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



Have a look at Keydell Nurseries and you will see some lovely azalea plants in pots. If you feel you are not green fingered, then think again, these lovely gems will do well in your home. Choose the one you like, it will have just one or two flowers open when you choose it with lots of flower buds at the tips of the stems which will bloom in the coming weeks, that’s the one to buy! They love rainwater, keep the plants in a light place, cold temperature, just a few degrees above freezing in a window but not in direct sun. It’s a pity they don’t have a perfume.


The colder weather is doing a great job in breaking down the clods of soil which were dug over a few weeks ago, keep off newly dug soil otherwise the surface will be sticky and cling to your shoes.

Try to get tulip bulbs in during the next few days, this is an excellent time to plant them because they are far less likely to have slug damage, the cold weather induces slugs to go to sleep for a while. There are beautiful varieties of tulip bulbs at Keydell Nurseries.

Fork around the parsley and thyme plants to ensure you have proper stuffing for the turkey or chicken at Christmas.

The leaves on the Brussels sprouts continue to look brown or yellow at the base of the plants, take off these leaves and put them into the compost heap.

Spring cabbages which should be ready for picking in May need protection form pigeons and slugs, get nets for the pigeons and crushed eggshells for the slugs, Dry the eggshells in a hot oven and crush them with a rolling pin.

Plants of lettuce variety Rosetta sown in the cold greenhouse 8 weeks ago, recommended by me are now ready to be potted into 5 inch diameter pots in John Innes number 2 compost. Add 10% extra sharp sand or sharp grit, mix well together and don’t over water the plants. If the weather remains mild, you will have lettuce for Christmas.

Look at the hyacinth bulbs you put into deep pots last October and left them on the garage floor in the dark. Bring them indoors once the buds are 4 to 5 inches tall, but not before.

Have you taken down the runner bean canes yet? No?, nor have I but mean to do it this week with a bit of luck!