Your gardening dilemmas solved

Your gardening dilemmas solved

How can I get rid of slugs and snails?

It's best to use environmentally friendly slug pellets, or encourage natural predators that will see them off, such as thrushes, ground beetles, toads and hedgehogs. You can also use traps like a hollowed-out upturned grapefruit or, if you're feeling brave, hand pick them off on damp summer evenings.

Why doesn't my wisteria flower?

Make sure, first of all, that it's pruned properly. Cut the side shoots back to six buds in August, then cut the same shoots further back to two buds in February.

Feed it with sulphate of potash in March and don’t use high nitrogen fertiliser. Wisteria also needs a warm and sunny, south or south west facing wall to flourish. They will grow on north facing walls, but you'll generally find that they'll produce fewer flowers.

What can I plant against a north-facing wall?

Try a Climbing Hydrangea anomala as it's one of the best all rounders. It clings by itself, it has bronze peeling bark when mature, gives you fresh green leaves in spring and a yellow autumn colour and beautiful lacy flower-heads in late spring and early summer. Remember that it needs moist soil though so keep it well watered.

Which herbs and vegetables grow well in shade?

Not much will grow in very heavy shade but plenty thrive in part shade. Try tasty herbs like Chervil, rocket, sorrel, parsley and mustard. Vegetables such as salad leaves, spinach, lettuce (particularly in summer), chard, beetroot and peas also work well.

How do I get rid of moss from the lawn?

You want to try and improve the drainage and aeration in your lawn by spiking it with a border fork in autumn when the soil is moist. Cut back overhanging branches to increase the light levels that the lawn gets and don’t cut the lawn too short.

Apply lawn feed and moss killer in spring, lightly rake out the moss, and then over-seed to replace the mossy patches with grass, using a grass seed mix for shade, if you need to.

  • Matt will be hosting the Have A Go container planting workshops and drop-in Container Clinics at BBC Gardeners’ World Live (11-14 June, NEC Birmingham). Visit for more information.
  • There's more gardening advice in every issue of Yours magazine, out every fortnight on a Tuesday.