Roberto Renzi, Mere’stead, Crossgates, Leeds
What is the first thing you planted in your garden?
We planted a Cedar deodara which is now a very graceful elegant tree. We had it in a pot for a long time before we decided where it should take pride of place. We have since underplanted with some very unusual bulbs and perennials. What is your favourite plant?
How do you choose? With each season you await that special one; Glaucidium palmatum with its beautiful pale lilac poppy-like flower, Podophillum ‘Spotty Dotty’, with those wonderful leaves, and I cannot leave out the majestic wisteria – amazing. What is your pet gardening hate?
The red lily beetle that decimate the leaves and flowers of lily and fritillaria and other members of the liliaceae family. You have to be very vigilant. Thankfully, they are bright red and easy to see and pick off before they have time to lay their eggs in their own excrement. Disgusting. What is your best garden tip?
We like to compost as much as we possibly can from the garden and the kitchen waste; it makes a wonderful mulch for the garden and helps to retain moisture in the soil and suppress the weeds. The secret is to turn it as often as possible to speed up the process and try to compost leaves separately, making leafmould, which is a very good soil conditioner, especially for woodland plants. What or who inspired you to start gardening?
My grandparents had a beautiful large garden, and they were also very knowledgeable. I remember having my little plot to tend. We always liked a tidy garden but it was not until our two daughters married that we decided to revamp our own and it became a great interest for both of us.
Mere’stead, 28 Kelmscott Garth, Manston, Crossgates, Leeds LS15 8LB is open July 21, 12-5pm.
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