Wilde side

Kim Wilde answers your gardening questions.

I have a beautiful Cotinus ‘Royal Purple’ and a Photinia x fraseri ‘Red Robin’, which have outgrown their spaces. I want to move them, and have been told that winter is the best time for moving shrubs. How should I go about it?
Ideally, deciduous shrubs (such as cotinus) should be moved in winter, when they’re dormant, though never when the ground is saturated or frozen. Take as much root as you can, preparing the new hole before you dig it up, so you can settle the plant in its new home quickly. But wait until spring to move your photinia, because frozen soil might pose problems for an evergreen that is never entirely dormant. Cut top growth by a third to reduce water loss from leaves.

How will climate change affect the ordinary gardener? Is it all change for the worse? How should I prepare?
A recent report from the RHS, Gardening In The Global Greenhouse, claims there will be a general rise in temperature, with longer springs, warmer summers, drier autumns and wetter winters. There’ll be more pests and weeds, while the much-loved lawn will fall prey to drought in summer and increased moss in winter. Too depressing? The good news is there’ll be more marginally hardy species; abutilon, callistemon and osteospermum will enjoy the higher winter temperatures, while tender plants, such as the fabulous Melianthus major and Salvia uliginosa, will need no protection. For more information, go to rhs.org.uk/research.

I have fond memories of my mum’s rhubarb crumble. With a young family, though, I’ve little time to grow vegetables. I just want to know how easy it is to grow rhubarb. It grew like a weed in my grandparents’ garden.
Once planted, rhubarb can stay in the same spot for years. Crowns can be planted through to the end of winter, in deeply dug soil with plenty of well-rotted organic matter. I was given some ‘Timperley Early’ rhubarb 10 years ago. It looks after itself, and produces some of our garden’s earliest, most delicious produce.