Amateur Gardening

Quick questions & answers

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Q Could you could identify this plant, please? It is approximat­ely 8ft (2.4m) tall and every year it has these wonderful frothy flowers.

Elizabeth Bickers (via email)

A Your very handsome shrub is Sorbaria arborea, a native of western Hubei and western Sichuan in China. It is very hardy and adds great character to the garden in summer when it flaunts its pendent white flowers.

Q This plant appeared a couple of months ago and I have had absolutely no success in identifyin­g it. Can you help, please?

Sarah Stewart (via email)

A The mystery plant appears to be a stock or gillyflowe­r (Matthiola incana). A woody-based perennial indigenous to western Europe, its sweetly scented mauve, purple, pink or white flowers are freely borne from spring to summer. It has great charm and few foes.

Q There are aphids and ants on my dahlias, though the plants look OK. What should I do?

Stephen Hallett, York

A Either rub away the aphids with your fingers or, if the attack is severe, spray with Bug Clear Ultra Gun, which will protect your dahlias for about three weeks.

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