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“you can manage with one tree, providing you choose a self fertile variety”

Readers Questions

Q.I moved house last year and now with spring coming I am going to completely redesign my garden, is it best to do the patio work before the flower borders or to decide where I want the flowers and work around them for the patio?

The easiest solution would be to sit down with a sheet of paper and draw a rough sketch of the garden, when you are happy with it you can get some canes and mark out the areas to work on. You can then lay the patio, and plant the borders.

Q. I am disabled but like my lawn which needs replacing, is there a slow growing grass that is still nice to look at?

To get a greater choice of lawn you will need to grow from seed. Some of the finest seeds are slow growing but need a lot more attention, I would choose a mixture containing a dwarf rye seed, hard wearing but still nice to look at. The amount of water the lawn receives affects the rate of growth so last year they grew well, and set your mower blades high which helps to retain moisture and keeps the grass green

22 Life Begins

Q. I like to conserve water, is it okay to use soapy washing up water for both my flowers and vegetables, I hear mixed reports on both?

A few years ago washing up water was used as a spray to kill pests on flowers and vegetables, and ordinary soap flakes would still work. Unfortunately there are so many additives to washing up liquid nowadays it is not worth the risk. But used around the roots of shrubs and flowers it will not do any harm.

Q. I wanted to grow an apple tree (small around 3mtrs) in my small garden but my local nursery told me I need to get two, one male one female, is this true or a myth?

First of all the size of an apple tree is determined by the rootstock it is grown on and how you prune it. It is possible to have a patio tree in a container. Insects taking the pollen from one tree to another pollinate apple trees, some trees are self-fertile and others need another variety. If you live in an area with lots of apple trees you have nothing to worry about, if not you can manage with one tree, providing you choose a self fertile variety. Among the popular self-fertile varieties are James Grieve, Egremont Russet and self-fertile Coxes Orange Pippin.

Branch of tree with fresh red apple.

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