GROWING IN POTS
Q I have a pot-bound Clematis montana. When would be the best time to put it in the ground and will it like not having as much sun? Julie King
Now – or at least by mid-February. If that is not practical, move it in June after flowering. Either way, gently disturb the roots by breaking the outside layer to stimulate fresh growth, cut back the top growth if necessary (especially if you move it in summer) and give as much water and goodness as you can. Like most clematis, it will be happy in some shade – I have a Clematis montana thriving on a north-facing wall.
Q I am moving to a new garden with a walnut tree at the end, but I have been told that nothing will grow under it. Jo Butler, Kent
Lucky you, Jo! One of my great regrets is I did not plant a walnut at Longmeadow 25 years ago when I had the space for one.
However, the roots do give off a toxin called juglone that stunts the growth of other nearby trees, with apples particularly susceptible. This evolutionary ploy allows the walnut to grow without competition, so it should either be planted alone or in groups together. Although the juglone is found in the fruit and leaves, it is not harmful to humans or most plants and the leaves can be safely composted or, better still, made into leafmould. However, the nightshade family such as tomatoes and potatoes will not thrive, nor petunias, lilacs, lilies or peonies. But most plants that grow well in fairly dry shade will be fine.
Transplant Clematis montana either by mid-February or after flowering in June
Walnut trees are best grown away from other trees