Wilde side

Kim Wilde answers your gardening questions.

I have a honeysuckle on a pergola. It flowers well enough, but is leggy. What can I do to make it bush out?
Leggy honeysuckle can be cut back to encourage new growth, either in late winter or early spring. Cut out any old or diseased wood, and reduce a third of the oldest stems back to soil level to promote new shoots. Tie in new growth in spring to stop stems from twining together to create an inseparable rope, which prevents it bushing out. Honeysuckle responds well to a good haircut with a pair of shears after flowering, which helps to stop the plant from becoming top heavy.

Please find enclosed the bane of my life. This weed has ruined both front and back lawns. All efforts to remove it fail miserably, and it seems to glue itself to the rockery. I’ve even tried scalding it to death, but it always comes back. Please help.
This brings to mind the saying that ‘one man’s meat is another’s poison’. I have planted this ‘weed’ ( Soleirolia soleirolii ) in a small, shady courtyard in my garden, where it provides lush, evergreen groundcover. The fine, tiny leaves associate beautifully with the bolder foliage of bergenia and arum. Unfortunately, this creeping perennial (the common name is mind-your-own-business, or baby’s tears) can become invasive – the thin, fleshy stems take root as they spread, and regenerate easily from any small sections of stem overlooked when weeding. As you’ve discovered, Soleirolia is resistant to all lawn weedkillers, so weakening the plant by scarifying several times in March/April might be the solution, especially if you feed your lawn to encourage vigour in the turf. Alternatively, you may need to re-turf (October to February), or sow new grass in April or September. Glyphosate weedkiller is available in a gel formulation, as well as a ready-to-use spray, and can be used carefully to spot-treat patches. In the borders, it is probably safer to bury the plant deeply and hoe the area repeatedly in dry weather.