Q&A with Glenys Woollard - Gardening

If you have a gardening question, email Glenys at glenyswoollard@clear.net.nz

How do I care for a Platycodon plant?

Also known as the Balloon flower because of the way unopened buds swell up before flowering, this semi-tuberous perennial is best planted in well-drained soil in full sun. The plant is frost hardy but resents disturbance, so may take a while to settle in. It grows easily from seed sprinkled on damp soil or cuttings taken in spring, and has attractive blue, pink, purple or white bell-shaped flowers in mid-summer. Keep removing old flowers to encourage further blooms.

Is there a way to stop black aphids from attacking my chives?

Keep the chives healthy: Divide large clumps when they become overcrowded, and replant small groups of the best looking specimens in fresh soil - cut leaves back by a third first. Choose a sunny spot, and water until established. An occasional dose of liquid fertiliser is beneficial, and if you do see a few tiny black bugs, immediately squash them, or hose off. Warm soapy water should also work, but if all else fails, try a pyrethrum spray.

- Hamilton News

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