Wilde side

Kim Wilde answers your gardening questions.

Two summers ago, I was given a white flowering jasmine that I tried to train along a shady brick wall. It grew a little but did not flower. This spring, I planted it in the front garden – south-facing, sunny and sheltered – to grow along a wall. It has bushed out a lot, but again did not flower. What can I do to make it happier?
Jasminum officinale flowers best in full sun but will tolerate partial shade. Repositioning it should certainly improve things. These plants, if well fed, make luxuriant foliage growth, especially if you have been mulching with nitrogen-rich manure. To encourage flowering, use a product high in sulphate of potash such as Tomorite early next spring, as new growth begins.

Our garden is sheltered but gets limited sun. What should we plant in our hanging baskets for autumn and winter colour?
Well-planted hanging baskets have a mixture of foliage and flowers, trailing and upright plants. Choose variegated evergreens such as Osmanthus heterophyllus ‘Goshiki’, Euonymus fortunei ‘Emerald ‘n’ Gold’ or Ilex aquifolium ‘Ferox Argentea’. These will provide a cheery visual setting for flowers such as winter pansies and, of course, trailing ivy. Bulbs such as irises, dwarf daffodils, cyclamen and crocuses can be planted now for a late winter splash of colour. For something different, use Ophiopogon planiscapus ‘Nigrescens’ (black lily turf), which also looks interesting pushed through the basket liner. Plant with snowdrops for a dramatic contrast.

My arum lily has become weak, with pale, floppy leaves. It’s in my living room, close to a window. Any ideas?
Arum lilies (Zantedeschia) should be kept moist. I suspect your disenchanted plant has dried out in your living room. If possible, keep it outside during the summer, in partial shade to reduce moisture loss, and move to a frost-free place during winter. Give it a monthly feed with a weak solution of liquid plant feed, then rest it over the winter, and hope that your plant rewards you next year.