Date: 7 September 2002
Originally published in: The Guardian (UK)
Written by: Kim Wilde
Kim Wilde answers your gardening questions.
I want to plant a wisteria to train up a wall, but have been advised that it is too aggressive and can cause structural problems. Is there a less aggressive variety, or should I go for something similar instead?
The best way to appreciate these beautiful climbers is to have their fragrant, pea-like flowers, which are reminiscent of miniature chandeliers, hanging from a pergola or arbour. Here, they are easier to prune in summer and winter. Tall walls are able to withstand their vigorous habit, but I have come to regret the day I planted mine against our house, as it is now moving in with us. W. floribunda (above) is slightly less vigorous than W. sinensis , but I would suggest another fragrant climber, Trachelospermum jasminoides , which has the added bonus of being evergreen. Although frost-hardy, it needs a sheltered, sunny, south- or west-facing wall.
Advise, please, on deterring the suburban fox from our’s and our neighbours’ gardens. Several creatures act as though our Croydon properties are their territory.
Your Croydon properties are their territory; there is no ‘acting’ about it. Foxes are the London borough’s new neighbours, making far less of a mess of things than us lot. The Fox Project runs a problem solving advice line, on 0906 272 4411, which advocates the use of Renardine, which is a strongly scented, oily liquid available in good garden centres or DIY stores. Foxes are highly territorial animals, and should be dissuaded after two or three applications of the liquid, placed at the point they enter or leave the garden. For anyone without a fox problem, but in need of a chuckle, the above telephone number is a must. (Trust me.)
I want to replace a scraggy ceanothus that I have in a large pot on a south-facing patio. Can you recommend a variety that is more bushy?
Ceanothus thyrsiflorus var. repens is mound forming (1m) with tiny blue flowers in late spring and early summer. C. ‘Autumnal Blue’ is more vigorous (3m), flowering from late summer to autumn. Both are evergreen and benefit from a trim after flowering.