For the Best Gardeners in the Cardiff Area

   Jan 22

Your Questions About Gardening

George asks…

How to keep moles out of garden?

Hi everyone,

Last year moles terrorized my garden. I need a quick fix to keep them away this time around, Any ideas? Also how to keep bugs from eating the leaves of my plants would be great as well.

Some extra details, My garden is a U shaped garden box made out of 12 inch wide wood, and it is enclosed using chicken wire to keep my dog from digging it up.
Im not planting edible plants in it this year just flowers and such

GardenersCardiff answers:

Moles are actually good for the garden.They eat grubs that can harm your plants.To keep the moles out you have to get rid of the grubs.It’s not easy without using chemicals you shouldn’t have were food is growing.If you ever build a new bed…put chicken wire on the bottom.

Mark asks…

What time of year is the best to prune roses? (in the UK) also how do I prune a buddleia?

I have inherited rose buses in my new garden but have no idea when to prune them or how low to cut.
There is a big unruly buddleia too – I would like to trim it but don’t want to stop it flowering next year.

GardenersCardiff answers:


Rose pruning is one of those garden tasks where timing is important. It is best to wait until frosts are over, but it is best to start before new growth commences. Pruning tends to stimulate new growth, this is why we need to time things correctly. Prune too early and new growth may be damaged by frosts, prune too late and you will be cutting of the first flush of new growth and also the first flush of flowers. So mid winter (mid February) to late winter (mid March) in the UK depending on the weather, earlier in the south than the north.

Why Prune Roses?
Roses will keep growing (and flowering) if they are not pruned, so why prune roses? Unpruned roses will not flower as mush as pruned roses. Unpruned roses tend to lose shape and become a little untidy.

How do you prune a Rose?
The essential tool is a pair of good quality, clean sharp secateures, a good pruning saw or pair of loppers is also advisable.
Why clean? To prevent disease.
Why sharp? So that cuts are clean
Why good quality? A good quality pair of secateures will be easier to keep sharp and will last a lot longer than a cheap pair.
How much should you cut back a rose.
In general start by cutting back by about 1/3 from the top of the bush.
Remove any suckers from below the graft.
Remove any dead or really old wood.
You should aim to create a frame of 4 – 5
main branches.
Shape the rose by cutting back to 4-5 mm above an outward facing bud, with the cut sloping away from the bud. Prune so that the rose is open in the centre to allow light and air.


How to prune, and when to prune Buddleia davidii Butterfly bush

This group of shrubs flower on new growth made in the current year, so it is to your advantage to prune the shrub well to produce many flowering shoots.

The pruning should take place early in the spring – before growth starts proper. Prune the Buddleia down to around 30cm (12 in) from ground level at this time. There may already be sprouting shoots on the Buddleia in a mild spring. No matter – Prune it back hard. This will make the Butterfly Bush grow many new arching branches, that will have larger flowers than if it had not been pruned.

As well as this hard prune in the spring, it is also beneficial to prune off all the dead and faded flowers once the main flowering season is over. This will be of benefit to the plant – not having to produce seeds on the old flowers – and it will bloom again later on. Take off all of the dead flowers regularly, and your Buddleia will flower until well into the autumn.

Once you have finished pruning your Buddleia, you should end up with a cluster of stems no longer than 30cms.

For Buddleia bushes at the back of a large border, you can perhaps just cut back to around 60cm each year. This will have the advantage of the flowering stems starting higher up and you will be able to plant other shrubs and perennials under or near to the base. The arching stems of the butterfly bush will then be seen higher up at the back of the border.

Donna asks…

What are some suggestions for the perfect garage?

I am considering buying a house with no garage. Instead of being a negative, it will be a chance to build the perfect garage. Suggestions? How about floor drain, wainscotting on wall, well lit, side windows with closable shutters inside, heat, laundry sink with hookup for garden hose (less likely to freeze than exterior faucet), storage space, wide enough garage. How about flooring? I’m interested in the most practical, not the most glamourous. I am also considering two single doors, not one double width garage door.

GardenersCardiff answers:

I think a floor drain would be more problems then you want. Beside possibly plugging up, you could be dumping chemicals down the drain, anti freeze, gasoline, brake fluid, and so on, which will go into the city sewer.
Best to mop these up and get rid of them the right way. You can always just hose down the floor once in a while, after sweeping and mopping up the spills. Hose it right out the door. Soapy water doesn’t hurt anything.
Electrical outlets located above your work bench are nice. I had some put in about 8 inches above the bench, and about every 6 feet or so around the wall. I used separate 20 amp breakers for every 10 or so outlets, which gave me power to use electric tools without tripping the breakers. I also had many flourescent over head lights, and two seperate breakers for them, so that if I lost power on one, the others would still work. My outlets went around the whole perimeter of my garage, and so I had power wherever I was working.
The bottom half of my walls were covered with plastic sheeting, about two feet up, so that I could wash the floor and not damage the sheetrock.
I had a natural gas wall furnace, with exterior venting, so that fumes from my vehicles would not enter the combustion chamber. Combustion air came from outside. The furnance had a thermostat and kept the garage at whatever temp I wanted it, even at below zero temps outside. My furnace was a 65000 btu furnace and was more then enough for my fully insulated garage.
I had the garage built by a contractor, except for the interior, and I did all the electrical work, installed all the lights, and insulation, and sheet rock. So it was pretty much the way I wanted it.

I do not have it any more, this was years ago, and I now live elsewhere. But I do miss my garage.

Double doors are nice. Mine was a single, and sometimes I had to jiggle a bit to get inside, if I wanted to have room to work on a car.

My garage was 26 feet wide (cars facing in) by 32 feet long. So I could almost put in three cars, if I wanted to.But I also had a 20 foot work bench along the 26 foot wall, which then went half way down the 32 foot wall. So I had about 35 feet of work bench, leaving the other side open for more space.

I didn’t have running water, but my garden hose from the house was near by, so that was no problem. And the concrete floor was easy to clean, especially after I sealed it with some concrete sealer. It made it easy to wash, but a bit slippery at times.

One other thing I did was I had the ceiling at ten feet rather then the usual 8 feet, and this gave me room to lift my cars up on jacks , and open the hoods, if I wanted to work under them.

Hope this helps. Enjoy it, I did mine.

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