Gardening: Hostas and water features

Phyl Boyce

Reporter:

Phyl Boyce

Gardening: Hostas and water features

A small water features from Phyl's garden

Hostas (Plantain Lily) are plants bursting into growth now. They have fabulous foliage with delicate architectural shapes that blend in very well with so many other plants in garden design. They may be used as ground cover or as an edge to paths and lawns.

If you are a hostaholic there are 2,000 different varieties of hostas to choose from. There are dwarf varieties that only reach a few inches tall to giants that can grow a few feet tall. Hostas are available in a wide variety of colours and textures.

Garden pools

Garden pools have become very popular in recent years. The addition of water brings an ever changing pattern of sound, movement and reflections. A water feature, however big or small, is ideal for creating a cool, relaxing atmosphere in the garden on a warm day. Algae can be a problem in garden pools at this time of the year, turning the water into a pea-soup colour with scum floating on top. The increased sunshine increases the growth of algae. The problem can be reduced by adding a few gallons of water from a clean pond, this water contains a balance of aquatic micro-organisms that reduce the algae. Once you get the balance right do not change the water in the pond. Algae can also be reduced by growing some oxygenating plants in the ponds or putting in a fountain to increase the oxygen levels of the water so that micro-organisms can survive.

Jobs for the week

Feed your spring flowering bulbs, which have completed flowering, with a general purpose fertiliser. Permanent shrubs and hedges will also benefit from a feed. Use a hoe to mix the fertiliser into the soil and water if the weather is dry and cover the soil with a layer of compost. Prune back the flowering stems of hellebores as soon as the flowers are pass their best. Cut them back to their base to make room for new shoots. If seedlings are required, leave a stem with a flower on it to produce seed and collect when ripe.