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Facebook Q&A with Gareth Richards 18-07-2014

Facebook Q&A image 3

Margaret Deery – Was given some Evening Primrose plants and told the flowers pop open at dusk. Haven’t managed to see this yet but blooms are out in morning. Is this true?

Fragrant Evening Primrose

Evening Primrose


Hi Margaret, it depends on the species of evening primrose. If you want one that definitely opens in the evening, try the ‘common evening primrose’ (Oenothera biennis). This species is also the one that’s used to make the evening primrose oil you see in the shops.




Jayne Elliot-porter – Looking for shrubs that will put a bit of colour in my garden, when there’s nothing much else to look at! Can you give me some ideas please.

Winter Snowball

Winter Snowball

Hiya Jayne. Are we talking gaps in the winter or gaps in the summer? If you’re looking for long-lasting colour in the colder months, try the winter snowball, which starts in October with reddish leaves for autumn colour, then flowers all winter and into early spring. For a plant which flowers all summer, try the potentilla. Give it a sunny spot that’s not too damp, sit back and enjoy.

Sandra Phyllis Smith – I planted my potatoes and they’ve grown well, the problem is, I’ve been told to harvest after they’ve flowered. So far, no flowers, please advise. Many thanks. 

Potato Plants



Hiya Sandra – I’d wait a bit longer – if the plants still look green and healthy, then the potato tubers will still be growing. Wait till they’ve died down a bit – the foliage starts to go yellowy brown. Stop watering them when this happens, and lift them. Bon appetit! 




Sara Louise Hodgson Hi Gareth I have a very small square back garden. It’s south facing so the back fence is a bit shady. I would like a colour scheme of blues, lilacs, pinks, purples, white, yellow, silver, and green. I need to plant up the skeleton/ bones of the garden. I have put fruit trees in the two borders. Can you advise me on herbaceous shrubs to plant with above colour scheme. I want it cosy n packed with a circle of grass, n pea gravel in the middle.

Hiya Sara Louise,

A nice colour scheme there! For herbaceous perennials I’d pick Siberian irises , Mrs Robb’s bonnet (Euphorbia robbiae), hellebores , hardy cranesbills . They’re all lovely tough plants which will take a bit of shade. 
Margaret Stanbridge –  Hallo hoping you can help. I have had a buddleia tree for 6 years its about 5 ft 10 inces high. This year it didnt produce any leaves or dosnt look deceased – I can’t understand the reason why and is there anything I can do to put the problem right please? Thank you



Hi Margaret,

Sorry to hear about your buddleia. Unfortunately without knowing more specific details and seeing a photo it’s very difficult to guess what has caused the problem. Have other plants grown up around the buddleia? They’re really tough but the one thing they can’t cope with is shade. The only thing I can suggest is to buy a new one and make sure to plant it somewhere sunny! The silver lining to this cloud is that there are lots of exciting kinds of buddleia available these days, so it will give you a chance to try something new! There are lots to try, and not just in the same purple colour you see everywhere: . Good luck!


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