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



Don't miss out, 20% off everything in stock at Keydell Nurseries. Do you need something expensive? Now is the time to take advantage on this special occasion. Have a look at the lovely range of plants in pots and 20% off all seeds is a great saving. If the weather is getting you down, cheer yourself up and make a visit to Keydell Nurseries - Pam and I do this very often.


If all the leaves on the pot of poinsettia have fallen off, it may not be your fault, it was over watered before you bought it or it was too cold where it was on sale. Make the best of the red bracts on top of the plant. Pick some sprays of evergreens or some pieces of conifer and stick these into the compost in the pot. This will make the bracts look less naked and no one will notice what you have done!

Did you install a soil warming cable in the greenhouse? A lot of you did because there are only a few lest at local garden centres. Have a look at the range at Keydell.

Germinating seedlings must have good light, if there is insufficient light, the stems become long, thin and weak. Wash the glass of the greenhouse, Flash the bath cleaner makes this job easier. When rinsing, add two table spoons of vinegar in a gallon of water to the rinsing water, this gets rid of lime scale in our local water.

Check all indoor plants to ensure there are no whitefly around. If you see any, squash them and rub off any eggs which you will see on the backs of the leaves, this simple advice prevents a build up of thousands of the little blighters.

In the greenhouse, hang yellow traps up just above the plants. Give the plants a gentle shake occasionally and the whitefly will fly onto the sticky traps. You will find 3 different types at Keydell.

If you have frogs or toads in the greenhouse, they will need water in order that they may spawn. A sunken dust bin lid filled with water fits the bill. The rim must be at the same level as the soil level otherwise they won’t be able to get in and out.

Don’t leave it too late, only 7 weeks left to move trees and shrubs.

Prune black currant bushes, remove the wood which fruited. You will see where the fruit was because there will be fine stems left behind where the fruit was last summer.

Remove the lowest side shoots on gooseberries so that the bushes will be growing on clear stems, this helps enormously when you are bending down picking the berries.

Prune HT and floribunda roses in the next fortnight, cut stems back hard down to outward pointing buds, give the bushes a feed using Vitax Q4 fertiliser forked in and a teaspoon full of Epsom salts and hoe this in. Epsom salts encourages excellent leaves and reduces black spot disease.

Now is the best time to plant containerised trees, shrubs and roses, you will find just what you need at Keydell and have a look at the lovely range of Camellias, choose one with just a few flowers and loads of flower buds. Wonderful in tubs.