Wilde side

Kim Wilde answers your gardening questions.

How do I create a holly orchard, and are there any in the UK I could visit?
I suggest you take yourself off to the Royal Botanic Gardens, at Kew, where they have a ‘holly walk’. There, you can walk through 130 different hollies, including species and cultivars of Ilex aquifolium and I.altaclerensis. If you can, get your hands on a copy of The Hillier Manual Of Trees And Shrubs, which has a mouth-watering selection, among them the small, weeping holly I. aquifolium ‘Argentea Marginata Pendula’ and the more rare I. cornuta ‘Aurea’, which has creamy coloured berries. The National Holly Collection at the RHS Rosemoor garden (01805 624067) and Windsor Great Park (01753 860222) will both give advice. For a superb holly catalogue, contact Highfield Hollies in Hampshire (01730 892372).

As someone with multiple sclerosis, I get occasional neural pain and have to take horrible drugs to counteract it. I’d like to grow marijuana and discontinue the drugs. When is the best time to plant and harvest?
The reclassification of cannabis (marijuana) from a class B to a class C drug became effective in law just over a week ago. This still makes it illegal, with penalties of two years’ imprisonment and/or fine for personal possession, and five years’ imprisonment and/or fine for possession with intent to supply. Cannabis has been a valued medicine for thousands of years, and there is evidence that the use of cannabis can alleviate some of the worst symptoms of MS, including the relief of painful muscle spasm. But, despite the reclassification, it would be inappropriate for me to answer your question in any more detail. The MS Society has never campaigned for cannabis to be legalised, and I would advise you to discuss this matter with your doctor before making any alteration to your current medication. You could also visit the Therapeutic Help From Cannabis For Multiple Sclerosis website (thc4ms.org).