Wilde side

Published in
The Guardian (UK)
Written by
Kim Wilde

Kim Wilde answers your gardening questions.

For the past two years, something has been making holes in my daffodil buds, so that when they flower they are ragged. The leaves do not appear to have been attacked. Any ideas?
I also have this problem, and think the culprits are slugs. Mulch, decaying wood or garden debris attract them, and slugs migrate from these areas at night to wreak havoc. To wage war, there are a number of routes you could adopt. Nemaslug is the commercial name for nematodes, which are tiny worms with a bacterium that kills slugs. Nematodes can be watered into the soil in April. Traps, barriers and poison abound at garden centres, or you could just go out at night with a torch and catch them red-handed.

I'm thinking about putting grass seed down. How should I prepare the ground? And does it matter what seed I use?
First, the site must be free of weeds. Next, dig over the soil to a depth of about 15cm, removing stones. Roughly level out the soil with a rake and allow to settle for a few weeks, killing any weeds that appear, before raking again to create soil particles the size of breadcrumbs. 'Heel down' the soil by treading over the area, and then rake again until level. A few days before seeding, apply a lawn dressing of fertiliser. Sow the seed in spring, scattering it evenly left to right and top to bottom, then lightly rake over to cover the seed, and water. Grass should appear over the next seven to 21 days and will need protecting from birds, so stretch string over the seed with lengths of silver foil attached. Keep it watered if it is dry and don't mow until it has reached about 8cm. Seed varieties are many and varied, from meadow mixes to luxury lawn, high maintenance or low, so choose one to suit.

I have a problem with mind-your-own-business ( Soleirolia soleirolii ), which I have just about controlled in the borders with glyphosate weedkiller, but it has spread into the lawn where glyphosate kills the grass as well. What can I do?
Soleirolia soleirolii is a creeping evergreen with tiny leaves that thrives in moist, shady conditions. The plant is resistant to lawn weedkillers, but can be spot treated with the gel formulation of glyphosate, which limits turf damage. Alternatively, re-turfing or re-seeding (see above) early this spring is a good option, making sure you weed-kill the area thoroughly beforehand.