put down that plank and walk on the plank to prevent over compaction of the soil before hoeing or perhaps you can carefully spray the weeds with Weedol, this saves a lot of work but don’t allow the drift to go onto other folks crops or onto plants you need to grow.

Move snowdrops and winter aconites as soon as the flowers fade. You will also see them advertised “in the green “ in the adverts at the back of the monthly gardening magazines, only £10 per 100 seedlings.

There is still time to prune bush roses, simply prune back the branches down to where you see a strong looking shoot which is pointing away from the stem, not towards the centre of the bush.